Fire Company History

History of the East Schodack Fire Company, Inc.

              Researched and written in 2010: by Gary VanValkenburgh Company Historian

In 1927 with the steady growth of new homes in theEast Schodack community, a concerned group of citizens started to discuss the idea of organized fire protection.

On March 10th, 1930 a group of these citizens met to discuss some form of organized fire protection for the community. By the end of this meeting the East Schodack Volunteer Firemen was founded, with Frank Merry as President and William Proper as Chief. Of the citizens attending this meeting 14 declared there interest in joining the organization.

The first pieces of apparatus were a 1916 American LaFranceand an early 1900’s hand drawn chemical cart. Prior to the building of a firehouse, they were stored in a barn owned by Chief Proper on County Route 7 (currently the Buckbee House) and also for a time in the rear of the Recreation Club onEast Hill Roadin the Village. With only a couple of cars available to members to tow the hand cart to fires, members would sometimes have to pull the cart by hand to the scene of the fire.


On October 27th, 1930 citizens would form the East Schodack Fire District #1. They elected Commissioners John Hunter, Ira Payne, Frank Merry, Merton Garrison and Edward Morey. Earl Hicks was appointed Secretary/Treasurer.

Their first order of business was a referendum for $5,000 dollars to purchase land and build a firehouse. They also needed to purchase much needed equipment for the fire company. Land on Route 150 (at the intersection of County Route 7 next to the Auer farm) was donated by the Hicks family. The construction of a firehouse started almost immediately by members of the company. The firehouse would have two bays and a unique cistern below the floor which holds approximately 10,000 gallons of water.  This cistern provided water for fire protection in the center of the village. The fire house was completed in October of 1931 and served as the home of the Fire Company for 45 years.

On February 9, 1931 the first alarm of the East Schodack Volunteer Firemen was at the residence of Samuel Samoritz. The fire started from a defective flue. It burned through the roof, and when the apparatus arrived, was beginning to climb the side of the building. With fast work the fireman extinguished the blaze. One charge of chemical was used.

In November of 1934 the East Schodack Volunteer Firemen would sponsor a community band which would be known as the East Schodack Volunteer Fire Company Band. The band would accompany them at parades and participate in local band concerts, all while raising funds for the company. The band lasted 12 years and disbanded in 1946

On January 23rd, 1935 the Fire Company held its first Installation Banquet at the Recreation Club in the Village. 180 people attended and were served a roast beef dinner, which cost $1.00 per person. It would not be until the late 50s that an annual Installation Banquet would be held each year to formally install the officers.

During the 1940s and up through the mid 60s the firemen would hold Company clam steams, picnics and dinners for the members. These outings were always stag, and were held at Lucey’s Grove, Red Oaks, or at the Al Carhart residence. Some years they would hold three or more outings in one year. From the late 60s to today an annual picnic has been held for members and is no longer a stag event, but a gathering of all members and their families.


During the early 40s several company members would be called on to serve their Country in WWII. The members not serving would become very active in blood donor groups and civil defense, where they would practice black out drills at the firehouse and in the community. In 1943 the fire company and Men’s Club ofEast Schodackerected a wooden monument in the shape of an open book, which displayed the names of service men in the armed forces who resided in the fire district. It was placed in front of the firehouse for several years. It whereabouts today is not known, but a committee has started to recreate this monument at the current firehouse.


In 1939 a telephone was installed in Chief Proper’s house to receive fire calls. Soon after, a siren was installed atop the firehouse which was wired to a button at the firehouse and Chief Propers home. In the mid 50s two additional phones and buttons were installed; one in the assistant Chiefs house and one in the General Store. When a call was received whoever answered the call would stay on the phone after the caller hung up to relay the information to the firehouse and blow the siren, when someone at the firehouse picked up the phone, they would then write the location of the call on the notebook next to the phone so other fireman arriving after the trucks had responded would know were the call was. This system would stay in place up through the early 70s when a private telephone answering company inEast Greenbushwas hired to answer and dispatch the calls. In the years following, our phone was moved to theRensselaerCountyCommunicationCenterinTroyand we were dispatched directly from there. In the 90s the county would implement the 911 system, bringing us where we are today.

