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Quassaick Bridge Fire District History

The Quassaick Bridge Fire District encompasses an area of approximately 5.2 square miles and is located in the Northeastern part of the Town Of New Windsor on the banks of the majestic Hudson River. The area is largely residential in character and commercial development has taken place recently along the southerly and westerly boundaries of our Fire District. From the Newburgh City line on the North, South to the Cornwall Town line are bulk storage facilities with over One Million Gallons of highly flammable liquids. Residential construction is very minimal at most for the Fire District is located in the area of the original Town of New Windsor.

In May of 1934 interest in firemanics was truly at low ebb at this point. In fact, there was some talk of dissolving the organization. However, in spite of lowered spirits, a determined few carried on and a District election was arranged and took place on September 15, 1935. At this time the taxpayers voted favorably on authorizing the Town Board to raise by taxation $1000.00 dollars toward the purchase of a fire apparatus. On November 6th, 1936, another district election of the taxpayers was held to authorize the District to raise by bond issue an additional $3700.00 dollars. The vote on this issue was also favorable (57-3) Contact with the Sanford Fire Apparatus Company revealed that they had fire apparatuses in stock, so a new Sanford Fire Apparatus was delivered during the week of November 8th, 1936.

On November 16, 1936 an organization meeting was held in a temporary fire house on Quassaick Avenue. This building was rented from Charles Mc Clure which prior to the occupancy by the fire company had been used as a car repair garage. The meeting was called to order by John W. Eldridge and temporary officers were appointed consisting of William Gastka as Chairman and John S. Evans as Secretary. In a short time the building was completely remodeled to fit the temporary needs, a place to store the apparatus and a meeting place for the fire company.

Through the efforts of Harry Jett and his committee most of the materials used in the remodeling of the building were donated. Many hours of labor were required and this too was donated by the fire company members.
During the process of remodeling, the apparatus was housed at the American Felt Company garage and was manned by Clinton Piper who also trained the rookie fireman in the use of the pump. On December 14, 1936 Fire District Commissioners and a District Treasurer were elected for the first time and the following were elected:

Commissioners:
Fred Swanson, Sr.
Zygmunt Orzechowski
Joseph Caesar
Louis Acquaro
Joseph Peller, Sr.
Treasurer: John W. Eldridge

On December 19, 1936 the temporary fire house on Quassaick Avenue was officially opened for public inspection. Refreshments were served and games played. On January 10, 1938 President Harry B. Jett appointed a building committee consisting of John W. Eldridge, Arthur Smith Sr., Bertram Stroock, Joseph Peller Sr., and Harry B. Jett. Attention was called to the need of securing a larger and permanent fire house on the present foundation on the corner of Walsh Avenue and Cedar Avenue. The building committee was authorized to obtain free of charge plans from a licensed Architect and the cost of the building.

On February 18, 1938 President Harry B. Jett met with the District Fire Commissioners and suggested that the foundation be reinspected for cracks and if the inspection reveled that the foundation was sound, efforts be made to begin construction of the fire house.

A special meeting was held May 2, 1938 to discuss construction of a new fire house. Block chance books were distributed. During the period that the chance books were being sold, other donations were also sought. Several large donations were received: The Windsor Building Supplies Co. donated $100, Roy W. Spencer, $50, Mr. James Bernard, $100, The Lucas Co. $50, Mrs. Beatrice McKay $100, Mr. Bertram A. Stroock $100.

On October 24th, 1938 the building committee consisting of Harry B. Jett, Fred Swanson, Harrision S. Coutant, Arthur Smith Sr., John W. Eldridge and Bertram A. Stroock was authorized to negotiate a loan of $10,000.00 to start the machinery in motion on a new building. The loan was made possible through the faith of Mrs. K.M. Cameron and Bertram A. Stroock each obligating themselves to a note of $ 5000.00 Dollars. This faith was justified by the accomplishments of the members at the temporary fire house and their willingness at this point to continue to strive for a better and larger quarters.

