Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Pelham Manor Fire Chief Pleads for Taxpayers to Authorize Purchase of Village's First Fire Engine

In 1913, The Pelham Sun carried a report prepared by George S. Chappell, Chief of the Pelham Manor Fire Department, in which the Chief noted that the Villages of Pelham and North Pelham had purchased a "motor driven" fire engine although the taxpayers of Pelham Manor had refused in two votes to authorize the Pelham Manor Fire Department to purchase a motorized fire engine.  The text of the report appears below.

"The Manor Fire Department
The Pelham Manor Fire Department is made up of three companies, covering the three main divisions of the village, namely:  Pelham Manor, Pelham Heights and the Secor Hill section.  The two latter divisions are very restricted as to equipment and really constitute only an emergency apparatus in the shape of a hose reel for immediate use in case of necessity, having depended hitherto for all serious calls upon the activity of No. 1 Company, whose headquarters are at the Pelham Manor Village Hall. 

In all companies, however, active drills and meetings are held monthly, and the organization is as effective as the limited equipment will allow.  At the Village Hall the department has now a rather out-of-date ladder truck drawn by a horse, and a hose reel or jumper.  This equipment while kept in first class condition is, of course, hopelessly inadequate when it comes to fighting a really serious fire.  The truck is equipped with four Babcock extinguishers, axes, ladders, etc., and the hose reel is relied upon to supply the necessary amount of water.

Upon two occasions an attempt has been made to induce the taxpayers of the Manor to vote the necessary appropritations to cover the cost of some kind of an automobile engine, but the project has as yet failed to receive the necessary number of votes.  It would seem self-evident that the present equipment is hopelessly inadequate even though maintained and operated with the greatest possible faithfulness and energy.

Now that the Villages of Pelham and North Pelham have progressively gone forward and purchased a motor driven engine it is hoped that in the near future the Manor will follow their example and supplement the Pelham equipment with an additional motor driven machine of such a character as may be most desirable.  This brings up the question of a closer cooperation between the departments of the other Pelhams and Pelham Manor, which is most desirable.  With the increased speed of the automobile engine the present splendidly equipped fire house in Pelham would answer all requirements and it certainly would greatly facilitate the care, maintenance and operation of the engines if they could be housed under one roof.  Needless to say the expense of operation thus divided would be materially reduced for all concerned.

Chief of Fire Department."

Source:  The Manor Fire Department, The Pelham Sun, 1913, p. 2, col. 2 (undated newspaper page in the collections of the Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham, NY; digital copy in author's files).

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