In July of 1942 a referendum was passed to purchase a fire truck and other needed equipment. In November 1942 a used 1940 Chevrolet truck was purchased along with a front mount pump; the truck would be assembled and painted locally. In April 1943 the truck was placed in service. Over the years this truck affectionately became known as “Bertha” and was in active service until 1982 when it was sold.


In May of 1949 the company became Incorporated, and the name changed to the East Schodack Fire Company, Inc.

In November of 1952 a referendum for $2,800 dollars was passed to purchase a tanker truck and equipment needed to outfit it. A used 1942 Mack Oil truck with an 1140 gal tank was purchased from Carpinello Oil inRensselaer. A pump and needed firefighting equipment was purchased from the W.S.Darley Fire Equipment Co. The truck was sent to the Maxam Motor Company in Middleboro,Massachusettsfor assembly; the total cost was approximately $2,500 dollars. This truck was taken out of service in the 1961 and sold for $1500. Dollars.

William Proper

In 1959 the Fire Company solicited local women to form an auxiliary for the company. Their purpose was to aid the fire company members in fund raising activities, and provide firefighters with refreshments at fire calls. This organization would be formed under the incorporation of the fire company. The group would elect its own officers and members. The president and board of directors of the East Schodack Fire Company, Inc., would ultimately be in charge of this group.

On November 30th, 1959 a group of interested women, along with members of the East Schodack Fire Company and members of the East Greenbush Fire Company Auxiliary would meet for the reason of forming a ladies auxiliary for the East Schodack Fire Company. After much discussion it was decided an auxiliary would be formed and be know as the East Schodack Fire Company Auxiliary. It voted that Gerry Sunderland be the acting president and that Lorraine Kaufman be the acting secretary. President Sunderland appointed May Senrick, Pat Martin, and Shirley Aurand to the nominating committee and to present a slate of officers for 1960. The following were elected: Gerry Sunderland, President; Lillian Willis, Vice President; Margaret Trossbach, Treasurer; Lorraine Kaufman, Secretary; and Lisette Auer, Historian. Of the local women who attended this meeting 23 became Charter members. This group of women quickly became a very active part of the fire company, providing firefighters with refreshments at fire calls and holding their famous annual auctions at the old firehouse and Recreation Club, as well as conducting other fund raisers. In later years they would host dinners in the fire hall and become best known for their Chicken and Biscuit dinners. The money raised over the years was used to purchase both fire fighting and first aid equipment for the company. The Auxiliary was disbanded in 2010.

Rosie O’Neill

In 1960 a referendum was passed to purchase a new fire truck for $15,000 dollars to replace the 1942 Mack. The truck a 1960 Ford held 1000 gallons of water and had a 750 gpm pump TA-4 was placed in service in 1961, refurbished in 1977 and was retired and sold in 1986.

In 1969 Chief Leonard Peter realized the need for members to respond to day time calls. He approached the fire company members and the fire commissioners with the idea of recruiting women into the company. The chief got the go ahead from both the members and commissioners and put out a letter to the women in the fire district to see what they thought. It was within a short period of time that 10 women showed there interest in joining the company as active members. These women trained alongside the men and assisted at calls during their six month probationary period. All these women would pass their probationary training and go on to become active members, ready to fill the ranks during the day when most of the men were outside the area at work. Women firefighters and inactive members have come to play a crucial role in the fire company today, holding several administrative positions (yes, we have a woman as president), as well as line officer positions (not Chief yet).


In 1974 the District started plans to purchase land and build a new firehouse. Land along side the existing firehouse owned by Thomas Auer was considered but after some consideration a parcel of land on Route 150 North of Burden Lake Road was purchased from Mr. V. Matulis.  Construction on the new firehouse was started and was completed in September of 1976; the cost was approximately $110,000. Dollars.

In 1970 the District purchased a 1970 Ford built by Pierce/Thibault Fire Apparatus Company. The truck E-90(12-1) was placed in service in 1971 and was retired and sold in 1991.

