History

 
 

With Gratitude, the history of the department was researched and archived largely by the late Mary Jane Stahley, whose lifelong dedication to the Bemus Point community will be forever treasured. We are grateful for her contribution to our future, by preserving our past.


Locations

March 11, 1911 - The first meeting of the Village Board of Bemus Point, NY was held in an upstairs room of Seymour Hall. On March 4, 1913, the village voted to provide fire protection to its residents. In 1914, the village appropriated $25 to the Methodist Church on Maple Street, for the purchase of a bell for fire alarm use. An electric siren was first purchased in 1921, a double head 3 HP, 220 volt Sterling Fire Siren.

February 27, 1920 - The Village Board granted a petition to organize a fire company for the protection of lives and property in the village. A.C. Russ was nominated to be the first Fire Chief. The other officers were: Clarence Hansen, 1st Asst, Clark Lord, 2nd Asst, A.G Barrett and L.G. Skillman, wardens.

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July 17, 1920 - Agreement made with Columbian Inn, Inc. to lease a portion of the Fowler Block (#4 Main St.) to house fire apparatus nearby the village hotels. The building was used for the fire department and a meeting place for the Village Board.

“The floor of the building was several feet above the street, so a very steep concrete ramp was built in front of the village portion of the building to get the fire engine in and out of the building. In those days, there were no starters, so the Ford fire truck had to be cranked by hand. The truck was very hard to start, so it would be pushed to the door, put it in gear and let it go down the steep ramp, which generally started the truck off at great speed” - Victor Norton

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In 1922 voters approved the purchase of land on Alburtus Avenue to start construction of a combined fire and village hall, The siren was installed in a structure on the second floor.

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The 1922 building was expanded in 1954 with a new 33x40 foot structure built on property acquired from Arthur Murdock. The new building was connected to the old village hall. Today, the original structure houses the Bemus Point ambulance, and provides space for the Bemus Point Historical Society.


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In 1948 the department acquired the former Clarence Hansen Garage at 13 Main Street, razed it, and constructed their club rooms. Most of the work was done by the firemen. The Auxiliary raised money to buy drapes and other furnishings. This building was used extensively until such fraternal activities lost popularity. Many benefits were held there, dinners, dance programs, clinics, and it was used by the Catholic Church after they suffered a fire in their church. The Lutheran congregation used it after they organized and were waiting for their church to be built. The fire company ran regular bingo games for many years after being legalized by NY State in 1958. In 1967 the fire department sold the building to the Bemus Point Library, at a reduced cost, as a contribution to the library, which remains there today.

The 1954 brick-faced concrete block building was further expanded in 1991 to include the new village hall, and is the present location of the Bemus Point Volunteer Fire Department.

The siren on the 1954 expansion building was replaced in 1991. In 2018 the lighting in the hall was converted to energy-saving LED, and the training room was renovated, increasing the seating for meetings and training.

The Fire Company produces an annual newsletter to the community, called The Patron. An archive of historical copies can be viewed from the image link below:

 

Apparatus

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1920 - Watrous Fire Engine Company Ford Model T Combination Pumper and Booster Fire Engine [no photo of this engine has been located. If you have a photo, the Fire Company asks that you contact us, so we may obtain a copy]

The first use of the engine was recorded on January 8, 1921 when it responded to a fire in the home of Alvah Drayton. The engine worked well, and the house was saved.

In 1923 the engine was equipped with chemical tanks. It was replaced by the 1931 Chevrolet and loaned to Maple Springs, who purchased it in 1935

In 1921 an additional truck, a small Ford, used as a delivery truck by Skillman’s Grocery was purchased and fitted with a box to carry 500 feet of hose.

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1922 -Larrabee six cylinder, one and a quarter ton chassis - Built by JNT, Jamestown, sold by the Strand Motor Car Co. of Jamestown. A 500 gallon per minute rotary pump was added after purchase. Along with the Model T engine, the village had the capacity to pump 750 gallons per minute.

Click for a history of the Larrabee Motor Company of Binghamton NY.

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1931 -Cheverolet Chemical Truck, purchased from the Buffalo Fire Apparatus Co.

“Chemical” fire trucks carried tanks with a solution of bicarbonate and water, in which a small ‘charge’ of acid was poured, pressurizing the liquid and propelling it through hoses. These trucks were popular at the turn of the 20th century, and were gradually replaced with modern “pumpers”, then referred to as “boosters”.

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1940 - International M43 Booster Truck - Build to specifications in Wesleyville, PA. Replaced by the 1959 Ward LaFrance International engine.

The chassis was sold to the Town of Ellery Highway Department for $1 in 1960

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1948 - International Motor Truck Pumper E-410. I-KB6 158” built by JNK Jamestown, NY replacing the 1922 Larabee. In service through 1967,

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1952 International Rescue Equipment Truck M46 - This was the department’s first transport vehicle. Prior to this truck, local funeral home hearses were used to transport victims. This vehicle was used until 1962

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1959 - International Ward / LaFrance E-416/E-441 - Equipped with a Waterous center mount 500 gallon per minute pump. Replaced the 1940 M-43 booster truck. Remained in service through 1979, replaced by the Ford pumper.

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1962 Chevrolet Suburban Panel Truck - R431 / R441 - replaced the 1952 M-46 truck. Originally all white color, repainted to white and yellow in 1975. Remained in service through 1979.

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1967 Ford / Maxim F950 Gasoline Engine E-442 - 750 gallon per minute pumper. Replaced the 1948 International pumper. Remained in service until 1988.

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1973 Chevrolet Utility Panel Van - M-441

Interior was built by Jim Shepardson, and used as a heavy equipment hauling truck. In service until 1991.

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Ford - Engine 441 - Dedicated August 30, 1979 to Robert E. Stahley, a member of the department since 1948.

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1979 Ford / Module Wheel Coach Type III - R-441 Replaced the 1962 Chevrolet panel truck. This vehicle began the modern era of both basic and advanced life support with features new to the department. The full purchase price of $39,000 was raised by games of chance/casino night fundraisers. The ambulance remained in service until 1995, and was donated to the county dive team to use as an equipment truck.

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1988 Pierce 1250 gallon per minute top mount Lance pumper. Engine 442 had a 400HP disel engine donated by the Cummins Engine Co. It was sold to Gerry Fire Department in 2015 (designated as E-461), replaced by the 2014 Pierce pumper.

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1991 International / Pierce Heavy Rescue R-442 Self-contained equipment carrying truck with onboard generator. Powered by a Cummins L-10 279 HP engine, it replaced the 1973 panel van.

In service

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2001 Pierce / Freightliner - E441 is powered by a Cummins ISM 400 engine. With a 1500 GPM Hale pump system, 1500 gallon tank, and onboard portable pond, E441 brings powerful water supply capabilities.

In service

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A441

In service

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2014 Pierce Impel Custom Pumper - E442 - Delivered September 24, 2014. 450HP Cummins ISL9 engine, 1250 gallon tank, 1250 gpm Waterous pump, Top mount pumphouse, 6000W Will-Burt Light Tower, FRC Scene lighting, 10kW Harrison hydraulic generator, Replaced the 1988 Pierce pumper

In Service


Boats

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1991 Hovercraft

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Air Boat 442

In Service

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Boat 441

In service