100 YEARS OF SERVICE TO WILLIAMSBRIDGE
Engine 62 was placed in service on February 1, 1896, in the newly annexed area of the Bronx. Engines 61 in Westchester Square, Engine 62 in Williamsbridge, and 63 in Wakefield were all organized on the same day. Both, Engine 61 and 62 were organized as combination companies. These combination companies, placed in sparsely populated areas, had an engine, hose wagon and ladder truck, all under the command of the engine captain. These three companies, and Engine 64 when organized, would be in the 14th Battalion, which had its headquarters in with Engine 62.
The village of Williamsbridge in Westchester County had voted for annexation to New York City in 1894 but, was defeated by the towns of Mount Veron and by one vote in the village of Westchester. In 1895, the vote past and the area east of the Bronx River became known as the Annexed District of New York City. Williamsbridge was named after John Williams, who had built a bridge across the Bronx River. A rail line was built in 1841 to link Williamsbridge with Manhattan. Two volunteer fire companies, Pioneer Ladder 1 and Williamsbridge Engine 1, protected the citizens of Williamsbridge. The records for these two companies have been lost and very little is known about them.
The first members of Engine 62 were; Captain William J. Colby, Engineer John R. Day, and Firemen James H. McGowan, Samuel M. Quigley, Thomas W. Relyea, Edward Dillon, James J. Smith #2, James F. Roche #2, Thomas Leddy, John W. Fitzmaurice, George W. Whelan, and James McGaggart. The first three pieces of equipment for Engine 62 were; an 1881 Clapp & Jones 4th size (300 - 500 gpm) steamer, a new Gleason & Bailey hose wagon and an 1896 Rumsey 40 foot roller frame ladder truck. Even though the ladder truck was part of Engine 62 it could be special called to a box by itself and member assigned to the ladder wore Engine 62 front pieces on their helmets.
A firemans life was a hard one, twenty-four hours a day on duty with one hour off for meals, three times a day, fifteen, 24 hour, days on, a day off, then fifteen days again. The starting wage was $995.00 a year or eleven and half cents an hour for 720 hours a month. Beside the long hours, the men basically lived in a barn with the horses, the smells, flies and the cold or heat of the season. The Department was run on a military style displine and breaking the rules was dealt with in fines, days off being taken away and firings. Regardless of these hardships' recruits were plenty.
The first home for Engine 62 was a building at 61 White Plains Road, on the east side, between Randall Street and Avenue "A" (now E. 213th & 214th Streets). The two story, wood frame house had a one story extension in the rear for the horses and the feed room. The building was leased from Elizabeth Heilman for $75.00 a month. The locations of the buildings along the east side of White Plains Road were in question after New York City annexed the area. The surveyors map shows White Plains Road being wider than it actually was. Every building facing White Plains Road would have to be torn down for the wideing of the road.
The Fire Department knowing the leased building would be torn down started looking for a new location for Engine 62. A lot was bought from Kate J. C. Pryor for $4,000.00 on March 22, 1901. The lot, at 3431 White Plains Road, measured 50 feet in the front and 100 feet deep. On August 22, 1902, a contract was signed for a new building. Meanwhile on September 30, 1902, Engine 62 moved into a rented location on 5th Street, (now Bronxwood Avenue). Battalion 15, which was changed from the 14th Battalion on October 1, 1898, moved in with Engine 75.
Engine 62 moved onto their new quarters on December 10, 1903. Built of brick and limestone on the first floor and bricks with terra cotta on the second floor, the building measured 50 feet in the front and 76 feet deep. Costing $34,735.00 to build, it has two doors for the apparatus to exit. Battalion 15 moved back from Engine 75 on the same day, making this new building Battalion Headquarters. The ladder truck that had been taken away from Engine 62 on July 2, 1900, was put back in service when the house opened.
Motorization came to Engine 62 on May 21, 1919, with an 1905/1917 American LaFrance Christi Front Wheel Drive tractor, a 4th size steamer that was used by Engine 73. This rig replaced a 3rd size LaFrance steamer that the company had from September 29, 1913. The hose wagon was replaced with a 1918 Republic hose wagon on August 6, 1919. The 1896 Rumsey ladder truck was replaced on July 22, 1921, with a new Seagrave 65 tiller aerial ladder truck. Many firemen thought out the country would retire with the introduction of motorized apparatus and New York City was no exception. The old times would say "once the horses left, the job would never be the same." The new probie firemen are glad it's not the same.
