Frequently Asked Questions - History

FAQs - History

On January 22,1998 the Enfield Volunteer Fire Company Incorporated celebrated its 50th anniversary. Things have come a long way in the first 50 years, the company has grown from 1 piece of fire apparatus to a fleet of seven. The 2 bay fire station with a meeting hall on the second floor is now just a predecessor to the very spacious new facility which has 8 apparatus bays, wash bay, repair bay, meeting room, kitchen, conference room, communication room, office area, bathroom and shower facilities, decontamination room, locker and physical fitness room. The new station was built due to the very small overhead doors and ceilings in the old station which could not accommodate the newer and much bigger apparatus.

Personal protective clothing which used to be as simple as a raincoat, rubber boots and gloves along with a safari type helmet is now a very sophisticated set of clothing. Fire retardant fabrics, moisture barriers, and liner systems now make up just the simplest fire coat. Helmets must meet very stringent impact standards to withstand any falling debris. All equipment must now meet strict OSHA. requirements and Standard Operating Procedures are required.

Record keeping has gone from a simple diary type entry with a list of members who attended to computer data entries with hundreds of codes to determine all the who, where, how, and whys imaginable. Early entries show address listings to be as simple as just the Tucker farm, back then everybody knew everybody and two homes may be all that encompassed a mile square block. Now without a specific house number you probably would not have a clue to where to even begin.

Membership over the years has been maintained at a very adequate level though being a volunteer in Enfield at times is not easy. On top of the many hours spent on training, work details, fire and rescue calls the membership must continue to obtain funding to keep the Fire Company in operation. Justification to the Town Board and taxpayers of funds needed to operate the company is a continuing battle and consumes many hours. Many of the Fire Company Board of Directors have been on the Board for years while Town Board members change almost every four years. This inconsistency in Town Board members means that every four years its like starting all over as far as justifying funds. This can be very frustrating to say the least, many Town Board meetings became very vocal and sometimes personal. Even with this major hurdle, Fire Company officials have been able to maintain adequate funding over the years. Most of the money is spent on preventive maintenance and preparing for emergencies. The Fire Company does not have the luxury of coming back later if something breaks or your members are not trained for the situation. We must be prepared the best we can to handle any situation and keep things in operation.

Fire apparatus has changed drastically over the years. Pumpers with 150 horsepower engines, 500 gallon per minute pumps and 500 gallon water tanks have been replaced by 450 horsepower diesel engines, 2000 gallon per minute pumps and 3000 gallon water tanks. Much of the new fire apparatus is either totally or at least partially controlled by computer technology.

Enfield has not been exempt from major fires over the years. The most frequent location to experience a major fire, 196 S. Applegate Rd. has had 2 Garage fires, two minor house fires, one fire that destroyed the home and one small barn fire. This over a period of 50 years has leveled everything that once stood on the lot, most has been rebuilt. Or how about 344 Hines Rd. where in just a little over a year a house and two rental trailers were destroyed. Other locations have had multiple fires over the years, both the original house and barn owned by Donald Gunning at 68 Weatherby Rd. have been destroyed. The Hoffman Farm on Bostwick Rd. near Applegate Rd. has also lost both the house and barn to fire. This location along with fires at the Hoffman home located on Enfield Main Rd were part of a nationwide insurance fraud investigation involving Virginia Hoffman. She was never prosecuted for any involvement in the Enfield fires, although it was speculated she had something to do with the Bostwick Rd. fires.  But on March 2,1992 Virginia Hoffman Rearden was found guilty of 1st degree murder, conspiracy, insurance fraud, and forgery in the state of California. Her history and criminal record can be read in a book entitled “DEATH BENEFIT” by David Heilbroner.

Early records show that the Fire Company responded to mostly grass and barn fires, most of the barn fire causes were listed as lightning strikes. In the late 70's the return in popularity of wood burning stoves caused many chimney and house fires. Many problems could be contributed to the lack of proper education on wood burning stoves. During this period the emergency medical field became very popular with rural companies, many Fire Companies including Enfield started first response Rescue Squads.

