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Fire department celebrates 182 years ADVERTISEMENT

Fire department celebrates 182 years

DUNDEE--The Dundee Fire Department will celebrate the 182nd anniversary of the volunteer emergency responder group, Saturday, April 23. The event, which was originally planned to commemorate the 180th anniversary was delayed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. will feature an open house with old department trucks, apparatus on display and a children's section.
The history of the department includes:
The fire department in Dundee was presented for incorporation during the sixty-third session of the New York state assembly in March, 1840.
The village of Dundee has also recorded several dates from the early years of the fire department. In 1853, the village voted to appoint 33 individuals to the fire department. New by-laws were accepted and a slate of officers were named.
In 1888, the village board of trustees ratified a committee action 'to purchase a hook and ladder truck'. At the time, the department was known as the GPL Hook and Ladder Company. It is believed the initials stood for the name of George P. Lord who was a state senator for Yates County and was active in supporting the organization. The GPL Hook and Ladder name was used by the company for 18 years. Then at a village meeting in June, 1906 the department's name was changed to the Dundee Volunteer Fire Department.
The Dundee fire district covers some 58 square miles. In addition to the village of Dundee, the department also covers the town of Starkey, part of the town of Barrington and a corner of the town of Reading. Dundee contracts with these towns to provide a budget for the department on an annual basis. The Dundee fire department responds to about 150 calls a year. The emergency squad responds to more than 500 calls a year.
Firefighting history in Dundee includes volunteers, three building locations and apparatus and equipment procured from fundraising and budgetary contributions.
From the founding firefighters in the 1800s to the department's volunteers today, the people are at the heart of Dundee's success. The volunteers now include 40 firefighters, 14 emergency responders, provisional firefighters (age 16-17) along with specially-trained rope and rescue team members that were started in 1997. The Dundee fire department also has 25 lifetime associates.
The membership of the fire department has changed over the years. During the 1960s and 70s the fire department had a maximum membership of 60 people. The department had to keep a waiting list for people who wanted to join. In the 1980's the maximum membership increased to 90 people. Currently, the fire department and emergency squad have 54 active members. The decreasing number shows how the department has transitioned due to classes and training required by the department and the state.
Dundee also supports the idea to get young people involved in fire service. The provisional firefighters are able to take classes and do some work around the fire station but are somewhat limited with their involvement at fire locations.
From the start of the fire department in the 1840s until today the Dundee unit has had three different fire stations. The first station was built on Summer Street in Dundee. In 1857 a new fire station was built on Hollister Street. In 1953 that fire station went through major renovations so it could house all of the fire trucks. In 1969, the department's third and current firehouse on Union Street was built. In 1991 the emergency squad constructed its building which is still in use behind the firehouse. A lounge area / exercise room was built on the ambulance building in 2005. When the fire station was moved from Hollister Street to Union Street, the village decided to install a siren instead of a bell to warn the public of a fire. The old bell was placed in front of the new firehouse as a legacy keepsake.
The first known fire engine to be incorporated in the fire department was nicknamed "Comet" which ended its fire service career in the early 1900s. The next apparatus purchased by the fire department was nicknamed the "Red Rover". This engine was purchased in 1888. Also, in 1888 the village ratified action to purchase a "Hook and Ladder" truck. Around the turn of the century, three "chemical" trucks were purchased. These units were initially hauled by drag lines and later powered by a team of horses. Eventually, the tanks were mounted on a Model T Ford and a Studebaker. In 1955 a GMC 600 gallon per minute pumper was added to the department.
In 1948 the fire department incorporated the Dundee Fire Department Emergency Squad. In 1950 the Emergency Squad purchased its first ambulance. Due to the rural area, the Dundee fire department has also put in place throughout the district a 'dry fire hydrant' program. A dry hydrant is a long piece of pipe usually put out into a pond so the fire department can siphon water to use on a fire if necessary. The department has installed 13 dry hydrants across the fire district.
In 2022, the department has four main fire trucks that are utilized. The four rescue vehicles and three pumpers together can seat 16 firefighters, carries up to 5200 gallons of water and 40 gallons of foam. The rescue truck also includes the "jaws of life" apparatus for life-saving rescues.
Dundee also has a mini-pumper (used with the dry hydrants), two general use pick-up trucks along with a pump trailer for use with flooding emergencies. In addition, the department has a special rescue trailer for ice / water emergencies and rope rescues. The emergency responders have two ambulances for their use.
Dundee fire company vehicles have been purchased with taxpayer funding. The department also conducts fundraising events throughout the year to help offset the cost of other needed rescue equipment and supplies.

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