Kennyetto Fire Company,
Broadalbin

  

Written and generously contributed to this website by Gordon Cornell, Historian, Kennyetto Fire Company.  Kindly transcribed by volunteer William Hunt.

1934 Chevrolet/Sanford Pumper.
This was truck No. 2 and was received in May 1934 at a cost 
of $2,784.00.......EQUIPPED !!!!!!

  


Little is known about fires and fire fighting efforts in Broadalbin prior to November of 1877. We do know that the citizens of Broadalbin had discussed the issue on various occasions and that enough support had not been mustered to bring about an organization to fight fire.

Then on November 28, 1877 came verification of need, when a very destructive fire consumed the Baptist Church, its horse shed, four barns, three houses, four horses, one cow and other miscellaneous items. There is little question that this fire was the catalyst that brought the citizens together on the side of forming a fire company.

On June 8, 1878 the citizens of Broadalbin and Vail Mills met at W. H. Halliday's harness shop on Main Street for the purpose of forming a fire company. A hand pump fire engine was ordered and it arrived on July 12. The cost was $500.00 and was paid by public subscription.

The first fire commissioners were: John E. Lasher, Leonard Northrup, William Vail, J. A. Burr, and William H. Halliday.

The first officers were: foreman (now called chief), Matthew Leversee, first assistant, J. E. Lasher; and second assistant, M. W. Tymerson.

The fireman as well as the citizens were very proud of their "Little Giant" fire engine. After all, Broadalbin was the third community in all of Fulton County to have a fire company, having been preceded by Gloversville and Johnstown.

In a March 11, 1881 issue of the Broadalbin Herald can be found the following: "The Fire Department of this village has recently purchased a fire bell and erected it over M. W. Tymerson's Meat Market." This aided in getting the message out that a fire was in progress. It must have been pleasing to the ears of the citizens of that day for soon after they were ringing the bell at the hours of seven, twelve, one and six o'clock.

For the first 8 years the fire equipment was stored any place that room could be found. Then in October of 1886 the citizens joined with the firemen in raising funds to erect a new wood frame firehouse on School Street. The cost was $419.04. This structure was used until 1922 when it had to be moved to make room for the new high school which was opened in 1924. The old firehouse was sold, moved across the street, and is now a residence.

After about 1 year of keeping their equipment in the garage of Arthur Cornell, they were able to move into a new firehouse in December of 1923 at the intersection of North Main, West Main and Bridge Streets. They occupied this building until 1957 when they moved next door to the location where they are today. The 1923 firehouse was recently known as the video store.

Many young as well as not so young men have served their community faithfully as members of this worthwhile and much needed organization. One of the more uncommon foreman/chiefs was Dr. T. Delap Smith, in 1885 and 1886. It is most unusual to find a doctor who can and/or is willing to devote this amount of time to such a cause, as it obviously would interfere greatly in the pursuit of his profession.

Our forefathers who were firemen had to do with minimal amounts of equipment. In 1890 the purchases were 50 feet of hose, six rubber buckets and six spittoons!

Many serious fires have visited our little village through the years and they will not be covered in detail here, as it would become too voluminous. The most serious, in terms of total number of businesses lost, was in January of 1879 when 16 places of business burned to the ground. They were all on the east side of North Main Street.

The first piece of motorized fire fighting equipment was received on December 22, 1923 when a 1924 Reo Speedwagon truck, outfitted to fight fire, arrived in Broadalbin. The cost was $4,000.

During the 1920's there was a rash of severe fires in our village with multiple buildings lost each time. It was not uncommon for Mayfield, Gloversville, Johnstown and Amsterdam to be in Broadalbin fighting fire.

A second pumper was purchased in May of 1934 making it possible to respond to fires in the town and still have fire protection in the village. Prior to this time, permission had to be obtained before the fire truck could leave the designated area, leaving most of the town residents without fire protection.

In the early days the fire company responded to little other than fires whereas today we respond to many types of calls, with actual fires amounting to less than 50% of the total alarms per year.

June 2003 will be our 125th anniversary and we hope to have a large celebration with an all out participation by the community we serve.

Remember, "WE STILL MAKE HOUSE CALLS!"

   


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Copyright , 2002 Gordon Cornell
Copyright , 2002 William Hunt, Jeanette Shiel
All Rights Reserved.


Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:14:04 PDT