So what lies ahead for the next 50 years? Well, there is a good chance that most of us will not be around to celebrate the 100th anniversary but more changes are sure to happen over the next 50 years. Equipment and apparatus are sure to continue to improve, this would be no surprise to anyone, but the big change we foresee is the staffing. Volunteers are becoming a dying breed, the time needed to become a volunteer fire-fighter and then maintain the training is more than most people want to give. Getting up in the middle of the night to respond to calls then go to your regular job, and then attend fire or rescue training in the evening is really pushing each individual. We believe you will first see paid fire officials maybe just to cover daytime calls and keep the paperwork in line, many Fire Companies are already doing this. This will be followed by either paid fire fighters or paid on call personnel. Emergency medical assistance will continue to increase as the population of the town increases. Fires will continue to be part of the job, but with the continuing emphasis on environmental issues hazardous material spills and containment will be on the increase.

Technology will test the budgets of many Fire Companies as advancements into the 21st Century will surely take us beyond your wildest dreams. Computer advancements will continue to play a part in new innovations.

Enfield Fire Company officials have always had the ability to look into the future, whether it be for the purchase of new equipment or just the needs of its volunteers. This type of planning should keep the Fire Company out in front as one of the most advanced Fire Companies in the County. Anything less would be an insult to its ancestors as the ground work laid in 1948 continues to play a part in present and future operations..

Budget for 2000 was $174,044.00

January 2000 the 1968 Jeep Brush truck was sold to Isabella Fire Department, Brownsville Township, Pennsylvania

January 2000 it was learned that the land we had leased for years at Route 79 and 327 had been willed to Yvonne Vandermark after the death of landowner Helena Schaber.

May 2000 A new Rescue/Pumper was ordered from American LaFrance, a subsidiary of Freightliner Trucks. R.D.Murrey Fire Apparatus in Hamburg, N.Y. will construct the apparatus body at a total cost of $425,000.00.

June 2000 Three grants were obtained, one for $9300.00 from Senator Kuhl’s office and $1000.00 from Tompkins County Trust Company for a 60kw stand by Station generator, and one for $8500.00 from Marty Luster’s office for turn out gear.

July 2000 it was decided to try a 12-month lottery calendar as a fundraiser.

September 2000 after a 10 year absence the siren was reactivated due to ongoing problems with the County’s radio and paging system.

September 2000 one of the 1990 FMC Pumpers was sold to the Mix District Volunteer Fire Co #7 in Connecticut to make room for the new Rescue/Pumper.

October 2000 the membership voted to look into the possibility of adding a banquet hall to the existing building.

October 2000 the Fire Company agreed to a 3 year contract with the Town.

December 2000 purchased a 2001 Ford F-350 pickup to replace the brush truck sold earlier this year.

Fire Protection contract for 2001 was $193,159.00

February 9,2001 Life member and 42 year veteran fire-fighter Dominic Seamon passed away.

February 2001 the Fire Company took delivery of a new 2000 American LaFrance Rescue/Pumper.

April 2001 took delivery of a 2001 Well Cargo 20 foot enclosed trailer for use as a special operations unit.

October 2001 the membership voted to go ahead with a $180,000.00 capital improvement project which includes a new 48 foot by 60 foot hall area, a 8 foot addition to the apparatus room, additional office space, upgrades to drainage and resurfacing the blacktop.

December 2001 an award established in memory of George A. Palmer  was given to fire-fighter Larry Lanning. Deceased members Jake Smithers, Greg Kirchgessner, and Dominic Seamon also will have their names placed on the plaque and memorial stone.

Fire Protection Contract for 2002 was $203,366.00

February 2002 the Board of Directors approved to trade the Kubota tractor in for a newer model with a front end loader.

April 2002 a motor vehicle accident in the early morning hours on Mecklenburg road near the intersection of Buck Hill rd. claimed the life of 2 people. One vehicle was engulfed in flames on the arrival of the Fire Company which claimed one life the other person died before extrication could be completed.

May 2002 finances were secured for the new addition from M&T Bank.

July 8 2002 Morton Buildings began construction on the new addition.

Mecklenburg Road has claimed the lives of 5 people since December 2001. All fatalities have occurred in a 4 mile stretch between Applegate and Buck Hill roads.

September 2002 a tractor trailer tanker loaded with 6000 gallons of heating oil rolls over on its side on Mecklenburg Road near Buck Hill Road. Their were no injuries and leakage was very limited however Mecklenburg Road was closed for 5 hours for clean up and to upright the trailer.

October 2002 the 1978 Ford Heavy Rescue was sold to the Milton Fire Department in West Virginia for $15,000.00

December 13 2002 a fire at 60 Woodard Road completely destroyed the home of Kevin Reilly. The entire home was engulfed in flames when the first trucks arrived at the late morning fire.

