The History of Truck Co. No. 1

The area of the Town of Hempstead, now known as Lynbrook, was first settled several hundred years ago. Although occupied mostly by farmers, the area gradually grew in population until a group of concerned residents decided that the population warranted a formal, organized fire protection unit. 

On November 25, 1879, fifteen residents of the Village of Pearsall's, then in Queens County, gathered at Furman's Hall and organized Rescue Hook, Ladder and Bucket Company No. 1. The immediate order of business was to appoint a committee to look into the purchase of a piece of fire apparatus. 

The committee appointed to purchase the apparatus selected a hand drawn hook and ladder truck. This apparatus consisted of two fifth wheels, so that is could be turned at either end. It cost the tidy sum of $135.00.

 

Truck Company and their first hand drawn hook and ladder wagon> 

 

Festivals and various social functions were held to raise funds for the equipment necessary to finance the fire equipment. 

 

In August of 1882, the company approved the purchase of land at what now is 189 Earle Avenue for $150.00. This land was deeded to the company in September of 1882. The firehouse at 189 Earle Avenue was the very same structure erected in 1884, was over 121 years old when it was destroyed by fire. It was one of the oldest firehouses housing an active fire company. 

 

During these early years, the sounding of fire alarms was recognized as a necessity. For a while the bell atop St. James Church was used. In July of 1888, Mr. I.P. Simpson donated a bell that was installed in the belfry of the firehouse. This bell was used for many years as the fire alarm for the area, and can still be seen at the Fireman's Memorial at Earle Ave. and Sunrise Hwy. 

 

In 1894, the Village of Pearsall's changed its name to Lynbrook. the year 1898 saw the three eastern townships of Queens County form a new county, Nassau. And, the year 1900 not only ushered in a new century, but saw the formation of the second fire fighting company in Lynbrook, Engine Company No. 1. 

 

It was soon realized that a unified command was needed because of a lack of coordinating effort amongst the two units and in 1901 the Lynbrook Fire Department was organized.

 

On November 13th, 1917, the Village of Lynbrook turned back to the company the old hand drawn truck, and officially placed in the company's charge and care, the first motorized fire truck in Lynbrook. It was a Reo Motor Truck, and cost approximately $6000.00. The Reo served the village until 1927.

 

 

This photo was taken on November 6, 1917. Norman Cowper was Captain, Kenneth Frost was Lieutenant and driver.

This photo was taken on November 6, 1917. Norman Cowper was Captain,Kenneth Frost was Lieutenant and driver. The bell seen in the tower  above is now located at the Firefighter's Memorial on Sunrise Hwy. and Earle Ave.

 

 

 

1927 Mack Ladder Truck

 

The advent of World War II saw many members of the company entering the Armed Forces. Two member of Truck Company did not return. The Lynbrook Fire Department Memorial at Sunrise Hwy. and Earle Ave honors these two fireman, Dester Stephenson and Wilmer Sinley, along with John Johnston and John Donlon of Hose Company, who also gave the supreme sacrifice. 

 

As Lynbrook had grown considerably and the prospect of future growth, the village purchased  a 1947 Seagrave 85' Tractor Tiller fire truck. The truck cost the village $18,200. 

1947 Seagrave 85' Tractor Tiller

1962 Mack Tractor Tiller 100' Arial Ladder Truck.

1972 Ford/Reading Utility Vehicle

1962 Mack Tractor Tiller 100' Arial Ladder Truck.

-1947 Seagrave Tractor Tiller in the Nassau County Firefighter's Museum-

 

The village continued to grow and prosper and in 1962 the village purchased a 1962 Mack Tractor Tiller Fire Truck. The truck cost $60,000. The 1947 Seagrave was sold to the Windsor, Ontario, Canada fire department where is continued to serve well for many years. The '47 Seagrave was re-acquired by company members after it's retirement and is now an antique parade truck. Visit the Antique Apparatus page for more recent photos.

 

1976 Lynbrook Fire Department Home Tournament

1962 Mack in photo taken in 1979 for the 100th Anniversary

JOHN CRIBBIN PHOTO

In 1979 Rescue Hook, Ladder & Bucket Company No. 1 celebrated 100 years of service to the Village of Lynbrook.

 

In 1980, the village purchased a 1980 Pierce/LTI 85 foot tower ladder truck to replace the aging Mack. The truck served the village until 1998. The 1962 Mack was sold to the Albuquerque, New Mexico Fire Department. 

 

1980 Pierce Ladder truck with an Oren body and LTI 85' Tower Ladder

PHOTO BY NANCY  BIEN

1990 Seagrave 100 ft. Arial ladder-  428

DAN GILMARTIN PHOTO

 

As the village continued its expansion upwards, the need for a second ladder truck was determined. The village purchased a 1990 Seagrave Ladder truck to augment the 1980 Pierce. The old firehouse underwent major renovations to accommodate the new ladder truck.

 

In 1998 Truck Co. acquired a 1998 Spartan/L.T.I.  93 ft. Tower Ladder, to replace the 18 year old Pierce Fire Truck

 

1998 Spartan/LTI  93 ft. Tower Ladder - 427

DAN GILMARTIN PHOTO

In 2002, Truck Company acquired a 2002 Spartan featuring a Mobile Air Recovery System on board for refilling Scott Air Packs to replace the 1972 Ford/Reading Utility Vehicle.

Old Truck Co. Quarters  with 1990 Seagrave &1998 Spartan Tower Ladder.

 

In 2004, Truck Company passed another milestone as they celebrated 125 years of continuous service to the residents of the Village of Lynbrook. Visit the 125th Anniversary Page by clicking here.

On April 22nd, 2005 at about 5:40 AM the firefighters of Rescue Hook, Ladder & Bucket Co. No. 1 were summoned, along with their fellow Lynbrook firefighters, to a working fire at their own historic firehouse.

Then Truck Company Captain Mike Gilmartin was at work for the Dept. of Public Works when, while approaching Earle Ave. on Merrick Rd., he saw smoke and flames from the vicinity of the firehouse. As Mike got closer he discovered to his horror it was his firehouse that was burning.  Mike was able to call in the call to his dispatcher and remove the apparatus from building unscathed.

 

To the amazement of Truck Company's firefighters the old house opened the bay door near the fire, protecting the tower ladder from the fire just above the rig. The Traffic light pre-empters at the intersections of Merrick and Sunrise were activated and flashing. Over a hundred and twenty years of fire fighting experience had taught the old building a thing or two. The fire was quickly extinguished by Lynbrook's volunteers.

 

The structural damage, however, was substantial.  From an engineering perspective the fire couldn't have been in a worse location. Unfortunately most of the old building has to be raised as it could not be economically rebuilt to meet current building codes.  Demolition day was a sad day for our beloved fire house that so faithfully served Pearsall's Corners and later Lynbrook for the past 121 years.

 

Construction on a new building began in October of 2006. The building took over a year to complete. Fire insurance only covered about half the cost of rebuilding and the company raised funds through donations and a large mortgage.

 

Truck Company's apparatus were relocated to various locations in the village until the new facility can be completed. You may view the Lynbrook F.D. official news story about the fire by clicking here

 

After one year of construction Truck Co. have moved back to their home at 189 Earle Ave.

 

The officers and fire fighters of Rescue Hook,  Ladder & Bucket Company No. 1 continue to serve the Village of Lynbrook, as they have done  for the past 133 years, as a fire company with a long and proud tradition of excellence.

 

Copyright © 2000-2013 - Rescue Hook, Ladder & Bucket Co, No. 1, & the Lynbrook Fire Department.

 rights reserved.
Revised: 16 Sep 2013 09:13:24 -0500