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100 Years 1910-2010

The Vulcan Chemical & Hose Company Engine # 2 was organized on September 10, 1910 and was located in a shop at the rear of a house on Vincent Avenue. In 2010, we proudly celebrate 100 years of dedicated service to the residents of the Village of Lynbrook.

Originally our primary importance and concern was fire protection east of Earle Avenue to the village line and north of the East Rockaway line to the present Lakeview Avenue. The company was incorporated as the Lynbrook Chemical Engine Company # 1 on January 30, 1911 and was manned by nineteen Volunteer Firemen under the capable leadership of Doctor Simon Schleicher, a noted dentist in Lynbrook. 

On January 8, 1916 the company was re-incorporated under the present name of Vulcan Chemical and Hose Company Engine # 2. The story of the name changing of the Company dealt primarily with not being able to obtain sufficient funds from the village to purchase a chemical truck. Additional appropriation was sanctioned for the purchase of a new truck if the Company were an Engine Company. In 1918 Vulcan Company moved from the bam into quarters shared with Rescue Hook, Ladder, and Bucket Company # 1 on Earle Avenue. 

In 1950, Vulcan Company took the first step toward acquiring their own firehouse. The necessary land was purchased at the corner of Denton Avenue and Merrick Road. Plans were drawn for a modern $12,000. house. More than half of the required amount of money was deposited in the bank. At this point complications arose in that no bank would sanction the mortgage. The rationale being that firemen and firehouse are considered bad risks. Eventually the mortgage was obtained through a private individual and Vulcan now had a house that they could call their own. The formal dedication was held in 1951.

The original firehouse was a one-room building which meant the truck had to be moved outside in order to hold any type meeting. Since then there have been several additions. In 1956 an addition was made which served as a meeting room and in 1959, the interior of the house was completely renovated. In 1964, work was completed on a separate but attached area which was to house the apparatus. By converting an old storeroom, Vulcan became the first Company within the Lynbrook Fire Department to set aside space to be used by the Chief as his personal office. 

Up to this point he and his Deputies had worked out of a small shed located at the D.P.W yard. In June 1966, another room served as a recreation room. The property next to Vulcan which was formerly the site of Joe Kelly's gas station became available for purchase due to the widening of Merrick Road, begun in 1969. We bought and closed on it in 1971. It has since been black-topped and lined and is being used for membership parking. Another addition, being used for storage, was complete in 1980. The interior is completely air conditioned, is handsomely paneled, and features a goodly portion of the wail area faced with real brick. The kitchen is equipped for efficiency and the bathrooms are modern in design. 

The firehouse underwent a major expansion in 1990, in preparation for the arrival of the newest engine, a 1991 Pierce Pumper. A new truck room addition was added to the firehouse which can now accommodate two vehicles with office space on the second floor. The back room again was remodeled in 2008. Replacing the old Officer’s room and rear bathroom into a large and comfortable television lounge room.

The Green Machine is a proud Company. Photographs dating back to the origin of the Company up to the present are on display in the firehouse. Trophies attesting to the athletic prowess of the membership are on display as is a scale model of the 1950 Mark pumper. There is a photo gallery that features pictures of all who have served as Captain as well as those who have served as Chief.  They are pinned by other members  who are now deceased. 

The first piece of the fire fighting equipment was purchased by the members at a cost of $1,050 and was known as a two wheel jumper. A sketch of it and our present day truck appear on the souvenir plates presented to those in attendance at our 75th Anniversary Dinner. The two wheel jumper was hard pulled and contained two soda-acid extinguisher, an axe, a bar, two spanner wrenches, a hydrant wrench, and 600 feet of hose. Eighty feet of rope was attached to the jumper for pulling purposes. One member in particular, a local milkman, would occasionally ease the chore of pulling the jumper to the fire. When a call came in, he would race to the house in his horse and wagon and tie the jumper to the back of the milk wagon. Two firemen would run at top speed holding the jumper to steady it. It was not uncommon for the horse to run faster then the men which invariably resulted in tipping the jumper and injuring the men. The chief traveled to calls in style - on a bicycle. 

The year 1920 saw the first piece of motorized fire fighting equipment for Vulcan Company. It was 250 gallon Mack Pumper. In 1929 this pumper gave way to a Mack 750 gallon pumper.

The Green Machine is a proud Company. Photographs dating back to the origin of the Company up to the present are on display in the firehouse. Trophies attesting to the athletic prowess of the membership are on display as is a scale model of the 1950 Mark pumper. There is a photo gallery that features pictures of all who have served as Captain as well as those who have served as Chief.  They are pined by other members  who are now deceased. 

The first piece of the fire fighting equipment was purchased by the members at a cost of $1,050 and was known as a two wheel jumper. A sketch of it and our present day truck appear on the souvenir plates presented to those in attendance at our 75th Anniversary Dinner. The two wheel jumper was hard pulled and contained two soda-acid extinguisher, an axe, a bar, two spanner wrenches, a hydrant wrench, and 600 feet of hose. Eighty feet of rope was attached to the jumper for pulling purposes. One member in particular, a local milkman, would occasionally ease the chore of pulling the jumper to the fire. When a call came in, he would race to the house in his horse and wagon and tie the jumper to the back of the milk wagon. Two firemen would run at top speed holding the jumper to steady it. It was not uncommon for the horse to run faster then the men which invariably resulted in tipping the jumper and injuring the men. The chief traveled to calls in style- on a bicycle. 

The year 1920 saw the first piece of motorized fire fighting equipment for Vulcan Company. It was 250 gallon Mack Pumper. In 1929 this pumper gave way to a Mack 750 gallon pumper.