In 1979 Chief Michael Farley, along with other members of the company, saw a growing need to provide first aid assistance to our district residents prior to the arrival of the transporting ambulance. In some areas of our district it took up to 30 minutes from the time of call for an ambulance to arrive. After some discussion the East Schodack First Aid Squad was formed. They appointed Beverley Buckbee and Jean Schweigert as Lieutenants to organize the group and establish a set of standard operating guidelines (SOGs). At first, the members used there own vehicles to respond to all medical emergency calls. The company soon purchased a used 1979 Dodge mini pumper from theKingston,NYFire Dept., which was used to respond to these calls. Today the squad has a 2001 Marion First Response vehicle that can hold up to 5 members and is staffed with several EMTs. They are well respected in theEMScommunity for their quick response times and professionalism.


In 1981 the Newsletter was started by David Krebs. It would serve as a means of communication to all members between meetings and allow those who could not attend to keep up with the current affairs of the fire company. As you can see it started off being typed on Dave’s Underwood typewriter and would later give in to the computer age making the newsletter much easier to write and read. The newsletter would include the weather from Dave’s East Hill weather Observatory, the Chief’s Corner, Ladies Aux. news and a social section called the Local Scene. The Newsletter is still published today, although the editors have changed a few times over the years, Dave remains their mentor.

In 1981 a used 1957 International/Orian fire truck was purchased from the Mahopac, NY Fire Company. It was retired from service in 1994 and sold.

In 1983 the company acquired a 1967 Jeep from the National Guard. Fire company members refurbished this vehicle into a Brush Truck for use off the road where the larger trucks could not go. This truck was retired from service in the early 90s and sold to a fire company in Northern Vermontand still in service in 2010.


In 1985 the District purchased a 1985 Grumman fire truck. With the purchase of this truck the District Commissioners would start a 20 year truck replacement program, replacing a truck every five years.  This truck was retired from service in 2005 and sold.

In 1987 the District purchased 1979 Dodge/Pierce Mini Pumper from theKingston,NYFire Department to be used as an EMS First Response Vehicle. This truck was retired in 2001 and sold.

In the 90s the fire company acquired a used Zodiac inflatable boat from a local resident and equipped it with a used outboard motor. All the necessary safety and rescue equipment was purchased to allow this boat to serve the community. Later a new Zodiac boat and motor was purchased with grant money. This boat is still in service today and has been called on county wide to assist in water rescues.

Rescue Boat 12
responds to any water emergency or ice rescue
Unit carries water rescue equipment in warm weather and ice rescue equipment in cold weather.
2004 Mercury 12’6″ inflatable boat with a 25 horsepower outboard Mercury engine.

In 1990 the District purchased a 1990 International/Quality fire truck. This truck is due to be retired in 2011 at which time it will be sold to the Taborton, N.Y. Fire Company.

Engine 12-1
First Due Truck for all Structure Fires, Car Fires, and Wires Down.
1990 International/Quality
1000 GPM/1000 Gal Tank.
4 man cab
Carries 1200′ of 4″ hose
4 1 3/4″preconnected hand lines

In 1992 the company acquired a used 1985 4 wheel drive GMC pickup. Members would completely refurbish this truck for use at brush fires and traffic accidents; it also serves to tow the rescue Boat and ATV.

Utility 12 (U-12)
Responds to all grass fires, traffic accidents, it also tows the ATV and boat trailers.
1985 Chevrolet 1 1/4 ton Pickup (military surplus)
100 Gal slide in skid unit with 65 GPM pump
Carries 200′ of booster hose
200′ 1″ forestry hose
150′ 1 1/2 hose
Plus collapsible Indian tanks, broom, rakes, shovels, and a chain saw.

In 1994 the District purchased a 1994 International/Laverne fire truck.

Engine 12-7
Second Due to all Fires, Water Supply,
and goes to all Stand-Bys, and Mutual
Aid Fires.
1994 International/Laverne
1250GPM/ 1000 Gal tank
4 man cab
Carries 1200′ of 4″ hose
4 1 3/4″preconnected hand lines.
Also Carries 2100 gal Fold-A-Tank
400 GPM floating portable pump
500 GPM portable pumps.

In 2001 the district purchased a 2002 Ford/Marion First response Vehicle.

