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..

January 2010 budget for 2010 is unchanged from 2009 and remains at $280,000.00

February 2010 Fire Chief Ronald Switzer Jr resigns his position to accept a new job opportunity in Austin, Texas

February 2010 Deputy Chief Art Howser is promoted to Fire Chief and Assistant Chief Roger Lauper is promoted to Deputy Chief

March 2010 The Fire Company takes delivery of a new 2010 Pierce Arrow XT pumper. The Apparatus was constructed in Appleton, Wisconsin and purchased through thier local dealer Tyler Fire Apparatus in Elmira, NY. at a cost of $581,000.00.

April 2010 The new pumper responds on its first call, a vehicle fire at Sandy Creek Mobile Home park at the front office building

July 2010 Fire destroyed an abandon house on South Buck Hill Road. Mecklenburg, Trumansburg and Newfield Fire Companies assist

July 2010 The fire company receives a NYSDEC matching grant for $1000.00 for the purchase of handlights and storage boxes for the brush truck

August 2010 The surplus 1990 Ford/FMC pumper is sold to Fire Master Fire Equipment in Springfield, Missouri for $11,000.00

September 2010 Vehicle accident on Waterburg claimed the life of a man from the Syacuse area and seriously injures a local Enfield man. The vehicle left the roadway hit a culvert became airborne and struck a utilty pole.

October 2010 Fire did extensive damage to one apartment and some minor damage to adjacent apartments before being brought under control. The fire at 1804 Mecklenburg Road required assistance from Ithaca, Trumansburg, Newfield and Mecklenburg Fire companies.

January 2011 budget for 2011 will be $285,600.00

February 2011 House fire at 135 South Buck Hill Road caused moderate damage to the home. Assistance was requested from Mecklenburg, Trumansburg and Newfield Fire Company's. This was also the site of a fire that did extenxsive damage in the mid seventy's.

March 2011 Mobile home fire at 253 Enfield Main Road destroyed the home of deceased and past Life member Carlton Thall. The home had been vacant since his death. Cause was undetermined

June 2011 House fire at 31 North VanDorn Road caused heavy damage to the home. Assistance requested from Newfield. Trumansburg and Mecklenburg Fire Company's. Investigation was turned over to the New York State police and the New York State Arson Investigation Team.

July 2011 the Fire Company received its second grant in 2 years for $1000.00 from the New York State DEC. The grant will be used to purchase 28 wildfire helmets with headlamp. The helmets will be used for various situations where lightweight head gear can be used.

Town Board declines a request from the Fire Company to renew their 5 year contract early. There were no changes in the contract other than the number of years.

December 2011 House fire 119 South Buck Hill Road. Fire was quickly knocked down but not before extensive heat and smoke damage. Fire was posibly caused by a faulty extension cord to a Christmas tree.

December 2012 Roger Lauper is awarded the "George A Palmer Achievement of Excellence" award at the annual banquet.

January 2012 budget for 2012 will be $291,312.00

January 2012 Firefighter David Owens passed away unexpectedly at the age of 56 from a massive stroke caused by complication from a head injury sustained at work. David was a 18 year member

October 2012 the Fire Company takes delivery of a new 2012 Ford F-250 4 wheel drive crew cab pickup. The truck will be used as a utility vehicle and serve in numerous capacities.

November 2012 a late night fire completely destroys a garage at 468 Enfield Falls Road. The fire went unnoticed until the garage was fully involved.

November 2012 the Fire Company completely replaces all its Holmotro extrication tools with new and upgaded Holmotro tools. The tools had been slightly upgraded and added to over the years, however the original tools were over 20 years old and purchased in 1987. The cost of the new tools was just short of $30,000.00.

December 2012: 40 year veteran firefighter Larry Lanning passed away after a short battle with cancer.

January 2013 budget for 2013 will be $294,225.00. This was reduced after renegotiating a new 5 year contract with the Town.

July 2013 life member Art Covert passed away

August 2013 heavy rains caused extensive flash flooding to the southern part of the Town. Many roads as well as personal property were destroyed or damaged. Damaged areas were located mostly in the Harvey Hill road, Trumbulls Corners road, Hubbell Drive and Upper Treman Park.

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