December 2002 The annual banquet and Christmas party were held in the new banquet hall. Dennis Hubbell was awarded the George A. Palmer Achievement of Excellence award at the banquet.

Fire protection contract for 2003 was $214,043.00

February 2003 Safe-Air completes installation of the new breathing air compressor. Funds were secured through a Federal Fire grant

March 2003 Fire company purchases new dress uniforms

July 2003 received matching grant from NYS Conservation Department for $1000.00 to purchase portable radios.

October 2003 Hot air balloon crash lands in some trees near the intersection of Hayts and Halseyville Roads. A crane truck was needed to lower the basket and its 4 occupants to the ground.

December 2003 Contract talks draw some public attention mostly due to fliers being distributed in town by unknown sources. All the information was false and distributed to cause anger within the town.

December 2003 Fire destroys Pat’s Auto Repair on N. VanDorns Rd. Garage was totally engulfed on arrival.

December 2003 Chief Greg Stevenson steps down after 5 years of service as Chief

Fire protection contract for 2004 was $222,604.00

February 2004 received our second Federal Fire Grant to replace and update all fitness equipment.

March 2004 Order placed with Motors Fleet in New Jersey for a 2004 F-250 Ford extended cab pickup to replace the current 1990 Chevrolet Suburban EMS vehicle.

April 2004 Deputy Chief Ray Hubbard resigns his position due to personal reasons. Past Chief George May appointed by the Board of Directors to fill the vacancy. Jim Whittaker was appointed to fill the vacant Board of Directors seat.
 
July 2004 received matching grant from NYS Conservation Department for $1000.00 for firefighting footware.

September 2004 Central air conditioning installed in the station by Sure-Temp Inc. out of Binghamton, NY.

December 2004 Charles Sheffield is awarded the "George A Palmer Achievement of Excellence" award at the annual banquet.

Fire Protection contract for 2005 $231,508.00

January 2005 New Ford F-250 EMS vehicle placed in service

January 2005 Old Chevrolet Suburban sold to Hester Covert for $2,2000.00

March 2005 Life member Gerald C. Hubbell passed away after a brief illness

March 2005 a rash of serious MVC within a two week period sends 11 people to the hospital. The first at the intersection of Mecklenburg and Podunk roads resulted in a total of 8 patients. One patient was flown out by Stat Med Evac. The second on Trumbulls Corners road between Porter Hill and Rumsey Hill roads ended with one female fatality and two patients sent to the hospital. The third occured on Enfield Main road just south of the Center two patients were flown out one by Stat Med Evac the other by Mercy Flight.

July 2005 Blacktopping project gets under way to resurface all aprons , parking areas and access driveway. Work to be completed by South Hill Construction from Burdett, NY at a cost of $54,000.00.

December 2005 Larry Stilwell is awarded the "George A Palmer Achievement of Excellence" award.

December 2005 Chief Greg Stilwell steps down as Chief after 2 years service.

Fire Protection contract for 2006 $240,769.00

January 2006 Fire involving several attached structures at 185 Hines Road are destroyed. Mutual aid from Newfield, Trumansburg, Mecklenburg, Odessa and Ithaca.

May 2006 A early morning fire totally destroyed a garage at 146 South Applegate Rd. Mutual aid from Trumansburg and Mecklenburg

June 2006 heavy rains in the State cause extreme flooding in Broome County. Portable pumps and manpower sent from our department to assist.

September 2006 Contract is signed with KME Fire Apparatus in Pennsylvania for a new 2006 International 3000 gallon Tanker with a 750GPM pump for a purchase price of $290,000.00

October 2006 Fire Company and Town Board are at odds again over proposed fire contract.

November 2006 Fire Company has to retain a specialized fire service attorney to work threw the contract negotiations. Mark Butler from Harris Beach LLA has been hired.

December 2006 Mobile home fire at 195 Hines Road destroys the structure despite a very quick response. 4 dogs were killed in the fire. Structure fire at 407 Hayts Road guts one room and causes smoke damage to the rest of the structure.

Contract negotiations are extended until January 31 2007 as attorneys for both sides work on the wording and await audit report.

January 2007 The Fire Company starts the year with no contact signed. The Town agree to extend the 2006 contract until February 29th if needed.

February 2007 Contract negotiations are going very slow mostly due to wording issues and attorney time constraints. 

