History of the Brockport Fire Department
Our history dates back to 1832 when the village purchased a hand pumper from the firm of John Proctor and National Hydraulic Co. of Proctorsville, VT, for the sum of $450. The new engine was assigned to the Water Witch Engine Co. 1 on May 1, 1832. Another engine was purchased in 1834 and the Conqueror Engine Co. 2 was organized. Engine houses were constructed in the village and their exact locations are still unknown today. In 1845 a new village hall was constructed on King Street housing the engine companies and the Spartan Hook and Ladder Co. 1, later renamed the Empire Hook and Ladder Co. 1
During the Civil War the fire companies disbanded, reorganized and then disbanded again. Votes in the village to purchase new fire equipment were defeated several times, but finally the purchase of a used hand pumper was procured from one of the old Rochester, NY, fire companies (a Selye & Porter New York Style Pumper manufactured in Rochester) and assigned to the Conqueror Engine Co. 2. When this company disbanded for the last time, the hand pumper was stored in a barn in the village, but then the inevitable happened. A major fire on January 12, 1877 destroyed both sides of Market St. During this fire the unused, old Selye & Porter hand pumper was pulled out of the barn and put into action. Unable to contain the fire on its own, a steamer was called from the city of Rochester via railroad flatcar.
After that fire, $6,600 worth of bonds were purchased from the Powers Banking Firm in Rochester, which enabled the village to purchase a Hook and Ladder from SM Stewart Co. Manufacturers in Rochester, NY, and also from the Silsby Manufacturing Co. in Seneca Falls, NY, one steam fire engine, two hose reels and fire hose. The steamer was a demonstrator at the World's Fair in Philadelphia at the great Hall of Machines when the nation celebrated our centennial in 1876.
With the purchase of fire equipment, the Byron E. Huntley Steamer Co. 1, Silsby Hose Co. 1, LJ Pease Hose Co. 2 (which disbanded in 1882 and reorganized that same year as the Harrison Hose Co. 2) and the CD Dewey Hook and Ladder Co. 1, fire companies were formed. A group of men from the Johnston Harvester Co. on N. Main Street approached the village board and offered to refurbish the old Selye Hand Pumper and also build an engine house next to their company thus forming the Thomas Cornes Engine and Hose Co. 3. IN July, 1877, the Protectives were organized and housed on Monroe Avenue where the Catholic rectory now stands. The steamer, hose cart #2 and hook and ladder were housed in the village hall on Kings St. The Silsby Hose constructed a hose cart and repair room off Clinton St.
With the fire companies organized with modern equipment, they now faced the biggest fire in Brockport's history. On June 22-23, 1882, the Johnston Harvester Co. went up in flames, destroying most of the buildings including the Engine Co. 3. The fire started at N. Main Street and Clark Street, jumped across the foot bridge to N. Main Street and Liberty Street. That fire cost $500,000 worth of damage and put 450 men out of work. All equipment worked for two days including the old Selye Hand Pumper that was housed at the Johnston Harvester Company. It was pulled to safety and pumped for two straight days along with another steamer from Rochester, again brought in via railway. With such destruction, the Johnston Harvester Co. chose not to rebuild in Brockport, but to relocate to Batavia, NY.
The new three-story brick village building and fire department headquarters was constructed on Market Street in 1884 housing all of the fire companies. In 1971 this three-story building was torn down and new headquarters were built, now housing the the CD Dewey Hook and Ladder Co. 1, Harrison Hose Co. 2, Silsby Hose Co. 1 and the Ambulance Corp, which was organized in 1962. In 1893 the Thomas Cornes Engine and Hose Co.3 was disbanded and the Capen Hose Co. 4 was accepted into the department. The first Capen Hose house was built next to the railroad on South Main Street and in 1905 the present hose house was built in the triangle at S. Main St. and Park Avenue. The Capen Hose Co. purchased the first motorized piece of fire equipment in 1915 and agreed to cover calls outside the village. In 1967 a fire house was constructed north of the canal at West Avenue and Caroline Drive, housing the Protectives.
Today the Brockport Fire Department covers 92 square miles including the Village of Brockport, Town of Sweden and Town of Clarkson. Equipment runs out of four houses. Station One (fire headquarters on Market Street), Station Two (Lake Road North, Town of Clarkson), Station Three (West Avenue) and Station Four (S. Main Street). Station Two was the first house in the department to be constructed outside the village limits and was dedicated in 2000. The first Ladies Auxiliary organized January 5, 1922, Fire Police Squad organized in 1954 and Firematic Explorer Post 623 organized September 1973 have added greatly to our fire community. Without their expertise in their individual fields, our fire department could not run as smoothly as it does. We applaud all the men and women who give so freely of their time and for their families who share them with us.
C.D.Dewey Hook and Ladder Company
The C.D. Dewey Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 was the last of the original fire companies at the reorganization in 1877; the remaining three companies no longer exist. The "Hooks," as they are fondly referred to, operate the 1990 Emergency One 110 foot Ariel ladder and they too are housed at Headquarters, Station 1. They were named after Charles D. Dewey, a local business man who was instrumental in organizing this company.
Silsby Hose Company
The Horace Silsby Hose Company No. 1 was organized in 1877, also one of the original companies, named after Horace Silsby, The manufacturer of the first steamer purchased after the reorganization and the manufacturer of the hose cart first operated by the company. Both the hose cart and the Silsby Steamer are still owned by the Brockport Fire Department. The Silsby Hose company currently is responsible for the 1999 R.D. Murray pumper and the 1971 Hahn Pumper, both housed at headquarters, Station 1.
Harrison Hose Company
The Harrison Hose Company No. 2 was organized in 1882 and named after Mr. Edward F. Harrison, a local business man, who also held Village offices. The Harrison's operate the 2004 Pierce Saber Pumper with 1000 gallons of water and a 1250 Pump.1983 American LaFrance pumper which is the first truck housed at the new Station 2 on Lake Road in the Town of Clarkson.
The Protective's #3, organized in 1877 and one of the original companies since re-organization, is housed at Station #3 located on West Ave opposite Lakeside Hospital. The Protective's operate a 1993 Pierce Saber pumper and the 1993 Marion Heavy Rescue truck.
Capen Hose Company
The Capen Hose Company No. 4 was formed by a group of men who wanted fire protection in the southern portion of the village of Brockport. A two wheeled hose cart was placed in Mr. Hebberd's barn at the corner of South Main St. and Fair St. In January of 1893 the Company was officially accepted into the Fire Department when the village disbanded the the Thomas Cornes Engine and Hose Company No. 3. A Hose House was erected that year on South Main St. at the railroad trestle. In 1905 the company occupied the present Hose House in the triangle at South Main St. and Park Ave. In 1911 the front two story was added. In 1951 a two bay truck room was added on the north end of the building and in 1969 a work bay was added on the back of the present engine room. Today the Company occupies the oldest active fire station (that was actually constructed as a Fire Station) in Rochester and Monroe County. It also houses the only Fire Museum in the Rochester area.