Highlights in the History of the Loch Sheldrake Fire District

The Loch Sheldrake Fire Company traces its roots back to 1922, when a committee was selected to start a fire company.

The first recorded minutes of the new fire company, were on September 11, 1922. These records, and those that followed, tell the story of the early years of the Loch Sheldrake Fire District. Beginning with its first meeting, attended by five people and held at the home of J. Morgan Devine, the story unfolds.

The first tasks included raising money for fire hose and for the materials that would be required to construct a firehouse. With dues at 15 cents per month, the commissioners were given the task of securing the funds required to pay off financial obligations and secure the future of the young company.

Later that same month, on September 29, 1922, a motion was passed to have the Town Clerk call for a special election in order to raise $3600 for equipment. The vote was held on November 21, 1922, but the proposition was rejected by a vote of 31 to 21. The very next day, commissioners requested the Town Supervisor levy and collect a tax of $500 for the year. The remainder of the money had to be raised by donations.

The Company collected $950 plus $169.80 from two dances that were held by the district. Finally, in 1923, a motion was passed to raise the funds required to run the Fire District through a tax levy. To this day, a written budget is submitted to the town annually and funding for the district is done by taxes levied on all the residents served by the Fire Company.

Built on private property, the first firehouse did not get its siren until March 10, 1926. The siren was ordered from George Fraley at a cost of $400. Three hundred dollars was borrowed from the now established Fire Company and a note was given for the balance.

The Company purchased its first fire truck, a Sandford.

John Bullock Sr., a member of the Loch Sheldrake Fire Company, became commissioner for five years.

May 2, 1935 the Commissioners approved the first use of a fire truck in a parade in Middletown, NY.

The commissioners raised $2,500 to purchase the lot that the Firehouse was on. But those years brought their own challenges. Like so many others, the Loch Sheldrake Fire Company was plagued with shortages. Rationing of gas, tires and tubes weighed heavy on the district, especially since the old 1932 Sanford truck guzzled too much fuel.

On December 4, 1945, by a vote of 12 to 0, approval was given to purchase a ladder truck. Due to the war, it wasn’t until 1947 that an AM LaFrance truck with a 60 foot ladder was purchased for $20,000. The truck was delivered after the war ended and was housed in Russell's Garage, where they had to re-enforce the floor to accommodate its weight.

The Loch Sheldrake School House on State Route 52 was purchased as the new Firehouse. The roof was raised and truck bays were added downstairs. They now had a meeting room and a kitchen upstairs.

As the district grew the need for additional equipment increased and two Seagrave Pumpers on GMC chassis were purchased.

The Company was beginning to outgrow its current home and planning began to enlarge the Firehouse.

A two day search for a missing six year old boy has a successful ending. Again, to meet the growing needs of the community, a Ward LaFrance Diesel Pumper was purchased.

August 22, 1967, a professional Golf Tournament was held as a fundraiser. At the forty second Anniversary dinner John Bullock, Sr. retired as Chief after forty continuous years of service.

On July 24, 1969, the Company purchased its first ambulance, a 1965 M/M Ambulance for $5,500. In that same year, an addition was built onto the firehouse to house the ambulance.

Thirteen acres on Route 52 in Loch Sheldrake are purchased and become the Loch Sheldrake Fireman's Park.

In April the fire company assisted with the filming of the motion picture "Lenny".

A unique occurrence, Jim Magee Sr. Fire Police Chief and his two sons, Jim Magee Jr., Fire Chief, and Robert Magee Sr., 1st Assistant Chief, all wore “white hats” at the same time.

The fire company moved into the present day building at 1280, State Route 52, Loch Sheldrake.

Past Chief, Richard Comfort, was injured in a building collapse.

The Loch Sheldrake Fire Company hosted the first of several annual county parades. Shawn Edwards was recognized as “Fireman of the Year” for his rescue at an MVA at Morningside Four Corners.

January 4, 1999, Robert Magee Jr. became the Company’s second “Fireman of the Year” for his rescue of a person at a fire in town in 1998. The Loch Sheldrake Fire Company hosted its second annual county parade. .

September was to be the third county parade hosted by the LSFD. Because of the recent tragedy of 9/11 the Fire Department decided to dedicate the parade as a memorial to the victims.

A 35,000-gallon Mac Tanker was acquired with a Federal Grant.

A 70-foot Sutphen Platform (quint) was purchased.

Robert Kachelreiss received the award of “Fireman of the Year” for the rescue of a brother firefighter at a fire in Woodbourne in 2011. He also received “Honorable Mention” at the annual Hudson Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Association convention for the same rescue.

The former Brown's Hotel burned in April. It was the largest fire to date in the history of the Loch Sheldrake Fire Company. Forty-six fire companies provided mutual aid.




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