Blueprints were prepared by Mr. Percy Hanaford. On November 14th, 1938 bids were let for the masonry and carpentry to Harrison C. and Norman Coutant, Smith-Stewart Co. steel, plumbing and heating to A.C. Smith Co. and electric to C.J. Olsen. Rapid progress was made. On May 8th, 1939 the building committee was authorized to borrow an additional $2000.00 dollars toward the completion of the building. On Saturday January 14, 1939 ceremonies at the laying of the cornerstone were held. Bertram A. Stroock building committee member sealed the metal box of mementos of contemporary history.

On May 30th, 1939, the new firehouse was dedicated. The dedication ceremonies were preceded by a parade with John W. Eldridge as the Parade Marshall, followed by the Officers of the Fire Company, Building Committee Members, Firemanic Officers, Chief Elmer Babcock, First Lieutenant Michael Popowick, Second Lieutenant Andrew Owens, Captain Joseph Fornal and Fire Company Members. The dedication ceremonies began with President Harry B. Jett presiding. Mr. Bertram A. Stroock, member of the building committee, turned the new building over to President Jett.

On December 28, 1942, John W. Eldridge reported that the last $1000.00 dollars on the mortgage had been paid.

Over the next several years the Board of Fire Commissioners continued to provide the best firefighting equipment with the purchases of the following fire apparatus:

The very first fire apparatus purchased was a 1937 Sanford 250 gallon per minute pumper, at a cost of $ 4700.00 dollars.

1937 Sanford 250 GPM $ 4,700.00
1950 Mack 750 GPM $ 18,000.00
1957 Mack 1000 GPM $ 22,000.00
1961 International EMG. Truck $ 4,000.00
1969 LaFrance 1250 GPM $ 36,000.00
1970 GMC. Emg.Truck $ 22,000.00
1975 LaFrance 1500 GPM $ 57,000.00
1982 LaFrance 1500 GPM $ 157,000.00
1989 LaFrance 2000 GPM $ 240,000.00
1996 Spartan Emg. Truck $ 245,000.00
1998 GMC. P/U Chiefs Car $ 22,000.00
2002 LaFrance 2000 GPM $ 440,000.00
2004 Chev.Sub. Chiefs Car $ 32,000.00
2004 Chev.Sub. Assist. Chiefs $ 32,000.00
2007 LaFrance 2000 GPM $ 492,000.00
2008 Dodge Ram Chiefs Car $ 32,000.00

Recognizing the current and future growth potential of the Quassaick Bridge Fire District, the members of the Board of Fire Commissioners realized that our facilities would need to grow in order to properly serve the community.
On October 26, 2004 the Board of Fire Commissioners formed a building committee and appointed John T. Babcock Sr. Chairman to investigate the impact of modernizing the current facility or building a new facility. On August 14, 2006 the Board of Fire Commissioners advertised for professional services to do a feasibility study to evaluate our current facility and future needs.

After thoroughly examining all of the addition, renovation and new construction options, the consultant team recommended the needs of the District would be best served by the construction of a new fire station located on the present site. As a result of this effort the current size of the new firehouse was designed for 15000 square feet at a probable cost of $4.9 million dollars.

The Board of Fire Commissioners under the leadership of John T. Babcock, Chairman, spearheaded a publicity campaign to inform the residents of the need for a new fire station. The bond vote was set for July 31st, 2007.
Prior to the vote we held an open house, public hearing and our firemen went door to door handing out flyers to promote the upcoming bond vote. The evening before the bond vote our ladies auxiliary called the residents of the fire district to come out and vote on July 31st, 2007.

With all of this publicity the residents came out in full force and voted three to one in support of the bond. In the long history of our Fire Department we have never asked the public for anything of this size and magnitude.

We were upfront and honest with the public and they were appreciative by responding with a Yes Vote for our new fire station. Upon approval of the Bond the Board of Fire Commissioners hired the Architectural Firm of Collins/Scoville to design and go to bid for the construction of our new firehouse.

Again, we would like to thank the residents of our fire district for coming out and supporting their volunteers and appreciating the work that we do for our community.