History

History of Company #5

In the late 1940’s, the south end of the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire District was changing rapidly. The area that was largely potato farms was now becoming communities such as Lakeville Estates. (There are still concrete walls on Evans St. and Sylvia Lane which bordered a few of the old farms.) As the neighborhoods popped up, so did the need for increased fire protection.

Company 5 was formed as a separate unit in 1946 and was accepted into Manhasset-Lakeville in 1947, operating from the Lakeville Road Pump Station. The following year, the tiny firehouse was moved on a flatbed truck to 78th and Stewart Avenues. In 1957, the present quarters was built on the same site. The building had the distinction of being the first split-level firehouse in the U.S. It was written up in the Journal of Architecture, winning several awards.

Engine 50 was the first piece of equipment purchased for Company 5 and now serves as the Department’s Antique Rig (Antique Engine 8750). A second apparatus, a City Service Hook and Ladder, was added in 1950. Over the years there were various engines with some differences. For example Engine 55 carried 750 gallons of water. But the increased volume of operations on the highways called for a new style of both apparatus and equipment.

Company 5 faced the challenge of handling those calls in addition to operating as a normal engine company. Hurst Tools (Company 5 received the first in the department in 1976) and the latest equipment for foam operations became as important as halligans and ladders. With member safety being paramount, a new style apparatus became vital as well. Company 5 now runs with Engine 8756 which is a 1996 KME. It is a 1500 GPM enclosed pump panel pumper. Engine 8758 is also a KME 1500 GPM top-mount pumper. Squad 8759 is a 2011 Smeal Rescue/Pumper with a 1250 GPM pump. All three are designed for maximum protection of the driver and the crew.

Many members have served with distinction over the years. Charles Skakandi and Ex-Chief Walter Salowski are 50+year members. Ex-President Martin Landweber was Department Sergeant-at-Arms and Secretary simultaneously. Lou Scida was one of only four members of the department to serve as both Chief and President. As with most fire companies, the family thread runs deeply. Ex-Chief Salowski’s son Walter, a former member, is an Ex-Captain, as are Ronald Stone and his son Brian. Ex-Chief Michael Uttaro is the grandson of charter member Joseph Coote. Michael and Eamon Ward are active members and their brother Brian is a former member. Chief Michael Farrone’s daughter Carly is also a member.

Company 5 has served the community proudly for over sixty-five years. We will continue to do so to honor the commitment of those who came before us and will instill that pride in our future members.

 

History of Company #4

When the M-LFD was formed in 1912, Section 4 was on New Hyde Park Road at the Northern State Parkway. The firehouse was a barn on the property of the Red Lion Inn. A fellow by the name of George Washington once stayed there during the Revolutionary War.

Around 1919, Section 4 was disbanded and it wasn’t until 1926 that concerned citizens got together to discuss the issue. The farms were disappearing and private homes were springing up at a rapid rate. It was felt that Section 3 on Prospect Street in Thomaston was too far away to provide adequate protection, so Company 4 was commissioned.

The newly formed unit acquired a Model T Ford truck from the Douglaston Fire Company. The brakes were an issue for Lizzie, as she was known, and as the members of the day reported, “She would go like Sam Hill downhill, but going uphill we had to give her a push.” A civic-minded neighbor agreed to store Lizzie in his barn, not realizing that he and his wife would be responsible for opening the barn, sounding the alarm and alerting responding members as to the location of the fire.

In 1927, a new Maxim Hook & Ladder was put in service. It was stored in a shed on the south side of Northern Boulevard, opposite the nearly completed new quarters. When the NYS Highway Department rebuilt Northern Blvd., there was a gully so deep that a brook came down the Boulevard even in dry seasons; in rainy weather it became a torrential river. As firefighters will do, they developed Plan B. They simply turned the rigs around and responded onto Genevieve Place.

In 1937, the present firehouse was completed. Many changes have been made including the 2003 addition of a third apparatus bay, an office on the top floor, increased parking and a gym. Much of the work went a long way toward alleviating the chronic flooding conditions due to the fact that the firehouse is at the bottom of a very long hill.

Company 4 currently responds with a 2006 KME 1500 GPM pumper (8740), a 93’ 1999 LTI Tower Ladder (8744) and a 105’ 2008 Smeal Aerial Ladder (8743). We respond to over 500 calls per year and have 59 active members. We are proud of our reputation: You need us – we’re there. We will get the job done.

