History of the Brockport Fire Department

 

Our history dates back to 1832 when the village purchased a hand pumper from the firm of John Proctor and National Hydraulic Co. of Proctorsville, VT, for the sum of $450. The new engine was assigned to the Water Witch Engine Co. 1 on May 1, 1832. Another engine was purchased in 1834 and the Conqueror Engine Co. 2 was organized. Engine houses were constructed in the village and their exact locations are still unknown today. In 1845 a new village hall was constructed on King Street housing the engine companies and the Spartan Hook and Ladder Co. 1, later renamed the Empire Hook and Ladder Co. 1.

During the Civil War the fire companies disbanded, reorganized and then disbanded again. Votes in the village to purchase new fire equipment were defeated several times, but finally the purchase of a used hand pumper was procured from one of the old Rochester, NY, fire companies (a Selye & Porter New York Style Pumper manufactured in Rochester) and assigned to the Conqueror Engine Co. 2. When this company disbanded for the last time, the hand pumper was stored in a barn in the village, but then the inevitable happened. A major fire on January 12, 1877 destroyed both sides of Market St. During this fire the unused, old Selye & Porter hand pumper was pulled out of the barn and put into action. Unable to contain the fire on its own, a steamer was called from the city of Rochester via railroad flatcar. 

After that fire, $6,600 worth of bonds were purchased from the Powers Banking Firm in Rochester, which enabled the village to purchase a Hook and Ladder from SM Stewart Co. Manufacturers in Rochester, NY, and also from the Silsby Manufacturing Co. in Seneca Falls, NY, one steam fire engine, two hose reels and fire hose. The steamer was a demonstrator at the World's Fair in Philadelphia at the great Hall of Machines when the nation celebrated our centennial in 1876. 

With the purchase of fire equipment, the Byron E. Huntley Steamer Co. 1, Silsby Hose Co. 1, LJ Pease Hose Co. 2 (which disbanded in 1882 and reorganized that same year as the Harrison Hose Co. 2) and the CD Dewey Hook and Ladder Co. 1, fire companies were formed. A group of men from the Johnston Harvester Co. on N. Main Street approached the village board and offered to refurbish the old Selye Hand Pumper and also build an engine house next to their company thus forming the Thomas Cornes Engine and Hose Co. 3. IN July, 1877, the Protectives were organized and housed on Monroe Avenue where the Catholic rectory now stands. The steamer, hose cart #2 and hook and ladder were housed in the village hall on Kings St. The Silsby Hose constructed a hose cart and repair room off Clinton St. 

With the fire companies organized with modern equipment, they now faced the biggest fire in Brockport's history. On June 22-23, 1882, the Johnston Harvester Co. went up in flames, destroying most of the buildings including the Engine Co. 3. The fire started at N. Main Street and Clark Street, jumped across the foot bridge to N. Main Street and Liberty Street. That fire cost $500,000 worth of damage and put 450 men out of work. All equipment worked for two days including the old Selye Hand Pumper that was housed at the Johnston Harvester Company. It was pulled to safety and pumped for two straight days along with another steamer from Rochester, again brought in via railway. With such destruction, the Johnston Harvester Co. chose not to rebuild in Brockport, but to relocate to Batavia, NY.