During the late 1920s Engine 62 went through some changes. The first change was in the type of apparatus used by the Company. On December 3, 1925, the 1905/1917 steam fire engine was replaced by a new American LaFrance 700 gpm pumper. When first introduced in the early 1860s the steam fire engine changed the way the volunteers would operate and the old timers would say the same thing, "The job would not be the same". The next change for the company was when it lost its hose wagon on November 11, 1927. It would receive a new FWD hose wagon on May 6, 1929. The biggest change of all for Engine 62 was when the ladder truck was moved on December 20, 1928. The 1926 American LaFrance 65 aerial moved to a new house at Eastchester and Boston Roads as Ladder 51 with the reorganized Engine 38.
Ladder 51 was the only ladder company east of the Bronx River and north of Pelham Parkway. This area was large and the need for another full time aerial was in demand. Ladder 32, which was located with Engine 50 on 166th Street, was placed in service on May 15, 1907. By this time the Ladder 32 was surrounded by other ladder companies and was moved to Engine 62 on October 29, 1929. This would be a temporary move, until Engine 97 was placed in service in new quarters at 1454 Astor Avenue. Engine 97 quarters were opened on April 1, 1931 and Ladder 32 left White Plains Road. Even though this was a permanent move, it turned out to be a temporary one. Ladder 32 was relocated back to Engine 62 on April 17, 1933. This time the move would be permanent and Ladder 32 has been with Engine 62 ever since. Ladder 32 would respond with a 1926 Seagrave, 75 aerial, that cost $12,600.00 back in 1926. This rig had a new 1948 FWD tractor placed under the 26 Seagrave trailer on March 15, 1948.
The rest of the 1930s remained unchanged, as did the 1940s. Engine 62 received its last new fire engine, a 1946 Ward LaFrance, 750 gpm pumper on October 9, 1946. The next new pumper could pump 1000 gallons per minute and was built by Mack in 1970. In between these two new rigs there has been two used engines assigned, a 1951 Ward LaFrance in 1958 and a 1958 Mack in 1969. From 1970 to 1994, the number 62 has been on three Macks, a 72 model (in 1976), a 79 and 84 model. The current rig is a 1994 Seagrave, the first since the 1901 Seagrave hose wagon. This rig was delivered new on October 4th and can pump 1000 gallons per minute.
The fireman performs his job in the most hazardous of conditions, Most jobs, a person knows he will be home at the end of his shift but, not a fireman, he could have been hurt and in the hospital. Even worst he could lose his life. In the history of the New York City Fire Department 776 members have lost their lives. Five members of Engine 62 have paid that supreme price
with his life.
Fireman First grade Charles Snyder was hurt while fighting a truck fire on Boston Post Road south of Burke Avenue on December 28, 1918. Fireman Snyder and three other members of Engine 62 were burned when the gas tank exploded on the truck. Seriously burned, Snyder was taken to Fordham Hospital along with Lieutenant William Craver, And Fireman Fred Kaiser, while Fireman OToole remained on duty. Fireman Charles Snyder died from the burns he received during the early morning hours of January 4, 1919.
Fireman First grade William F. Carlock was killed at 6:10 P.M. on August 29, 1927. Engine 62 responded to a fire in a building under construction on White Plains Road and E. 213th Street. A 44,000 volt electrical line had broke and was lying across the building, setting the scaffolding on fire. Fireman Carlock went up to the second floor and came in contact with the wire. He was thrown three feet in the air and he fell between the rafters to the ground floor. He died on the way to the hospital. William Carlock was thirty-seven years old and a fireman since 1913. He was married and left a two day old son.
The third member of Engine 62 to lose his life was Fireman First grade Joseph A. Sullivan (3). He was assigned to drive the Chief of the 15th Battalion Chief. They were responding to a car fire at Edenwald and Dingney Avenues on July 19, 1930. Going north on White Plains Road, they went around a stopped trolley car at E. 213th Street. Coming south on White Plains Road was a car, which collided with the Battalion car. The force of the crash pushed the Chiefs car into the "El" pillar, trapping Fireman Sullivan. Two off duty firemen on the trolley car ran over to help the injured firemen in the car. A car was commandeered and the injured were taken to Fordham Hospital. Fireman Sullivan died on the way to the hospital. The chief, Captain George Eichler of Ladder 32, was injured slightly. The driver of the southbound car was not injured but was arrested on a charge of homicide. Fireman Sullivan, thirty-five years old, was a member of the Department since 1920 and was married.