We have a long family history in this Department; many names are repeated throughout the years. When you look down our roster you will see Boesch (John Sr. is a 50+year member) Brengel, Dolan, Gould (Frank was a Chief and Commissioner, Tim is an Ex-Captain and District Superintendant), Kopel, McNichol, Rabinowitz, Shaffer (Dean is a 55+year member) and Stepanek (Tom is the 1st Lieutenant of Company 4).

We have always taken pride in the fact that when called to duty we’re ready to go to work. When the horn blows, Company 4 responds and gets the job done.

 

History of the Ambulance Unit

In 1929, the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department took ownership of its first ambulance. It was a Dodge, donated by Mr. John Rivers, and was housed at Company 2. In 1933, a new Ford was purchased with money raised from, among other things, a dance held at the Garden City Hotel. In those days, District funds could only be used for fire apparatus. In 1940, the first Cadillac ambulance was purchased. It is estimated that in the 30 years Company 2 ran the ambulance, they responded to over 5,000 medical calls. In 1959, the ambulance began responding out of Company 1.

As the community grew, call volume naturally increased. This led to more and more members responding to both ambulance and fire calls and eventually the workload became too great. In 1988, the M-LFD Ambulance Unit was created. Their first line officers were President Barbara Hicks, Secretary Steve Gerardi, Lt. Frank McCarton and Sergeant Patrick Hicks. In 1997, the officer’s titles were changed to Captain and 1st and 2nd Lieutenant to conform to the fire companies.

The Unit started with 22 members and one ambulance that the Department already owned. The first new ambulance arrived in 1990. In 1991, a second ambulance was purchased from the Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company. This 1988 Horton remained in service until its replacement in 1998 with an ALS ambulance.

Today, in addition to medical duties, the Unit responds to all working fires and rescue calls. They also receive calls through the 911 system and their own emergency hotline. The current ambulances, 8768 and 8767, are both on a Ford E-450 Super Duty chassis, a long way from the old Cadillac station wagons. Both are BLS/ALS equipped and carry the most current medical equipment available. They are supplemented by a Ford Expedition “EMS Fly-Car” (8799) which is used to improve response time and provide additional equipment and manpower.

The members of the Ambulance Unit are certified as New York State Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's) or Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT-CC's) who are capable of performing skills such as intravenous access and medication administration, endotracheal intubation and manual defibrillation.  The Ambulance Unit is currently stationed at Company 3 in Great Neck.

 

History of Company #3

When growth in the community dictated expansion of the Fire Department, the Hill and Valley FD was disbanded and the M-LFD was born. It was decided to put a firehouse on Prospect St. in the Village of Thomaston, so Company Three was established and is still located there today. The original quarters was a simple corrugated tin shed which housed a hand-drawn reel with 500 feet of hose. A new firehouse, constructed in 1929, was remodeled and enlarged in 1955. In 1988, the present quarters was built on the same site. Despite the modern look, a tribute to the past adorns the front of quarters. Back in 1912, a large iron ring outside a blacksmith shop on Northern Blvd. was struck with a hammer to alert members to respond. That ring is proudly displayed at Company 3.

The first apparatus in Company 3 was a Ford purchased from the Douglaston Fire Company in 1917. A truck with flood lights was bought in 1933. The first rescue rig came in 1957. Today’s fleet is state of the art. 8730, the Heavy Rescue rig, is a 1993 Pierce and is the workhorse of the Department’s Rescue Operations. 8735 is a 2000 KME and 8733 is a 1989 Boardman; both are 1500 GPM pumpers. These apparatus get quite a workout; Co. 3 responds on a regular basis with every company except Co. 1 as well as going on mutual aid and FAST Unit responses.

At Company 3 we are proud of our service to the community and of our family traditions. Names such as Hicks, McCrindle, Comesky, Bernatovich, Fagan and Brown have been on the roster for generations. Ex-Chief Neil Hicks celebrated 50 years of membership in 2012. His brother Preston is an Ex-Captain and Preston Jr. is a former member as well. The Hicks family boasts over thirty members of the Department over the last century.

Company 3 presently has nine active 25+year members. In addition, Rodolfo Barranco is a former Commissioner and Department President. Neil Hicks, Pat McGrath and Kyle Dugger are Ex-Chiefs; Konata Ragin previously served as Department Secretary and is presently serving as Department Sergeant-at-Arms, and Peter Bernatovich served as Department Assistant Treasurer. 

The members of Company 3 take pride in our heritage and service to the district. We will never fail to meet our responsibility to those we serve. We are proud of our progress and look forward to continued service to the community.

