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East Jewett
Fire Department

Transcribed by Sharon Palmateer from the Greene County Volunteer Firemen’s Association 1889-1989 One-Hundred Years of Fire Service History

The East Jewett Fire Department, Inc. originated from a meeting of fourteen civic-minded citizens who gathered on the 14th day of August 1957 to discuss the fire protection problem in East Jewett.  Up to this time fire calls in the Town of Jewett were answered by departments from the neighboring communities of Tannersville, Hensonville, Windham, Hunter and Lexington.  The group first considered contracting with fire departments from these neighboring communities for fire protection, but later decided to form a membership corporation, purchase fire-fighting equipment, and establish a department located within the community.  

The men who attended that first meeting and who were responsible for the formation of the department were Milo Claude Moseman, Harley Warfield, Paul Ruoff, Raymond Holdridge, Jerome Danza, Robert Rappert, Charles Testut, Robert Colgate, Clarence T. O’Bryan, James West, Sr., Irving Benjamin, Donald Legg, Merrill Robinson and George Loucks. 

The temporary board of directors appointed by this group signed a Certificate of Incorporation on the 22nd day of August 1957.  On the 24th day of January 1958, the town board of the Town of Jewett granted consent and approval of the membership corporation to be known as the East Jewett Fire Department, Inc..

On the 12th day of May, 1958, a Certificate of Incorporation was filed with the Department of State, State of New York, and a charter was issued.

The first apparatus obtained by the department was a 1948 REO pumper purchased on November 14, 1959, through Bob Darling from Barbatta Auto Sales of Colonie, NY.

From this time, until the Jewett Town Board organized a Town-wide fire district and two fire Protection Districts, East Jewett was responsible for all calls in the entire Town.  In 1960, East Jewett became Protection District #1 and Jewett, with the newly organized department there, became Protection District #2.  State Rte. 296 is the geographic division between the two protection districts.

Our one and only truck from 1959 until we purchased a 1000 gallon tanker in 1965 was housed in the former Edson General Store building, which was donated to the department by Pauline Edson in 1960.

In 1962, four ladies of the community joined the department, learned to drive and operate the pumper, completed training courses in “Radio Procedure” and “Essentials of Firemanship” and became, what we believe to be, “Greene County’s first lady fire-fighters”.  These four ladies are still with us; two of the four on our active roster.

In 1966, Margaret O’Bryan donated a building lot on Rte 23C, where we erected our present fire house during 1967-68.  Our original building was later razed and the lot cleared.

Over the years we have acquired various pieces of apparatus and equipment as needs dictated and finances allowed.

1973 brought on the need for a Rescue Squad and Ambulance Service, dictated by the same circumstances that had prompted the Fire department’s organization a few years earlier; the realization that we should no longer depend on our neighboring communities for these services which we ourselves could and should perform.  Thus, the East Jewett Rescue Squad was formed and our first medical emergency vehicle purchased.

In 1981, we finally realized our dream of 23 years – our first new truck – an American LaFrance pumper was put into service.

On the occasion of our 25th Anniversary in May of 1983, a bronze plaque was placed at the entrance of our firehouse in honor of and dedicated to the founders of the department.

In 1987, another new truck.  This time a tanker which we designed ourselves and mounted on a Ford Chassis.

All in all, we’ve made quite a lot of history in 31 short years.  Five of our founders and twelve of our Charter Members are still with us.  Presently we have fifty-one members; ten of this number are ladies, two are Junior Members.

Past Department Chiefs:  Hillis Edson, Joseph Meehan, George Loucks, Irving Benjamin, Merrill Robinson, Gerry Woodworth, Lewis Beers, Robert Young, Francis Benjamin, Gerry Loucks, Jeff Loucks (present)

We have developed an outstanding Rescue Squad with a membership consisting of nine EMT’s, one Paramedic, three Drivers, four American Heart Association CPR Instructors, one Instructor/Trainer, one Certified Scuba Rescue Diver and one ENCON Hazardous Materials Officer.

Since 1984 our Squad has been State Certified, being only the second volunteer unit in Greene County to attain this distinction.  State Certification enables our members, who are especially trained in Mast, to provide this life sustaining service to all other Rescue units in the mountain top area in mutual aid situations.

Past Rescue Squad Captains:  Gerry Loucks, Dorothy Robinson, Donald Muth, Gene Beers, Francis Benjamin, Richard Brooks, Andrew Schauffert, Carol Miles (Pro-tem), Cindy Loucks (present)

Apparatus and Equipment in service at this time are E-9-1: 1948 REO Pumper, 500 gpm pump, 300 gallon tank; TA-9-2: 1987 For F-700 Tanker, 1400 gallon tank, 300 gpm Darley pump; ETA-9-3: 1980 Ford F-700 American LaFrance 1000 gpm pump, 750 gallon tank and R-9-9: 1979 Ford Modular Ambulance.  E-9-1 is our first truck and is still going strong.  Both the tank and pump have been rebuilt.  Although it is no longer our “first-out” vehicle, it is used as a back-up pumper, in relay situations and to fill tankers.  Being a smaller and lighter vehicle, it is a real asset in off-road situations which would not be readily accessible to our newer vehicles.  The body of TA-9-2 was designed by our members and built by Amthor.  This is our “first-out” vehicle.  With its two 1½” pre-connects and two 2 1/2” discharges, it has tremendous early attack capabilities.  When the pumpers arrive on the scene it becomes our transport tanker; supplying a 1500 gallon dump tank through a 10” square rear dump.  Our turnout gear, air packs and all other “early-need” equipment is carried on this truck.  ETA-9-3 is our “second out” vehicle; well equipped and capable in any given situation.  R-9-9 is our “Rescue Squad” Unit; fully equipped for rescue and ambulance service and manned by our very competent crew. 

Out near future plans include replacing the 1979 Ambulance and an addition to the firehouse.

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