1929 Mack Pumper

This in turn was replaced by another 750 gallon pumper in 1950. It featured being the first truck built with a tank-foam system, semi-high pressure fog, 1 1/2" ore-connected line, 350 gallon booster tank and enclosed equipment compartments on either side of the truck. The cost was in the neighborhood of $26,000.

1950 Mack Fire Truck Ad featuring Vulcan's Mack pumper. Click on image for enlargement.

 

 

1950 Mack Pumper

 

This truck remained is service until June 1970 when a new Young 1000 gallon pumper was officially put into service. The Young was a unique in that it was able to "pump and run". It utilized this feature in helping many of our neighboring departments celebrate the arrival of new apparatus. Another innovation was a self-contained stainless steel 40 gallon foam tank with an internal proportioner. The complete cost was a bit over $70,000. 

 

1970 Young Pumper

 

Vulcan Company's current truck is a 1991 Pierce 

The alarm system in Lynbrook, at the start of Vulcan Company, consisted of a steam whistle mounted on the roof of a steam plant located behind the Blake Avenue firehouse. The whistle was activated by the railroad crossing guard at the railroad tracks and Atlantic Avenue. On one occasion, the steam whistle was inoperable and the guard stopped a passing steam locomotive and sounded the alarm utilizing the locomotive's steam whistle. 

In 1920, the whistle control was moved to the Police Station which was located above a store on Atlantic Avenue and Five Corners. Five years later, a new Village Hall was erected across from Irwin Court and the alarm whistle was placed on its roof. In the same year, the Village installed 52 Gamewell Fire Alarm boxes throughout the village for the relaying of fire alarms. In 1956, the Gamewell boxes were removed and a telephone alarm system was installed in geographical locations of Lynbrook. 

Progress continued when in June 1965, the Department purchased and issued Instalert radios to all Department members. This eliminated the need for the old type pull boxes on mast corners. The Department now uses personal pagers.

Tournaments and tournament teams were as much a part of the Fire Department then as they are now. The Vulcan Company team traveled as far as Oyster Bay and Port Jefferson to participate against rival teams. To reach the outlying districts, the teams would leave the night before the tournament date to arrive in time to enter the contests. The team, using horses, would cull their jumper rig the entire night to the site of the parade and drill, spacing their speed to arrive in time for the competition.

By law, schools were closed to enable all to attend the activities. tournaments are still a source of great pride.  Vulcan Company took a first place overall in the 1972  "Home Tournament" and then waited until 1980 before capturing another. The team has lived up to its nickname, The Green Machine, by being nothing short of sensational. The "machine" reeled off victories in 1982, 1983, 1984, 1992, 2003 and 2005. 

Old timers still talk about some of the big fires of their day. Denton's Coal Yard emitted dense black smoke for eight hours completely blanketing the northern section of Lynbrook. The Steinbrook lumber yard fire which stood at the present location of Rite Aid Drugs. In order to fight this fire, water had to be pumped from the New York City water supply lines which ran beneath Sunrise Highway. The Queensboro Gas and Electric building fire on Atlantic Avenue now Marine Midland. The S and S fire. also on Atlantic Avenue next to where Lynn's Gifts is now located, when a refrigeration ammonia plant ignited and threatened to blow the center of the village off the map. The stubborn Woolworth fire, gutting the entire second floor, but with a continuation of operation of the store the following morning with little or no water damage to the store. The St. James Church fire which lasted the night, completely destroying the Church.

On and on go the reminiscences with some of our modem day blazes. The Clock Shop fire on Hempstead Avenue where two of our members performed an outstanding rescue. Who can forget the terrible fire on Washington Avenue where a 3 year old child was rescued by courageous Company members. The largest of all fires, the night the North East corner of Five Comers was leveled in not one, but two different fires. Again Woolworth burned, this time the building was completely gutted.

The fires go on and on: Charles Street, Bixley Heath, 20 Daley Place, Stark Place, Wyoming Avenue, Lynbrook Hardware, Green Avenue, Sid's Country Furniture, Rite Aid, simultaneous fires on Canterbury Gate and Marshall Ave. The Vitality Sleep Shop, Minuteman Press, Country Boy Deli, Park Place Restaurant, Baisley lumberyard, Norm Dreyer’s Law Office and sadly fatalities at 30 Doxsey Place and 180 Canterbury Gate.

The Company also responded to many other incidents. Including the huge and potentially hazardous gas leak at Ocean Avenue and Merrick Road. Or the train wreck at the Lynbrook Station in 1980. Hurricane “Gloria “in 1985,and a reported tornado in 1998. All served to keep us busy.

We give public tribute to our Ladies Auxiliary which was formed in 1947. Today this group of women is composed of 26 active members. They have been a great helping hand in many of our Company activities and functions. They can also be found assisting at our more serious fires by serving refreshments and offering strong moral support. They are our staunchest backers. We thank them sincerely. 

For now, 100 years we have progressed from a hand drawn two wheel jumper to a modern pumper; from a nineteen man group dedicated to the protection of life and property to a forty man Company highly trained in modem scientific fire fighting techniques and prevention; from a barn to a member-owned firehouse that architecturally coincides with the residential area that surrounds it. All of this and more has been made possible by a very special person; the individual Company member. It was and still is: his dedication, his loyalty, his unselfishness, his willingness to serve, and above all his concern and love of neighbor that makes him so special. He accepts rather calmly the knowledge that his life is in jeopardy every time he responds to a cry for assistance. Yes, we take extreme pride in the fact that we are Volunteer Firefighters.

 

Photos compiled from Vulcan Co. archives maintained by Ex Chief Robert Raymond 

Story by Edward Murphy

Copyright © 2000-2013 Vulcan Co., Lynbrook Fire Department. All rights reserved.
Revised: 29 Aug 2013 06:02:12 -0500  



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