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1967 marks the eighty- first anniversary of the Farmingdale
Fire Department. Organized in 1886 as a Fire Brigade, the
twenty or thirty volunteers of the Hook and Ladder and Hose
Company # 1, under the leadership of foreman T. J. Talbot and
assistant foreman A. Burton, had only one hand- drawn pumper
with which to answer the community's calls for assistance.
Today, Fire Chief Robert Baldwin reports that the 180 active
members of the Department answer more than 500 alarms
each year, and that nine pieces of the most modern apparatus
( pumpers, hook and ladders, aerial ladder, chemical, floodlight,
rescue trucks, ambulance and Chief's car) are ready
In 1889 the Water Witch Engine and Hose Company # 1 was formed to supplement
the original Hook and Ladder Company. Our Fire Department today still consists
of these two companies.
The growth of the Department parallels the growth of Farmingdale. To that first
hand pumper were soon added a horse- drawn fire wagon, and then motorized apparatus.
In 1932 when the Fire Brigade became the Farmingdale Fire Department, there
were some 80 members who brought with them six pieces of fire apparatus -- the
Hook. Ladder and Hose Company: a pumper, a chemical truck, a hook and ladder;
the Water Witch Company: a small pumper, one large pumper, and a utility truck
which belonged to the Rangers, its tournament- competing team. The utility truck
was used as a hose wagon at fires, a racer at tournaments, and a rescue truck
when one was needed.
The two companies, now organized into one Department and under the* jurisdiction
Of the Village of Farmingdale for the first time, moved into the new firehouse on
Main . Street in 1932. In April of that year another utility truck was purchased,
and a few years later the small pumper of the Water Witch Company, which had become
obsolete, was replaced by a new 500 gallon pumper.
The Volunteer and Exempt Firemen's Benevolent Association of Farmingdale
was organized in 1939.
During the next ten years other pieces of apparatus were replaced; a resuscitator
was purchased; first aid supplies were donated through the courtesy of the Ranger
Aircraft Engines, a local manufacturer, and a utility truck was assigned exclusively
for rescue work.
With the acquisition in 1948 of four pieces of apparatus ( a 75U gallon pumper, an
aerial ladder, a floodlight truck, a rescue truck) the Department became one of the
best equipped fire- fighting units on Long Island.
This year, too, a big step forward in community protection was taken with the
formation of the first aid squad. Members received instruction in first aid as
taught and prescribed by the American Red Cross, local doctors gave freely of their
time and assistance, and the Rescue Squad swung into action, answering any call
for aid throughout the first district.
In 1950, the Fire Police Squad was created to fill the need for a unit which could
quickly clear the way for apparatus speeding to a fire call. This squad also protects
the public from danger during fires and prevents spectators from impeding
War t l/ miAW
These 29 points of interest in the area of the Bethpage Purchase may be
viewed on historic tours under the auspices of the Farmingdale- Bethpage
Historical Society. Call Mrs. Andre Hubbard CHapel 9- 0006 for further
information. Group tours may be arranged by bu? * i t h members of the
historical society as tour guides.
Farmingdale Observer Supplement
the work of the firemen.
The following year the Department adopted the use of radio communication. A
base station was set up at headquarters so that constant contact could be maintained
at all times with each piece of apparatus and also so that all individual
units could communicate with each, or all, of the others whenever necessary.
During the 1950' s the Department each year answered about 300 alarms plus
over one hundred calls to the Rescue Squad for aid.
On a cold afternoon in 1952 the most tragic call of its history was made upon the
Fire Department. At 4 P. M. Wednesday, February 13. a violent explosion rocked
the entire village. The blast was centered on the corner of Washington and Conklin
Streets, and the Farmingdale Federal Savings and Ixian Association building, located
there, was reduced to a pile of rubble within a few seconds. Windows for blocks
around were shattered Eleven persons were injured, two died later, including the
bank president. Fred fi. Murray, a former mayor of ParminRdale. The Fire Department
rushed to the scene, extricated the injured from debris of the building, administered
first aid, transported the injured to Meadowbrook Hospital, and for
several hours fought the gas- red fires. ( The explosion occurred when a spark touched
off pas that had accumulated in the bank building, undetected by anyone, after a gas
main had been accidentally severed by a steam shovel digging storm drains nearby).
This tragedy brought home to Fire Chief Charles IJndros the need for additional
rescue equipment particularly a fully- equipped ambulance, and prompted him to
organize immediately a one- day. fund- raising drive. The residents and business
men of Farmingdale responded generously and the Firemen, going door to door, on
the following Sunday, a rainy day, collected enough funds to purchase the needed
The formation of the Fire Prevention Bureau in 1955 was another move toward
greater community safety. The Bureau inspects places of public assembly, stores,
and multiple dwellings, to advise as to existing hazards and to enforce, if necessary,
the laws to eliminate them.
A Pre- Staging and Planning Committee also founded that year, lists all buildings
situated within the fire district which are vulnerable to fire, or which would present
a special problem were they to burn. Surveys of these buildings are made to indicate
construction, floor plan, location of all doors and windows, stairways, shafts,
firewalls, false ceilings, and notes most and least vulnerable sections of these
buildings, and the location of the nearest water hydrants.
Over the eighty years that the volunteer firemen have protected the people, the
houses and business buildings of Farmingdale, more than a thousand brave and
dedicated men have served under the leadership of a score or more able Firemen
and Fire Chiefs. We cannot list all their names here, but Farmingdale is indeed
proud of them, and grateful to them, s. c photograph* P.' KO I i
McCourt & Trudden ( Continued from f'ffgt' 4*>>
numbers of mourners, especially when veterans,, fraternal or religious services are
to be conducted.
The air conditioned building is equipped witha public address system to accommodate
speakers andalso to furnisha musical background when desired. A casket display
salesroom is also on the premises.
Donald Trudden, manager of the Farmingdale branch of the McCourt and Trudden
Funeral Homes, lives on Van Cott Avenue with his wife, Anne Frances and three
children, Donald and Kathleen who attend the Farmingdale Senior High School and
John who attends Weldon E. Howitt Junior High School. Don Trudden is the 1967
president of the Farmingdale Kiwanis Club and is a past- president of the Long Island
City Kiwanis. He and Mrs. Trudden are also active in local veterans, religious and
For many years he was associated with the Riverside Memorial Chapel and Frank
E. Campbell Funeral Church in Manhattan and the Hallett Funeral Home in Flushing.
His brother, Eugene, father of five boys, manages the Richmond Hill branch of the
McCourt and Trudden Funeral Home and makes his home in that community.
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Frank Puglia, Prop.
193 MAIN STREET 293- 8478 FARMINGDALE
Thursday, March 30, 1967 5S
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