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Irvington Fire Department
Proudly Serving the Community for 125 Years

Eight years after the founding of the Village of Irvington, the first order of business was to permanently organize—a hose and engine company. On April 18, 1880, the Irvington Fire Association No. 1 was organized and had a roster of 38 men.  Anton Geiger was elected foreman.

On Aug. 5, 1880, a hand-drawn fire engine was purchased for $372.  A jumper, hose and three trumpets were purchase from E.V. Leverich for $151.  A two-story wood framed building at the North end of North Ferris Street was rented and became the first firehouse.

 

The first fire alarms were sounded by a cry of “FIRE”, usually by the village constable, who was also the town lamplighter.   Shortly after the equipment was housed in quarters, a large iron ring was hung outside the building and pounded to summon firefighters. 

On June 8, 1881, the Irvington Fire Association No.1 was accepted for membership in the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York.  The Irvington Fire Association soon moved to incorporate under the laws of the State of New York.  On November 3, 1881, the last meeting of the Irvington Fire Association was held and the Irvington Fire Association Incorporated was born.  The membership had increased to 59 men.

On Apr. 24, 1894, a resolution was submitted to the village board - requesting a signal that could be heard throughout the village.  After favorable action by the village fathers, a bell was placed in a tower on the firehouse. The bell served as a signal until 1903, at which time a steam whistle was installed in the Lord & Burnham plant on the waterfront.

In 1883 the village started construction of a municipal water system which upon its completion made the work of the men in the department easier and added considerably to their ability to contain fires.  Sometime around the turn of the century the association was modernized by moving from handdrawn to horsedrawn apparatus.

The horses were housed in a nearby livery stable - ready to go when the alarm sounded. A relic of that period, a horse blanket, which had remained, together with other artifacts of by-gone years, finally disintegrated because of age.

In August, 1911, the association bought and put in service a 1911 Locomobile combination hose and chemical truck. This was the first motorized apparatus purchased by a village in the lower Hudson valley between Hastings and Peekskill.

This apparatus was later replaced by a White hose and chemical truck. Following was the acquisition of a White ladder truck. Both of these vehicles were still in service at the time of reorganization.

 

 

 On August 9, 1921, a special meeting was held to reorganize the Irvington Fire Association. Thirty-two men signed affidavits and were sworn in by acting village clerk, F. T. Rabin. F. H. Morrell was elected temporary chairman and R.G. Gilligan temporary secretary. It was the consensus of the men present at that meeting that James Lyden be elected captain and Joseph Dobson elected assistant. On a motion duly made and seconded the secretary cast one ballot and they were declared elected.

Captain Lyden notified the village board that the association had been reorganized as the Irvington Fire Company. They immediately gave their approval of the action taken.

Sometime after the original association had been formed, a system of dues and fines had been instituted to provide money for the benefit of members. At the reorganization this money was divided equally between the association members. The company treasurer’s book dating from August, 1921, lists donations of $50.26 each from J. F. Havemeyer and C. A. Cass, representing their share of this money. Expenses were listed as zero.

The strength of the company remained at 60 men until 1948, when a committee was formed at the direction of Chief Battaly to study increasing the membership. The committee reported at the August meeting that the village board had granted permission to increase the roster to 75 men. At the regular meeting on September 16, fifteen men were voted in as members bringing the strength to the authorized number.

On June 16, 1952, a benevolent association was incorporated to be known as the Irvington Firemen’s Social Service and Protective Fund Incorporated. Listed as trustees on the certificate of incorporation were: Silvester McCarthy, Gustave Friberg, Raymond Beckley, John Fallon, and Raymond Delamater.

 

 In 1966 the company was increased by five men and again in 1979 by ten, bringing to it the present total of ninety men.  In 1977 the company established an inactive list. Any member who had reached the age of sixty with at least twenty five years of service could if he wished join this group. The company has an honorary chief of department, two honorary chiefs, one honorary member and an honorary chaplain.

 

 


 

Irvington Fire Department has had three homes in its first 125 years. On Feb. 11, 1931, at a special meeting, the department voted to request of the village electorate at an annual meeting the following month that the village erect a new, two-story headquarters at an estimated cost of $5,000 and that the village also purchase a new hook and ladder truck at a cost of $18,000. Records of that meeting revealed that the Village Board voted against submitting the proposal.

Several meetings afterward, the Board finally selected a site that was village-owned, at 90 Main Street and work on the new home of the Fire Department started on January 27, 1964.

On the first weekend of October, apparatus and equipment was moved into the new building and on Sept. 4, 1965, the building was formally dedicated, and remains their home today. Today, the fire bell used early in the department’s life has a place of honor in the front of the firehouse among the flowerbeds by the front door.

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