During World War II, members of the Fire Department who joined the armed forces were assigned to the Military Service Unit and went to war. Members who were killed while in the military were given Fire Department Line of Duty benefits. Fireman Stephen J. Marangas, of Engine 62, was a member of the U. S. Army Air Force. He was shot down during a bombing mission over Norway of April 20, 1945.
The last member to lose his life was Fireman First grade James O Kane on November 30, 1955. He was
carrying hose into a building at 640 Adee Avenue and collapsed. He died from a heart attack.
One member of Engine 62 was honored with the oldest medal for given for bravery by the Department. Fireman James A. Sollami on January 10, 1984, rescued a woman and child from a fire at 3542 Webster Avenue. Fireman Sollami responded with Ladder 32, Engine 62 was out of service at the time. The fire building had fire blowing out of every window on the first floor. Reports of people trapped in the rear of the second floor, Firemen Sollami and Bassi carried a portable ladder to the rear of the fire building.
Because of the slopping ground, the rear porch where the two women and two children were trapped, was now three stories instead of the two in the front. Realizing the ladder would be too short, Fireman Hartnett climbed the ladder to the top, Sollami climb on Hartnett shoulders and pulled himself to the porch. While this was going on a woman dropped her child to the ground and then jumped. Fireman Sollami closed the glass door leading to the porch to buy some time, he then past the child to Hartnett on the ladder. As he was passing the woman over the railing the glass door exploded with flames out to the porch. The woman became hysterical, fighting to get free and in the process, both, she and Fireman Sollami fell off the porch and fell thirty feet to the ground.
For this rescue, Fireman James A. Sollami was awarded the James Gordon Bennett Medal, the oldest (1869) and the second newest (1984), the New York State Honorary Fire Chiefs Association Medals.
No matter what the emergency is, fire, lockout, water leak, or EMS, Engine 62 and Ladder 32 will be ready to serve the people of Williamsbridge and New York City.
THE APPARATUS OF ENGINE 62 & LADDER 32
HORSE DRAWN APPARATUS
1881 Clapp & Jones 4th size steamer #368 rebuilt in
1896, 2-1-1896 to 9-29-1913
1896 Gleason & Bailey hose wagon #49
2-1-1896 to 2-13-1915
1896 Rumsey 40 roller frame ladder #52
2-1-1896 to 7-22-1921
1900 LaFrance 3rd size steamer #437
9-29-1913 to 5-21-1919
1901 Seagrave hose wagon #84
2-13-15 to 8-6-1919
1905 LaFrance /1917 Christie front drive 4th size steamer #3062
5-21-1919 to 12-3-1925
1918 Republic hose wagon #133
8-6-1919 to 11-11-1927
1921 American LaFrance 65 aerial #182
7-22-1921 to 12-20-1928
1925 American LaFrance 700 gpm #5286
12-3-1925 to 10-9-46
1928 FWD hose wagon #161
5-6-1929 to 10-24-1949
1946 Ward LaFrance 750 gpm #2195
10-24-1949 to 3-7-58
1951 Ward LaFrance 750 gpm #2596
3-7-1958 to 11-21-1969
1958 Mack 750 gpm #1054
11-21-1969 to 4-16-1970
1970 Mack 1000 gpm #MP7047
4-16-1970 to 7-15-1976
1972 Mack 1000 gpm #MP7228
7-15-1976 to 8-26-1980
1979 Mack 1000 gpm #MP7955
8-26-1980 to 2-19-1985
1994 Seagrave 1000 gpm #SP9415
10-4-1994 to ????
HORSE DRAWN APPARATUS
1881 FDNY Repair Shop 65 roller frame ladder #19
5-15-1907 - 9-8-1909
1909 American LaFrance 65 aerial #104
9-8-1909 to 2-10-1926
1914 or 1915 Christie Front End Drive tractor under the 1909 LaFrance 65 aerial.
1926 Seagrave 75 aerial #241
2-10-1926 to 3-15-1955
1948 FWD tractor replaced the Seagrave tractor on
3-15-1948 to 3-15-1955
1955 FWD 75 aerial #389
5-23-1955 to 3-4-1970
1959 Mack 85 aerial #426
4-4-1970 to 1-8-1971
1960 American LaFrance 100 aerial #449
1-8-1971 to 9-1-1973
1980 Seagrave 100 rear mounted aerial #SL8013
8-22-1981 to 8-3-1988
1987 Seagrave 100 rear mounted aerial #SL8702
8-3-1988 - ????