First Response 12- FR-12
Handles All EMS calls, traffic accidents, and rescues.
2002 Ford F-550/Marion
5 Man Cab
Carries all BLS EMS supplies.
Also equipped with a 10kw hydraulic generator
3,000 watt Command light tower.
Two-750 watt scene lights
Two-750 watt tripod lights.

In 2005 the Company received a grant to purchase an ATV. This vehicle allows firefighter andEMSpersonal easier access to off road emergencies. This vehicle has been called on county wide to assist in off road emergencies.

ATV 12

Responds to grass fires, searches or any call that requires off road response.
Unit is capable of carrying a stokes basket for off road rescues.
2005 Polaris Ranger 4×4

In 2007 the District purchased a 2006 American Lafrance Engine Rescue.

Engine Rescue-12(ER-12)
Third Due Truck for all structure fires,
also goes to all mutual fire, first due to all rescues and traffic accidents.
2006 American LaFrance Eagle SE
1500 GPM/1000 Gal tank
6 Man Cab
Carries 1200′ 4″ hose
Three preconnected 1 3/4″ hand lines
Two Holmatro power units, one electric (mounted) and one gas (portable).
Also a Holmatro spreader, cutter, combo tool, and two rams.
a 15kw Onan hydraulic generator
Wil-burt 6,000 watt night scan light tower.
1,000 watt brow light.
Two-750 watt scene lights.
Two-750watt tripod lights.

Fire Company Charter members;  Frank Merry, William Proper, James VanDoesen Sr., Cornelius Snook, Fred Hunter, Milford Gerlack, George Link, Lester Morey.

Fire Company Honorary Charter Members; Charles Poyneer, William Richards, Merton Garrison, Edward Morey, John Hunter Sr., Benjamin Allen Sr..

President of the Fire Company:

Frank Merry                1930-1933

Fred Hunter                1933-1935

Robert Hunter Sr.       1935-1942

Erwin Babcock           1942-1944

John Willis                  1944-1946

Adolph Petsch                        1946-1947

Maurice Steinberg       1947-1948

StanleyKrebs              1948-1950

Earl Donnelly              1950-1951

Melvin Cook               1951-1951(June)

Raymond Moore         1951(June)-1958

Charles Senrick           1958-1959

Leonard Peter             1959-1960

Warren Alexander       1960-1961

Russell Beal                1961-1969

Robert Freeman          1969-1972

Robert Martin             1972-1975

Robert VanBlarcom    1975-1977

David Morris               1977-1978

Vincent Cardella         1978-1980

David Krebs                1980-1982

Charles Buckbee         1982-1983

Robert Granfors          1983-1986

Andrew Nolan                        1986-1987

Robert Granfors          1987-1988

Jan Peterson                1988-1995

Michael Buckbee        1995-1999

Robert Granfors          2000-2001

Shawn Masters            2001-2009

Allison Signor             2009-current


Chief of Fire Company;

William Proper            1930-1947

Arthur Krebs               1947-1960

Albert Aurand             1960-1968

Leonard Peter             1968-1975(April)

Vincent Cardella         1975(April)-1975

Douglas Farley            1975-1979

Michael Farley            1979-1982

John Schweigert          1983-1988

Kevin Ostrander         1989-1990

John Schweigert          1991-1998

Frank Curtis                1999-2004

Steven Schweigert      2005-current

 Fire District Commissioners;

