Our HistoryOur History

The Reserve Hose Fire Company has a long and rich history within the Town of West Seneca. In the early 1900’s, the southwest section of the town was known as “reserve”. This area had a small number of scattered farms and homes on its few roads. The only fire protection to be found was nearby neighbors with water buckets. The only other possible assistance came from the already organized fire companies of Seneca Hose and Vigilant. Reserve Hose Fire Company would be the last of the town fire companies to be formed in West Seneca.

In 1926, a group of residents in the area realized the potential growth of this section of the town and deemed it necessary to organize and build a fire house of its own. These founding members met in a place called “Deacon’s Hall”, which was on Orchard Park Road near Church Road. Sometimes referred to as Garvey Road, it was eventually formalized to what we now call Reserve Road.

It was at this place that the founders laid out the plans for the first fire house. William Ulrich, Sr. graciously donated the land on Berg Road to build the fire hall and, with a membership of approximately 35 members, a fire company was formed. On August 5, 1927, a Certificate of Incorporation was duly graced to the Reserve Hose Fire Company of the Town of West Seneca.

The first Board of Fire Commissioners of District #3 was elected to carry out the plans for the newly formed district. Richard Deacon, George Leible, Edward Wassman and Otto Krompardt would hold this responsibility. In 1930 the construction of a fire house was completed and they authorized the purchase of its first fire truck, a 1930 Buffalo Pumper from the Buffalo Fire Appliance Corporation. At a cost of $7,500, which was a considerable amount of money in the time of the Great Depression, this six cylinder Waukesha engine and 250-gallon booster tank were ready to take on whatever the new district could throw at it.

During the 1930’s and 40’s, much of the district remained underdeveloped. Most of the roads in this section of the town were without water lines or fire hydrants. Upon a fire call, it was necessary to draft water from existing wells, cisterns or the nearby creek. For first aid, Reserve Hose was one of the initial fire companies to purchase a resuscitator with inhalator. This equipment required two members to haul into a house or on to the scene of the emergency. It was also transported on the running board of the Buffalo pumper and was mainly used for cardiac cases.

With the onset of World War II, it was impossible to purchase or replace any fire equipment due to the country’s military priorities. Reserve Hose continued to use their beloved truck, and even into the early 1950’s, “Old Betsy”, as she came to be known, continued to provide outstanding performance and out class the new fire equipment of the time.

After the global conflict, the Town of West Seneca exploded with new streets, subdivisions, places of business and general population growth. The fire company had to keep up with this development to ensure proper emergency and fire protection to the community.

In 1954, through fund-raising with card parties, benefit dances and field days, a Dodge Panel Truck was purchased. This new vehicle was outfitted with all the necessary equipment required by the Red Cross and was used as the primary first aid truck for the district.

In 1957 a new Maxim Pumper fire truck was acquired. With the ability to pump 750 gallons per minute, this apparatus could meet the requirements of the rapidly developing town. At long last, “Old Betsy” had provided all it could for its twenty-seven years and was retired in 1958. The previous year also saw the expansion and remodeling of the original fire house. Later on, Reserve Hose became part of the Erie County Fire Radio System and fire radios were installed on all vehicles.

With continued town growth, a 1963 Ford Pumper and 1966 International Rescue Truck were purchased and put into service. This additional equipment filled the Berg Road fire house to capacity. It was then determined a new fire station was necessary.

A new sub-station was approved and constructed on East and West Road in 1967. This allowed for improved coverage and much quicker responses to the needs of this side of the district. Some of the equipment at Berg Road was moved to this new location.

In 1969, a Chevrolet First Aid Truck was purchased and added at East & West. The following year, the first diesel powered fire truck in the town was approved by the Fire District. An American LaFrance 250 GPM, along with the ’63 Ford and the ’57 Pumper, created a formidable team to battle any fire at a moment’s notice. The original 1954 Dodge First Aid Truck was retired and replaced with at ’73 Chevrolet Truck. All the latest Red Cross equipment was installed with it.

By 1972, the members of Reserve Hose had met all the Erie County standards for fire companies. This included members training in Chicago and Boston as M.E.T’s at the American College of Orthopedic Surgery.

Once again Reserve Hose led the town of West Seneca with the purchase of the first “snorkel” fire truck. A 1974 American LaFrance diesel, with a 55-foot boom and two-stage pump. At 1500 GPM, no fire was too big for this apparatus. This was followed up with a fully equipped 1980 Ford Horton Ambulance. It was also loaded with the latest first aid tools, including a defibrillator.

On May 6, 1982, the Fire District broke ground on a new fire hall at 2400 Berg Road. This location was directly across the street from the original fire house built in 1927. Construction was completed in 1983 and would house four emergency vehicles to answer district emergencies. It also included a beautiful grand hall for the company members and the community, complete kitchen facilities, fitness room, offices and equipment storage areas.

Continuing its commitment to District #3, the fire commissioners added the first Heavy Rescue Truck, a 1985 Ford. Labeled Truck #5, this apparatus would serve as a fabulous asset to the fire company. In ’86, a new ambulance replaced the old 1969 Chevy at the East & West Station. 1989 would include the acquisitions of two diesel F.M.C pumpers. Christened Pumpers #1 and #2, the 1500 GPM booster tanks mounted on Spartan chassis represented a strategic capacity increase for the company.

The 1980’s would prove to be a peak era for Reserve Hose as well as most of the volunteer fire companies around Buffalo. Membership was at its all-time high. The fire company was one of the first to meet all the New York State requirements for Advanced Life Support. 32 AEMT’s and 18 EMT’s were on the member rolls that had completed the arduous qualification training.


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