THE GUNHILL GANG
February 1, 1896
Foreman William J. Colby
Engineer John R. Day
Fireman James H. McGowan
Fireman Samuel M. Quigley
Fireman Thomas W. Relyea
Fireman Edward Dillon
Fireman James J. Smith #2
Fireman James F. Roche #2
Fireman Thomas Leddy
Fireman John W. Fitzmaurice
Fireman George W. Whelam
Fireman James McGaggart
February 1, 1996
ENGINE 62 LADDER 32
Captain Bill Chilson Captain Rich Hickey
Lieutenant Bob Lopez Lieutenant Jim Sherwood
Lieutenant Don Uebel Lieutenant George Wicks
Lieutenant Mike Finelli Lieutenant John Keaveny
FF. Billy Horan FF. John Wrobel
FF. Pat Barry FF. John Benson
FF. Paul Barry FF. Brian McDonough
FF. Garrett Barbosa FF. Tom McCarthy
FF. Jack Black FF. Marty Blaskovich
FF. Dave Sedacca FF. Tom McHugh
FF. Wayne Manzie FF. Brian McKeever
FF. Mike Marinaccio FF. Thom Cawley
FF. Jim Bodkin FF. Don Morris
FF. Bob Conte FF. Brian Murphy
FF. John Corrao FF. Sean ODonnell
FF. John OHalloran FF. Joe Costella
FF. Kevin Mongiello FF. Danny DeMinno
FF. Bob Quinn FF. John Prenty
FF. Mike Gaffney FF. John Fitzgerald
FF. Tom Gough FF. Gil Scarazzini
FF. Lou Schaefer FF. Mike Schmidt
FF. George Hazim FF. Billy Silke
FF. Anthony Torquato FF. Sean Smith
FF. Terry Kelly FF. John Kavanagh
FF. Gary Voigt FF. John Kershis
FF. Phil Zeiss FF. Jim Knoblich
FF. Kevin McNichol FF. Joe Walsh
FF. Carl Scheetz FF. Tom Warkenthien
FF. Scott McClennan
100 HUNDRED YEARS AGO
SATURDAY , FEBRUARY 1, 1896
In New York City, the Parks Department will lay off 75 workers, ranging from the Superintendent of the Zoo at the top and gardeners on the bottom. The reason, the bad economy and too many workers.
In Long Island City, the Commissioners of the Police, Fire, and Water Department fired 24 policemen, 9 water workers and one fireman. All were appointed by the Mayor Sanford who was defeated in the last election. The policemen and water workers were fired for no reason other than they were "Anti Gleasonite", the new mayor. The fireman was fired for fighting in the firehouse.
In Brooklyn, the Kings County Board of Pharmacy intends to prosecute the green grocers who are selling drugs without a registered Pharmacy License. The 470 drug stores in Brooklyn all have a good record. The grocery stores which are breaking the law can be fine from $50.00 to $500.00 or three months in jail or both.
In the Village of Whitestone, Queens County, the street lights will be shut off in the village because of the lack of funds. The contract for the new year will not be renewed and taxes will not be raised to pay for the gas to run the lights. The gas companies' rates were raise just before the contract expired.
In Brooklyn, a new grain elevator is to be built at the foot of 42nd Street and the New York Harbor. The Bush Grain Company says the elevator and associated building will hold 2 million bushels of grain. The complex will be completed in six months.
In Pittsburgh, PA., Higher prices are in store for coal. The anthracite coal carrying railroads have agreed to end the coal war that has been going on for three years. The price of coal will climb an extra fifty cents a ton for the wholesaler. A ton of coal now cost between $3.25 to $3.75 a ton, delivered. The sale agents agree to mine 2,500,000 tons for February. A year ago 3,133,246 tons were mined.
Tokyo Japan, a new cure for cancer is announced. The cure is to inject the tumor with carbolic acid. Doctors in this country say the treatment was tried twenty years ago with no proof of curing cancer.
In Manhattan, a new sub Post Office will open today at 1722 Amsterdam Avenue.
In Pittsburgh, Pa. the Standard Oil company is to be reorganized from a trust to a corporation. The capital for the new company is $200,000,000.00.
The New York Times cost $10.00, a year which includes the Sunday edition. Weekday cost is 3 cents.
Other 1896 happenings; Utah admitted into the Union as the 45th state after the Mormons agreed to give up polygamous marriages. The worlds first public golf course opened in Van Cortlandt Park in New York City, Eggs sold 19 cents a dozen, a 5 pound bag of flour cost 13 cents, Hit songs "Sweet Rosie O'Grady" and "A Hot Time in the Old Town". George Burns & Raymond Massey were born.
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