*John Hunter              1930-1951

Ira Payne                     1930-1933

Frank Merry                1930-1937

*Merton Garrison        1930-1948

Edward Morey            1930-1931

James VanDoesen Sr. 1932-1940

Ervin Babcock                        1934-1957

William Proper            1938-1940

*Clifford Farley          1941-1965

Edward Henning        1943-1944

William Proper            1944-1963

Arthur Krebs               1949-1963

*Albert Carhart           1952-1960

*Charles Senrick         1958-1976

Harvey Manclow        1960-1961

Raymond Moore         1962-1971

William Masters          1963-1967

Albert Carhart             1964-1970

William Saganich        1965-1972

*Michael Farley          1972-1975

Russell Beal                1972-1972

Joseph Phibbs              1973-1976

Robert Freeman          1973-1983

William Saganich        1975-1976

*John Lamboy                        1976-current

Leonard Peter             1976-1983

Vincent Cardella         1977-1996

Michael Farley            1983-1991

David Bushey             1984-1984

Henry Skarzynski        1984-1992

Douglas Farley            1984-1995

*Michael Buckbee      1992-current

David Tremont            1993-1998

Gary VanValkenburgh 1996-current

Kevin Ostrander         1997-current

John Schweigert          1999-2010

Shawn Masters            2010-current


Fire Company Auxiliary Charter Members; Lizette Auer, Mabel Link, May Senrick, Beverly Farley, Jean Bardin, Margaret Trossbach, Jane Staiger, Flora Noreen, Mae Hertzman,  Claire Treat, Gerry Sunderland, Ruth Krebs, Shirley Aurand, Pat Martin, Mary Perra, Lillian Willis, Joan Rate, Zaida Sumer, Ester Krebs, Emma Ackroyd, Marion Cardella, Lorraine Kaufman.

First Women Firefighters October 20, 1969;

Beverly Farley

Beverly Masters

Beverly Buckbee

Barbara Martin

Barbara Aptt

Barbara Valle

Barbara VanBlarcom

Patricia Martin

Rose Nusbaum

Marge Secor

May Senrick

First Aid Squad Charter Members 1979:

Beverly Buckbee

Jean Schweigert

Lois Trossbach

Robert Trossbach

Dorothy Morris

David Morris

Rose O’Neill

Arthur O’Neill

Henry Skarzynski


Gary VanValkenburgh

Gene VanValkenburgh II

Douglas Farley

Michael Farley

Nancy Edwards

Lou Cardella

David Krebs

Kelly Krebs

Richard Probst

Lewis Flint

Curtis Field

Kevin Ostrander

Mark Secor

David Tremont

Firefighter of the Year award;

1980          Gary VanValkenburgh

1980                    Jean Schweigert

1981                    Douglas Farley

1982                    David Bushey

1983                    Jean Schweigert

1985          Michael Buckbee

1992                    Michael Farley

1994          Gary VanValkenburgh

1995          Jean Schweigert

1996          John Schweigert

1997          David Krebs

1998          Michael Buckbee

2000          Frank Reed

2001          Jean Schweigert

2001          Steven Scheigert

2002          Frank Curtis

2004          Jeffery Wright

2007          Frank Reed

2008          Allison Signor

Active Members 1930-1960;

Frank Merry                            3/24/30

James VanDousen                   3/24/30

Cornelius Snook                      3/24/30

Fred Hunter                            3/24/30            First meeting Charter Members