March 2007 The town extends the contract for two weeks with no funding until the next official meeting of the Town Board.

March 2007 The Town Board proposes a $200,000.00 contract, $50,000.00 short of the $250,000.00 figure proposed by the Fire Company. The Fire Company counters with a level spending from 2006 of $240,769.00,Town Board refuses offer. Financially the Fire Company is in trouble and takes a stand, as does the Town essentially leaving the town without fire protection. Without fire protection Enfield School decides to bus all the kids to different schools in Ithaca. This sends the media wild including many television stations out of Syracuse. Channel 3 sends a crew to cover the Town Board meeting live. Over a hundred people show up to express their concerns and ask the Town and Fire Company to please work it out by midnight. Town Board and Fire Company go into executive session to negotiate. At 12:30 am after 4 hours of very intense discussions the Fire Company agrees to $230,000.00 with terms of the 2006 contract to say in place. The Town Board also agrees to start the process for the formation of a fire district.

June 2007 Sold the 1985 Ford/Saulsbury Tanker to the Windsor Volunteer Fire Co. Windsor , New York (Binghamton area) for $20,000.00

July 2007 New 2006 International/KME 3000 tanker delivered. Cost of the apparatus $288,000.00

August 2007 Fire Company and Town Board sit down with thier respective attorneys to try and begin contract negotiations. The meeting is very short and it is very apparent we will not come to terms soon.

September 2007 The Fire Company Board of Directors decide to wait until after town elections to begin contract negotiations in hopes of a more workable and understanding town board.

November 2007 Town election results reveal a completely new town board. The Fire Company is optimistic that this town board is capable of working out a 2008 fire contract.

December 2007 A fire at 1774 Mecklenburg Road results in heavy damage to the attic and second floor with water damage throughout. Fire appeared to have started in the attic near electric wiring. Mutual aid received from Trumansburg, Ithaca, Newfield and Mecklenburg.

January 2008 The Fire Company and Town Board agree on a contract extension for up to 2 months. Unfortunatly the Fire Company and current Town Board have to live with the previous Town Board's budget figure of $230,000.00 a zero increase from last year and a shortfall of $26,000.00 for 2008.

January 2008 a fire at H&H Auto, 644 Enfield Falls Road does extensive damage to the building. The fire started in a vehicle that was up on a lift being repaired The fire quickly spread the building. Mutual aid received from Trumansburg, Ithaca and Newfield.

July 2008 The Fire Company purchases a John Deere Gator from the fundraising mailer. The Gator will be used for off road calls. There was also a donation received from Triad Foundation for the purchase of a trailer to haul it on.

October 2008 garage fire at 2790 Mecklenburg Road completely destroys the structure.

October 2008 mobile home fire 39 Enfield Main Road. Occupants had to exit threw windows because the fire had blocked their exit. Fire was confined to one end of the mobile home, however the home will be a total loss.

November 2008 plans are in place to start the formation of a fire district.

December 2008 house fire 826 Bostwick Road. Fire was confined to the attic with water and smoke damage throughtout.

December 2008 garage fire 149 Sage Road. Garage was a total loss, however a mobile home next to the garage was saved.

December 2008 Town Board passes a resolution to form a Fire District by January 15, 2009.

January 2009 Budget is settled at $280,000.00

January 2009 Several town residents pass a petition to force the Fire District formation to a public referendum. The petition passers are the same group that created problems for the Fire Company for the last 3 years. Town Board agrees to forward the Fire Company $70,000.00 to start

March 2009 Town Board decides to put the Fire District formation on hold and proceed with a Fire Protection contract for 2009

July 2009 A early morning house fire at 626 Fish Road totally destroys the residence. Mutual aid requested from Mecklenburg, Trumansburg and Newfield Fire Company’s.

September 2009 The Fire Company and Town Board agree on a 5 year contract. This is the longest contract ever signed by the 2 parties. It is in hopes that this will put to rest some of the atomicity between some of the residents and the Fire Company.

November 2009 The Fire Company signs a contract with Pierce Fire Apparatus in Appleton, Wisconsin for the purchase of a Pierce Arrow XT Pumper at a cost of $581,000.00. The pumper is scheduled for delivery in March 2010. The new pumper will replace a 20 year old pumper.

December 2009 A house fire at 340 Connecticut Hill Road does extensive damage to the residence. Mutual aid requested from Newfield, Trumansburg and Mecklenburg Fire Companies.

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