 

History of Company #2

In 1904, Company Two began serving the community as Section No. 2 of the Hill and Valley Fire Department. The equipment consisted of a hose reel and the coats, helmets and boots worn by the members. The fire house was a barn on Valley Rd. (Community Dr.) owned by Henry Schneider, the local blacksmith. When there was a fire, a large metal ring in front of Henry’s shop would be struck with a hammer to alert members to respond. By hand or horse, they would pull the hose reel and a hand pumper to the scene. In 1912, Hill and Valley gave way to the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department.

The first apparatus was an old Ford which was replaced in 1925 by an Acme Chassis mounted with a Foamite Generator. Over the years, as rigs were replaced, so were the firehouses. Co. 2 had various other quarters. After Valley Road, they moved to North Hempstead Tpke (1925) and then to Northern Blvd and Community Drive (1928). In 1972 Co. 2 moved into their present quarters on Community Dr. East on land donated by John Hay Whitney (an Honorary Chief).

Shortly after the opening of the new house, Co. 2 took delivery of a 125’ Ladder Truck made by Calavar, known as Truck 27. It was the first of its kind and the tallest in the state. In 1980 a new Tiller Ladder was purchased to replace the old Seagrave. It was a Kenworth Tractor with a 100’ L.T.I. Ladder. The current fleet consists of a 1992 Pierce 1500 GPM Top Mount Pumper (8725), a 1999 L.T.I. 93’ Tower Ladder (8724) and a 2003 Crimson 75’ Quint with a 1500 GPM pump (8728).

While the history of Company 2 is important, the most valued and storied aspect is, and always will be, the membership. Like all fire companies, we pass the torch to the next generation, but at Co. 2, we have been handing it from father to son, from uncle to nephew. Three generations of the Paradise family have produced three Chiefs, four Captains and a President, totaling more than 135 years of firefighting. There have been three generations of the Kushay family, including two 50-year members. Rich Kushay and Joe Bacik are our current 50+year members. There are many more family names that have been on the roster for most of the last century, such as: Chicosky, Kovalesky, Dutton, Bukovinsky, Wilhouski and Vasek. Not only have all had multiple members at Co. 2, but many of the wives and daughters were in the Ladies Auxiliary.

Perhaps our greatest point of pride is our senior member, who answered his last alarm in 2009. Joseph Koncick had an incredible 70-years of service and was still active right to the end at age 92. Until 2006, Joe still insisted on carrying the flag in the Memorial Day Parade. He was sharp as a tack right to the end; his recollections helped write the Centennial Journal for the Hill and Valley Fire Department in 2004.

The family legacies and countless other dedicated firefighters have unselfishly volunteered their time and energy for the last century, serving Manhasset-Lakeville one generation at a time. When that horn blows, we answer the call to help our neighbors and friends. This is what makes the Fire Department such an integral part of the fabric of the community.

 

History of Company #1

Manhasset was protected by the Hill and Valley Fire Department from 1904 to 1912, when the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department was formed.  The Hill and Valley units became Sections One and Two; the predecessors of Company designations. 

Company One is quartered at 35 Bayview Ave; its third location.  The original firehouse was on Plandome Road near Town Hall.  The second house was next door to the current firehouse in what is now the American Legion building.  We have been in our present quarters since 1951.

We’ve come a long way since members had to drag the “Man Killer”, a hand operated pumper, to the fire.  Water had to be drafted from a well or pond and the firefighters pumped the handles up and down to supply the hose lines.  Able-bodied onlookers were expected to take a turn as five minutes was considered an extremely long time to man the pumps. 

Due to the rural nature of the District, we had no need to switch to the steam engines which were popular from about 1880 to 1925.  Company One went directly from hand pumpers to gasoline power.  Many pumpers came and went over the years, but there was only one “Big Bertha”.  Old Engine 12 was the Secretariat of fire engines; a 1000 GPM pumper that could deliver water for a week straight without showing any sign of strain.  She was 10’6” from the steering wheel to the hood ornament.  A man 6’4” could stand at the front bumper and not be visible to the driver.  Bertha was delivered in 1940 and as far as we know, she’s still putting out fires in rural Pennsylvania today.

M-LFD Co. 1 now responds with two Class “A” pumpers.  Engine 8711 is a 2006 KME 1500GPM pumper and Engine 8712 is a 2013 Spartan ERV 1500 GPM pumper.  We also have our Special Operations rig: Rescue 8713, which is a 2001 American La France with a 250 GPM pump.  Rescue 8713 responds to all rescue calls.  With the equipment stored on the apparatus and the training level of the members, Rescue 8713 can handle elevator and water emergencies, confined space/high angle rescues and a myriad of other operations.  Rescue 8713 also responds as a F.A.S.T. unit to neighboring fire departments.

 
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