Harry Hertzman                      3/24/30

MilfordGerlash                      3/24/30

George Link                            3/24/30

Lester Morey                           3/24/30


ClevelandAckroyd                 4/14/30

Walter Snook Sr                      4/14/30

Spencer Schell                         5/12/30

Semion Sambur                       5/12/30

George Bink                            5/12/30

Charles Hamelin                      9/8/30

Dorr Crouse                            1/12/31

Grover New                            1/12/31

William Ashley                       2/9/31

Morris Hertzman                     2/9/31

William Hertzman                   3/9/31

Roy Bedell                              3/9/31

Abraham Herman                    3/9/31

Joseph Hertzman                     4/13/31

Albert Magnan                        4/13/31

Victor Reingold                      4/13/31

George DeMeur                      7/13/31

Evin Babcock                          11/9/31

Otto Schultz                            3/14/32

Robert Hunter Sr                    4/11/32

Willis White Sr.                       3/13/33

Leon Asmus                            5/8/33

Harris Howard                                    5/14/34

Arthur Krebs                           12/10/34

Earl Hicks                               12/10/34

Clifford Farley                        12/10/34

Joseph Weisner                       9/14/36

Howard Jordan                       10/12/36

Thomas Auer                           11/9/36

Harold Hodgkins                    12/14/36

Charles Legal                          3/8/37

Ernest Perry                            5/10/37

Louis Grant                             1/10/38

Charles Witthoft Sr                 1/10/38

Milton Sambur                        2/8/39

David Flax                              8/10/39

Hyman Rosenblum                 9/10/39

Adolph Petsch                                    7/1/40

Joseph Trossbach                    7/1/40

Leonard Schell                        10/1/40

Lloyd Schell                            10/1/40

Solomon Eichenbaum             1/1/41

Hyman Zinsher                       4/1/41

John Willis                              7/1/41

Clarence Kimmey                   11/10/41

Maurice Steinberg                   1/12/42

Arthur Percey                          4/13/42

Henry Hermann                      6/8/42

George Cederberg                   9/14/42

Kenneth Lindeman                 3/8/43

Benjaman Crandall                 5/10/43

Nicholas Tremont                    7/13/43

Earl Donnelly                          3/13/43

John Rate                                6/12/44

John Daniels                            10/9/44

Robert Legal                           4/9/45

Edward Knauf                                    5/14/45

Walter Houck                          8/13/45

Walter Core                             9/10/45

Meader Pattington                  10/8/45

Alfred Clow Sr                       11/12/45

Frank Parsons                          2/11/46

Richard Gisch                         3/7/46

Willis White Jr                        3/7/46

StanleyKrebs                          5/13/46

Alex Carman                           5/13/46

Harvey Hollis                          5/13/46

Richard Legal                         6/10/46

Robert Rate                             8/12/46

John Chester Sr                       9/6/46

Alfred Clow Jr                                    10/14/46

John Reehl                              7/14/47

Regis Percey                           6/9/47

Albert Pechenik                      6/9/47

William Ceely                         9/8/47

Melvin Cook                           9/8/47

Samuel Romancheck               1/12/48

Joseph Phibbs                          1/12/48

Charles Remkus                      10/11/48

Theodore Jentsch                    11/8/48

G.Howard Goold                    8/8/49

Alton Marshall                        8/8/49

Walter Snook Jr                      11/14/49

George Ovsanikow                 12/11/49

Edwin Waterhouse                 12/11/49

Albert  Carhart                                    12/11/49

Raymond Moore                     2/13/50

George Thorpe                        9/11/50

Clarence Harding                    9/11/50

Daniel Self                              2/12/51

Arthur Baron                           3/12/51

Henry VanWie                        9/10/51

Thomas Alexander                  9/10/51

Emory Towson                        9/10/51

Samuel            Caplan                        1/14/52

William Boegly                       1/14/52

LawrenceOvsanikow             5/12/52

Jay Chaplan                             5/12/52

Samuel Katz                            6/9/52

Morris Kass                             6/9/52

Russell Beal                            6/9/52

Kenneth Golding                    8/11/52

Mauritz Johnson                      9/8/52

James Jordan                           10/11/52

Charles Senrick                       8/9/54

Warren Bashford                    10/11/54

Martin Candlish Sr                  10/11/54

Douglas Farley                        3/14/55

LawrenceSchell                      4/14/55

Joseph Protko                          4/14/55

Robert Hunter Jr                     6/13/55

Howard Honn                         7/11/55

Robert Trossbach                    7/11/55

Merton Jones                           7/11/55

John Peck                                9/12/55

Henry Blumenauer                  11/14/55

Paul Percey                             11/14/55

Robert Sumner                        4/9/56

Irene Lovoie                            8/13/56

Robert Clow                           9/10/56

William Honn                          9/1056

John Chester Jr                        9/1056

Kenneth Denton                     11/12/56

StanleyLegg                           12/10/56

Joseph Weller                          1/14/57

William Barrett                       6/10/57

Joseph Weller                          8/12/57

David Phibbs                          8/12/57

Warren Alexander                   10/14/57

Robert Witlock                       12/9/57

Albert Aurand                         12/9/57

Leonard Peter                         3/10/58

Paul Perra                                3/10/58

Charles Sunderland                 3/10/58

H.J.Manclow                           5/12/58

George Wolfe                         8/11/58

Robert Martin                         11/10/58

Walter Staiger Sr                     3/9/59

Richard Kaufman                   9/14/59

Edward Scheibly                    10/12/59

William Masters                      2/8/60

Robert Wygant                       10/10/60

Robert Secoe                           10/10/60

Harold Keefe                          10/10/60

Randall Diegel Jr                    10/10/60

Anthony Lozano                     11/14/60



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