NASSAU HOOK & LADDER COMPANY #1
Written by: Valley Stream Fire Department
Early in the year of 1898 in an area that would become the Village of Valley Stream, residents witnessed the biggest fire they had everseen. The fire originated in a bakery with tons of coal in the basement. It burned for over a month and brought the realization to the residents that a Fire department was badly needed.
A group of men met and organized the Nassau Hook & Ladder Company on June 10, 1898 and filed with the State of New York for incorporation as a non-profit corporation. In August of 1898 they became know as Nassau Hook & Ladder Co. 1 Inc. and held monthly meetings in an old coal yard building on Rockaway Ave.
Money for the first truck was raised by local subscriptions and purchased from the Canarsie Fire Department (Brooklyn) for $150.00. The truck was hand drawn and equipped with ladders and buckets. The vehicle was later converted to horse drawn. After the conversion, at the sound of the fire alarm, the first farmers, businessmen or other individuals with a horse were paid $2.00 to take the truck to and from the fire.
The “bucket brigade” was the first system for putting out fires in the village. The alarm for notifying the firemen was ringing of the school bell on the Brooklyn Avenue School.
In 1899 the men rented an empty store, formerly a feed store, and it became the “truck room.” A large bell was hung near the railroad to sound the alarms.
Early in 1900, a building site was purchased, and a building 28 feet by 50 feet, 2 stories high, was built. This, the present home of Nassau Hook and Ladder Company #1 on South Corona Avenue, was completed in 1901. The first meeting in the new building was held May 11, 1901.
Funds to build the firehouse and maintain the building were raised by the men and their wives by holding fairs, suppers, and cake sales. A mortgage was taken and shares of script were sold to the members at $5.00 per share.
The first officers were called Foreman and Assistant Foreman until 1923, when they were changed to Captain and Lieutenant (as we know them today).
On February 11, 1911, a proposition was voted on and passed by the members to become part of the newly formed Valley Stream Fire Department. On August 12, 1911 the first wardens were elected to the new Fire Council.
September 8, 1917 saw Nassau Hook & Ladder Co. #1 accept their first motorized truck, A Selden. The fire district furnished necessary supplies to run the apparatus for fires only, and Hook & Ladder Co. #1 housed and heated the new rig.
In 1925, a new American LaFrance City Service truck with a 50 foot ladder was accepted by the company. Affectionately named “Old Betsy,” she served until the growth of the Village and the Fire Department necessitated larger and better equipment.
In August of 1927 an inhalator with mask and tank was purchased and carried on the truck. Eight men of the company were appointed and trained as the first Rescue Squad, with one man in charge.
The village continued to grow and the buildings became taller and larger. December 10, 1940 saw the larger 85 foot Seagrave Aerial Truck commissioned to Hook & Ladder Company #1. This tiller type aerial ladder served until 1959.
In 1959 a new 100 foot Seagrave tiller aerial ladder was placed into service. She served faithfully until 1974.
In 1974, after much research, Nassau Hook and Ladder Co. #1 received a Mack 75 foot tower ladder. This apparatus only required a single driver which was much more versatile. The new truck put Valley Stream at the cutting edge in fire protection for its residents.
Today the building houses our latest truck, a 2002 75 foot Spartan/Aerialscope Tower Ladder.
With each new piece of apparatus, the same firehouse has stood and served proudly. With some alterations, the same building on South Corona Avenue has been used as a firehouse since 1901.
Over one hundred years of service has not diminished the human pride at Nassau Hook & Ladder Co. #1. Many Chiefs, Officers, and Firefighters have passed through our hallowed halls. Presently we have 30 active members on our rolls, including four Ex-Chiefs and one current Chief, many father & son teams, numerous third and fourth generation firefighters, and many first time firefighters. The Valley Stream Fire Department has had five of its members make the Supreme Sacrifice, two of whom were
from Nassau Hook & Ladder Co. #1.
We, the members of Nassau Hook & Ladder Co. #1, dedicate ourselves to unselfishly serving the community of Valley Stream for the next
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