By Ex-Captain Steve
Lynbrook Fire Dept. Memorial is located on the corner of Sunrise
Highway & Earle Ave. in Lynbrook.
The memorial honors the memory and sacrifice of ten
Lynbrook volunteers. Six were killed in the line
of duty in this community and the other four volunteers
were killed fighting for our country in World War II.
Those that died in the line of duty here in Lynbrook
include a Tally-Ho Lieutenant killed fighting a fire in
1932, a Hose Company firefighter killed in 1939, a Chief
and member of Engine Company killed when he fell from
the rig in 1946, and three firefighters from Engine
Company killed when Engine Company and Tally-Ho collided
responding to a call in 1963.
30, 2003 marked the 40th Anniversary of a tragic 1963
accident that took the lives of three Lynbrook volunteer
firefighters and a school crossing guard. Here are links
to that story and others on this page:
Four Killed in Lynbrook FD Tragedy
Fr. Larry Penzes Remembered | First Line of
Duty Death Uncovered
a Fallen Leader
Volunteer Firefighter Magazine 1963 Accident Story, August 2013
Four Killed in Lynbrook Fire Department Tragedy
that fateful day in 1963, just after 12 o’clock noon, and right
after a rain storm, the volunteers of the Lynbrook Fire
Department were called out to a reported house fire at 331 Earle
Avenue. Engine Company No. 1 from the Carpenter Avenue
firehouse responded with six volunteers aboard and proceeded
through the village and headed north on Hempstead Avenue to
Peninsula Boulevard. Tally-Ho Engine Company No. 3 from
the Horton Avenue firehouse, also responding with six
volunteers, headed east on Merrick Road onto Peninsula
the time Mrs. Rosalie Roy, a Lynbrook school crossing guard
assigned to the intersection of Hempstead Avenue and Peninsula
Blvd., was on duty. Both fire engines with their lights
blazing and their sirens and horns blowing loudly headed for the
same intersection. Mrs. Roy apparently saw the fire
engines approaching and possibly sensing a collision ran into
the intersection trying to stop them. It was reported at
the time that both drivers may have believed that Mrs. Roy was
in the intersection to stop vehicular traffic for the benefit of
their fire truck.
approximately 12:08 PM the two fire trucks entered the
intersection at the same time. The drivers of the trucks
could not stop on the rain slicked roadway and they collided
with the sound of twisted medal that was louder than the blaring
sirens and horns. Tally-Ho smashed into the rear portion
of Engine Company and spun it around in the intersection
striking Mrs. Roy before she had time to run back to the curb.
She was hurled to the lawn in front of the Penbrook apartment
building on the northeast corner of the intersection. She
died instantly. Engine Company also knocked down a light
pole on the corner before stopping 20 feet north of the
intersection. The intersection was littered with the
bodies of the volunteers who had been thrown from their trucks.
total of nine firefighters were injured in the accident.
The most seriously hurt was William Koch, age 57, of 64 Marion
Street, Peter Moody, 21, of 41 Marion Street, and Joseph Fisher,
36, of 21 Marion Street, who were all riding on the back of
Engine Company. Also injured, but less seriously was Peter
Skeris of 114 Stevenson Street, who was on Tally-Ho and thrown
from his truck. All were taken to Mercy Hospital where
Koch died on arrival. Moody and Fisher remained in
critical condition. Skeris was later released from the
hospital. Other firefighters injured were treated at the
accident scene and sent home.
May 2, 1963, Moody died from his injuries followed by
Fisher who died the following day. In all, three
volunteers and a school crossing guard were killed in the one of
the Village of Lynbrook’s worst tragedies since the village was
incorporated in 1912. Only the deaths of five members of
the Levy family in a house fire two years before this accident
claimed more lives.
newspaper articles written after the accident the crash was
attributed to “the treacherous surface of Peninsula Blvd.”
It was also reported that the “road surface was slippery with
oil and water.” Accounts further stated that Engine
Company was late getting out of the firehouse due to engine
trouble. The papers said, “Otherwise, both trucks would
never have been in that intersection.” Another newspaper
reported that Engine Company had also been stopped at Five
Corners by a bus that had blocked that intersection.
Neither of the fire engines was reported to have been speeding
at the time of the accident. The fire call that the two
trucks were responding to turned out to be a malfunctioning
steam valve on a furnace.
Koch, an employee of Ruppert’s Brewery in Brooklyn, was the
secretary of Engine Company, and a member of the VFW after
serving with the Navy Seabees in the Pacific during World War
II. Koch left behind a wife and a daughter.
Firefighter Moody was not married and had only been a volunteer
for two years. He was survived by his mother, father,
brothers and a sister. Firefighter Fisher, an oil burner
mechanic, was also a veteran who served in World War II as a
paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne. He left behind his
widow. Mrs. Rosalie Roy, a mother of three, who helped
children cross the intersection for attendance at nearby Our
Lady of Peace School, had worked as a crossing guard for nearly
names of the three firefighters killed in this tragic accident
are remembered with a stone in front of the Firefighter’s
Memorial. The memorial also honors another Engine Company
member who was killed in the line of duty when he fell from the
fire truck while responding to a call in the 50’s. The
memorial also lists the names of those four Lynbrook volunteers
who went off to fight in World War II and were killed in action.
