History


The Johnstown Fire Department was formed on a volunteer basis on April 1, 1808. By December 1808 there were 24 appointed volunteer firemen.

September 9, 1809 - It was the duty for every freeholder to form in line at a fire under penalty of $2.00 fine. To distinguish the Trustees at a fire they were to wear a white scarf over the right shoulder to the left hip.

1809 - The first Hand Engine House was built and Ladder, Hooks & Spuds were bought.

May 27, 1809 - The first Hook Spud & Ladder Company was formed.

February 11, 1811 - Old ladders sold and new ones bought.

August 5, 1820 - Captain of Fire Company ordered men out to try hand Engine

January 4, 1822 - Engine hose ordered sold. It was sold for $15.00. Peter McKie was Captain of the Fire Company

May 15, 1824 - The Electors of the Village at a meeting at the Court House directed the purchase of a new Hand Engine for $500.00

December 2, 1836 - It was ordere to sell the old Hand Engine.

May 10, 1837 - The first Fire Committee was appointed.

August 19, 1850 - Engine House was built on South Market St. A lot was bought from D. Edwards for $175.00 on William St.

September 5, 182 - Engine Company presented Lieutenant J.J. Buchanan with Sword Sash and Belt, before going for the front.

December 5, 1862 - Fiver members of Engine Company enlisted for the Army. They were made Honorary Members.

December 12, 1862 - Engine Company turned out to attend Daniel Gustin's funeral of the 153 Regime N.Y.S.U.

April 25, 1866 - A new Hand Engine bought for $500.00 and the first Chief was appointed V.N. Clark.

June 23, 1868 - Exemption was given to Firemen on Property.

August 21, 1876 - Room was rented in Kennedy Building for Fire Department for $75.00 a year.

October 16, 1877 - Water System was voted.

August 30, 1878 - Water System first used by fire department and Fire Department reorganized with 5 Volunteer Companies: Independent Bucket Co, Tryon Hook and Ladder, W.S. Northrup Hose Co., W.S. Northrup Bucket, and R. P VanWinkle Engine Co.

July 24, 1879 - New Engine House built on William St.

May 24, 1884 - New Hook & Ladder Truck bought

May 8, 1889 - Election to vote on first Fire Alarm System. It was carried.

April 20, 1891 - Decker Hose House built.

December 18, 1893 - First horse used to draw Hose Wagon. Thompson Morgan and Eugene Jansen were the first paid Firemen, as driver and electrician.

January 22, 1894 - Horses first used to draw Hook & Ladder Truck

October 1, 1902 - New Seagrave Hook & Ladder bought.

December 8, 1908 - Firemen of Johnstown celebrated the 100th Anniversary of a Volunteer Fire Department

May 20, 1915 - Motor replaces horses for Hose Truck

August 1, 1917 - Decker Hose Company disbanded the last company to use Hose Carts. Motor replaces Hose Cart.

September 1917 - Used Motor Hook & Ladder Truck making a complete Motorized Department

June 23, 1926 - Johnstown Fire Department move into their new home on South William St. after being remodeled.

May 1928 - New Seagrave Pumper was installed in Department.

April 30, 1930 - The Northrup Hose Co. and the Nol and Tryon Hook & Ladder Co. No 1 were disbanded. A full paid department replaced the Volunteer service. The new department remained in its William St headquarters with one outpost station on North Perry St.

November 15, 1937 - City purchased a new Ward LaFrance Combination Hook & Ladder & Pumper.

1970 - The department was consolidated into one station at 244 N. Perry St at which time the department consisted of 26 full time paid firefighters and 10 paid "call men." The call men are utilized on an emergency basis and paid for time worked along with a small yearly salary.

1974 - Hand Engine that was purchased on April 25, 1866 was restored and is still in the position of the Johnstown Fire Department.

At the present time, records of the old Volunteer Department are being kept by the Secretary John Buckner of the Exempt Firemen's Association. These include records of every member belonging to the Volunteer Fire Department, time of service and records of all fire since 1812.

Currently, the fire department is headed by a chief, followed by four Assistant Chiefs and four Captains. Department manning is done with four platoons under the direction of an Assistant Chief and a Captain. Each platoon works two 10 hour day shifts followed by two 14 hour night shifts for a total of 40 hours per week on a yearly basis. All appointments made in the department are from a civil service list and probationary appointment is for a 12 month duration. Instruction in the department for both probationary and permanent firefighters will use both the basic and in service New York State courses and programs. The degree of ability attained will be measured by practical and oral means. First Aid and CPR instruction will be done by two certified American Red Cross instructors.

Historical List of Chiefs


Volunteer Chiefs
1865 - Walter N. Clark
1866-1867 - Chas E. Van Benthewsen
1868 - J. E. Seaman (3 Months)
1868 - 1870 - A. J. Thompson
1871 - William Ely (2 months)
1871 - 1875 - A. J. Thompson
1876 - 1877 - George M Jeffers
1878 - James D. Scott
1878 - 1882 - A.J. Thompson
1883 - Alonzo Philes
1884 - R. F. Van Nostrand
1885 - 1886 - J. P. Miller
1887 - 1890 - A. J. Thompson
1891 - 1892 - Chas H. Ball
1893 - John E. Levitt (1 month)
1893 - James Hillabrandt (1 month)
1893 - 1895 - David Smith
1896 - 1897 - William Board
1898 - 1899 - Fred C. Treat
1900 - 1901 - John Jackson
1902 - 1903 - Alfred W. Tutchings
1904 - 1905 - Jay Irving
1906 - 1911 - Edward Keildall
1912 - 1915 - Edward Miller

Paid Chiefs
1916 - 1918 - William E. Duesler
1919 - 1925 - Henry G. Moore
1926 - Walter Dixen (acting)
1927 - Lyman Lamont (January - August)
1927 - 1937 - Edward J. Mulvey
1938 - 1962 - John H. Walker
1962 William H. La Voie (acting)
1963 - 1983 - William H. La Voie
1983 - 1996 - Edward W. Heberer
1996 - 2006 - Steven T. Hart
2006 - Present - Bruce E. Heberer