The Hammondsport Fire Department is a small department located at the southern tip of Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes region of western New York. We operate the Steuben County Scuba Dive Team for search and recovery. During the summer months our population triples as the summer residents move into their summer homes. The cottages on our lake are now becoming more affluant homes with many of them costing a million dollars or more to buy or build. We also protect the IRA Davenport Hospital along with a number of award winning wineries including Bully Hill and Heron Hill and several more that line the lake. Hammondsport also has two large metal fabricating plants that employ several hundred workers. Hammondsport is noted as the Cradle of Aviation and therefore the home to the Glen Curtiss Museum which displays many turn of the century planes and motorcycles. The museum is a must see as it also contains three of the Fire Departments pieces of equipment from the mid 1800's.
The village of Hammondsport was first organized November 22, 1856, but the 1st Hook and Ladder Company was organized in 1839 with one engine and 20 interested members.
In 1871 a village charter was granted, and the Hook and Ladder had its 1st meeting of election of officers with 25 new members added.
In 1885, the Citizen's Hose Company was organized with 40 members. During these times drills were rare and the Hook & Ladder "Hooks" was more popular than the Hose Co. for their receptions and balls.
Other small fire companies started and disbanded throughout the years, with up to 4 fire companies to protect the village at one time.
In 1947, the old village jail (built in 1911) next door to the Scout House was renovated into a Firestation, holding one fire truck and upstairs meeting rooms. In 1954, an addition was built. In 1950, Hammondsport became part of the Steuben County Mutual Aid System and the Hook and Ladder disbanded to leave all members as a part of the Citizens Hose.
In 1981 a new fire station was built on Rt. 54 with the Citizens Hose donating $50,000 toward the purchase of the land. This included 86 acres through monies raised from 15 years of carnivals. The new fire station includes 5 front bays, 3 back bays, a reception room with kitchen, social room, television room, commissioners room, chiefs office, secretary/treasurer's office, control room and maintenance room.
Some of the past chiefs who are still involved with the fire department include:
Ben Walruth - 1961-1965 and Leo Jacobus - 1965-1968.
At the present time the Hammondsport Fire Chief is Bill Fries Jr. since 1986.
1st Assistant - Chris McConnell
2nd Assistant - Jason Thompson
3rd Assistant - Nathan Buckley
Presently the department holds a roster of 50 to include:
8 Fire Police
11 Lifetime members - 25+ years
At least 24 Interior Fire Fighters
The Citizen's Hose Company officers include:
President - Dave Buckley
Vice President - Don Howard
Treasurer - Rich Bussmann
Secretary - Barb Fries
Under years of service, seven members have 25 or more years:
Ben Walruth - 66
Oscar Vandelinder - 64
Rich Cummings - 46
Emery Cummings - 37
Don Howard - 37
Bill Fries JR. - 36