A separate stone honoring Mrs. Roy is located on the lawn in
front of the apartments at 60 Hempstead Avenue where she died in
the performance of her duties.
Top of page
Larry Penzes Remembered
a year, every year, the volunteers of the Lynbrook Fire
Department join together at the memorial on Sunrise Highway to
pay their respects and to honor the memory of their fallen
comrades. Each May, on Memorial Day, wreaths are laid for
those four firefighters killed in action in World War II.
In October, another memorial service is held and wreaths are
laid to remember those five firefighters killed in the line of
duty right here in Lynbrook. The volunteers never forget
what these men have given up for this country and our community
and neither should our residents.
The men and
women of the Lynbrook Fire Department recently honored the
memory of Father Larry Penzes, who was killed while saying
Mass at Our Lady of Peace Church on the morning of March 12,
2002, with the planting of a tree alongside the Church.
Father Larry was the fire department's Chaplain from March 1993
until his death.
Larry was a true friend of the Lynbrook Fire Department, as well
as to the residents of the Village of Lynbrook, and continues to
be missed by all who were touched by his presence.
Top of page
Lynbrook Fire Department Line of Duty Death Uncovered
nearly 72 years Lynbrook’s Village Historian has uncovered the
death of Lynbrook’s first volunteer firefighter that died in the
line of duty in 1932.
is now retired, authored a newly published book on the History
of Lynbrook titled, "The History of Lynbrook Before 1940."
As part of the book Mattson has been looking into the
history of the Lynbrook Volunteer Fire Department. During his
search of records on file with the Long Island Collection of
Historical Documents at Hofstra University, Art Mattson found
microfilmed documentation for the first known Line of Duty death
of a Lynbrook Firefighter, Second Lieutenant Frederick J.
Schnorr of Tally-Ho Engine Company 3, who succumbed to injuries
sustained at a fire on May 31st, 1932. He brought this article
to Steve Grogan's attention.
uncovered the story while searching through archive records.
This death is unknown to the present members of the Lynbrook
death was reported in a story titled, "Fire Lieutenant Succumbs
After Early Morning Fire," in the Nassau Daily Review newspaper.
According to the newspaper, which is dated May 31, 1932, the
Lynbrook Fire Department suffered its first recorded line of
duty death on that date when Lt. Schnorr was "felled by heavy
to view the article in its entirety.
story said that at 2:10 that morning a fire broke out in a
"store house" at the rear of 3 Maple Avenue in Lynbrook.
Tally-Ho was the first company on the scene. What they found
were thick clouds of billowing smoke coming from the structure.
The source of the smoke was stack upon stack of smoldering
mattresses and woolen waste. Although there were no visible
flames, the choking smoke made the attack on the fire extremely
difficult. Tally-Ho Second Lieutenant Fred Schnorr, 52, who
lived at 9 Lewis Place, entered the building to supervise his
"vamps" as they trained water on the smoldering mattresses and
after entering the building Schnorr however was overcome by the
smoke and "was carried out by companions, and first aid
treatment was administered by members of the rescue squad." The
article said that Schnorr however never regained consciousness
and died at 4:45 AM.
Lynbrook Mayor Howard G. Wilson said in the same newspaper,
"Fred Schnorr was a modest, courageous fireman. He was alert and
vigilant in the performance of his obligations as a volunteer
fireman. His faithfulness and his devotion to duty and his
service to the people of Lynbrook will ever be remembered by all
New York Times article titled, "Dies After Fighting Blaze," also
dated May 31, 1932, reported that Schnorr died after fighting a
"fire in a barn at 23 Maple Avenue." It also said he "was
overcome by heat and smoke" fighting the fire. This article
however said that after being pulled from the fire "he walked,
unaided to his home….within another hour, he was dead." He was
pronounced dead by the fire department surgeon Dr. Alexander
in writing his history of the department visited the
Firefighter's Memorial on Sunrise Highway and Earle Avenue only
to find that Schnorr's name is nowhere to be found. The Memorial
lists the names of four Lynbrook volunteers that died in the
line of duty and honors four others that were killed serving in
World War II. The first volunteer listed on the Memorial as
being killed in the line of duty is Raymond A. Abrams of Engine
Company who was killed in a fall from a fire truck on June 30,
1946. The other three volunteers, also from Engine Company, were
killed when fire trucks from Engine Company and Tally-Ho Company
collided at Peninsula Blvd and Hempstead Avenue responding to a
false alarm on April 30, 1963.
writes in his book, "It is the sincere hope of this author that
this book will help keep alive the memory of the sacrifice of
Lt. Frederick J. Schnorr, volunteer firefighter. With the
passage of 70 years, Schnorr's death in the line of duty has
been forgotten in Lynbrook. His name does not appear among the
other names of heroic firemen listed on the Fire Department
Memorial on Sunrise Highway."
Mattson provided me with a copy of the newspapers, I check with
Bill Dauscher, Tally-Ho's financial secretary. I myself have
been a member of Tally-Ho for 36 years and had never heard of
Schnorr. Dauscher found a card on file in some old records that
verified that Schnorr was a member of Tally-Ho for four and one
half years when he died. Schnorr had joined Tally-Ho on November
7, 1927 and his badge number was 154. It also lists that he was
buried in Greenfield Cemetery in Hempstead.
Schnorr's death was nearly 72 years ago no one presently in the
company has knowledge of Schnorr or his line of duty death. The
present oldest living member of Tally-Ho has over 58 years in
the company and he didn't know about Schnorr.
members of Tally-Ho will bring this information to the Fire
Council of the Lynbrook Fire Department so that Schnorr's name
can be added to the Lynbrook Firefighters Memorial on Sunrise
Highway. Mattson can be assured that thanks to his work
Schnorr's name will be added to the Memorial and he will be
remembered each October, when we honor the four other Lynbrook
volunteer firefighters who died in the line of duty, at a
memorial service. The four killed in World War II are honored
each Memorial Day.
A Fallen Leader
following was read at the Lynbrook Fire Department’s Annual
Memorial Service held at the Firefighters Memorial on Sunrise
Highway on Sunday, October 24, 2004. At the service the
name of Tally-Ho’s Second Lieutenant Frederick J. Schnorr was
added to the memorial.
"Today, as the
Lynbrook Fire Department comes together to remember our brother
firefighters who have died in the line of duty, we also add the
name of another hero to our Firefighters’ Memorial who has long
since been forgotten. Today we also honor the memory of
Second Lieutenant Frederick J. Schnorr of Tally-Ho Engine
Company 3 who gave his life in the service of our village many
Frederick J. Schnorr
lived at 9 Lewis Place in Lynbrook. He lived there with
his wife Catherine and a son, Fred Jr. On November 7,
1927, at the age of 47, Fred Sr. joined Tally-Ho and quickly
became an active and dedicated member of the company.
Just after 2 o’clock
in the morning of May 31, 1932, Fred Schnorr, now 51 years of
age, and a Second Lieutenant with Tally-Ho, responded with
Tally-Ho and the rest of the Lynbrook Fire Department to a
reported fire at 23 Maple Avenue not far from Schnorr’s home.
Tally-Ho was the first company on the scene and Lieutenant
Schnorr led the company’s attack on the fire. The
firefighters were met with a heavy smoke condition as they
arrived on the block and soon found a store house in the rear of
the property with thick clouds of billowing smoke coming from
the building. Lt. Schnorr led the members of Tally-Ho into
the building finding stack upon stack of smoldering mattresses
and woolen waste burning. Although there was no visible
fire the choking smoke made the attack extremely difficult.
Neither Schnorr nor the other volunteers were wearing any type
of breathing apparatus.
According to the
newspaper, The Nassau Daily Review, “Schnorr was overcome soon
after he entered the building. He was carried out by (his)
companions, and first aid treatment was administered by members
of the rescue squad. Schnorr, however, never regained
consciousness and he died at 4:45 AM. Dr. Alexander Cohen
pronounced him dead and determined the cause as heart failure.”
The New York Times
reported it somewhat differently. The Times said that
Schnorr was carried from the building, revived and treated at
the scene, and had managed to make it to his nearby home, dying
there a few hours later.
Frederick J. Schnorr died that morning in the line of duty just
like the other four Lynbrook volunteer firefighters who are
listed on the stone in front of us. Schnorr, whose name
has now been added to the stone, will now be remembered as
Lynbrook’s first line of duty death.
Back then in 1932,
then Lynbrook’s Mayor, Howard G. Wilson, said, “Fred Schnorr was
a modest, courageous fireman. He was alert and vigilant in
the performance of his obligations as a volunteer fireman.
His faithfulness and his devotion duty and his service to the
people of Lynbrook will ever be remembered by all of us.”
Although it is over
72 years since Mayor Wilson made that statement Frederick J.
Schnorr will finally and eternally be remembered by the Lynbrook
Fire Department at this memorial. He will no longer be
The officers and
members of Tally-Ho would like to thank Lynbrook’s Village
Historian Art Mattson whose research uncovered the death of
Schnorr and brought it to our attention. The members of
Tally-Ho also made an effort to locate a living relative of
Schnorr, but without success.
We also thank the
Lynbrook Fire Department for allowing Tally-Ho to honor our
forgotten fallen leader.
May He Rest in
the above photo the senior members of Tally-Ho Engine Company #3
join together to salute the memory of Second Lieutenant
Frederick J. Schnorr at the memorial service that added the name
of Schnorr to the Lynbrook Fire Department’s memorial on Sunrise
Highway. From left to right are, Ex-Chief Tom Ryan,
Ex-Chief Robert Cribbin, Honorary Chief Dan Quaranto, Ex-Chief
Dominic DeCarlo, and present Tally-Ho Captain James Deliver.