TERRYVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT
The Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Fire Department, Comsewogue Engine Company #1 obtained their first piece of apparatus in July, 1950, a 1950 Studebaker pumper. Echo Engine Company #2 followed with a 1950 International pumper. In 1951, the Patrol & Salvage Company #3 obtained a "Wonder Bread" truck that they converted to a fire truck. This truck was lovingly referred to as "The Bread Truck." Wood Patrol Company #5 had used a 1929 Maxim Motor truck donated by the Caggiano brothers. Since 1950, the department has had many pieces of apparatus, but only one with the off number of 6 7/8, a small truck purchased from the Bridgehampton Fire Department by the members of Company #3 to carry Indian Cans and other brush fire equipment.
As the district continued to grow, the Belle Croft Engine & Hose Company #4 was formed in 1959 and a new 750 GPM pumper was purchased for their use. The acquisition of the new trucks demanded an addition and renovation be done on the firehouse. In 1961, with more houses and shopping centers being built in the area, a groundbreaking for a new extension on the south side of Station One, where they would add three more truck bays. The construction was completed the following year and a special dedication ceremony was held on August 21, 1962. The department also had a Drum & Bugle Corps with Color Guard and a Drill Team. The firehouse or Station One, as it is now known, has undergone several renovations over the years.
A volunteer ambulance corps was added in 1965 with the addition of a Cadillac ambulance. This new piece of equipment was manned and operated out of Station One. The department also acquired its first ladder truck, a 1951 White/Pirsch, which had a 65-foot wood-steel reinforced ladder. This truck remained in service until a 1970 Sutphen, 85-foot ariel tower ladder was obtained and Ladder Company #4 was formed by Chief Andy Schmitt.
To end confusion with the Port Jefferson Fire Department officially called itself the Terryville Fire Department in 1970. Citizens would call the operator to report a fire. The operator would ask where they lived. The citizen would generically reply, "Port Jefferson." This added confusion to the emergency situation, when in reality they lived in Port Jefferson Station. Henceforth, the name was changed to the Terryville Fire Department.
With continued growth to the south, the need for a second fire station was apparent and Station Two was constructed on Old Town Road by Terryville Road in 1974. Two Companies manned the new station, Engine Company #2 and Rescue-Engine Company #5. With the passage of time, companies have reorganized, with Ladder Company #4 was combined with Rescue-Engine Company #5 to form Ladder-Rescue Company #4 and the Emergency Medical Corps became Emergency Medical Company #6
As the population continued to grow along with increased traffic in the area, Station Three, located on Canal Road was constructed and put into service in 2000. Again, a reorganization of the companies took place, and remains the same today with Company #1 responding out of Station One, Company #2 responding out of Station Two and Company #3 responding out of Station Three. A renovation of Station One also occurred that same year.
On May 6, 1949, the Ladies Auxilliary was formed. They held cake sales and other fundraising activities to buy resuscitators, air packs, and walkie-talkies, which were very much needed for the newly organized department. Many firematic items needed could not be purchased with tax funds and were obtained through their fundraising efforts.
After 2 years of preparation, the reorganized Fire Department went into service. The Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Fire Department was officially went into service on August 1, 1950 with one of the founders, Harold Hoxie as Chief of Department. The newly chartered department answered its first alarm, a brush fire, in August of 1950. 32 members responded to the call and with the Wood Truck, manned by Henry Turcq and Company #1 truck driven by Paul Freeth, the grass fire on Union Street was brought under control in about 20 minutes. A $25 cash prize offered to the first member to reach the firehouse was won by Dominick DeAngelo, who most generously donated it to the department. Chief Harold Hoxie complimented the members on their efficient and systematic handling of equipment, which brought the fire under control so quickly. A total of 17 alarms were answered in 1950.
On September 29, 1922, the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Fire Department was organized to protect life and property in the area. Under the direction of Chief Eugene McMurrin, one hundred and fifty members manned three pieces of apparatus which were stored at the old Loper Brothers Lumber storage shed. This building has also been previously used by the J.G. Lawrence Trucking Contractor. It was located in the parking lot of what is known today as the Port Jefferson Business Center between Fun4All and the Laundromat on Wilson Street, just south of the LIRR tracks.
In December of 1925, fire destroyed this building. As the Hook & Ladder truck was being retrieved from the burning building, it jackknifed and could not be undone. As a result, the two other apparatus, a Steam Engine Pumper and a Hose Wagon, were trapped in the fire and destroyed. The burned apparatus were later stored in the building on the northwest corner of the property that had been used by the Standard Oil Company of NY (Mobil) to unload oil deliveries from the train. That building still stands today. For the next 25 years, the Port Jefferson Fire Department covered the area.
During the late 1940's, with the expansion to the south rapidly increasing, the Port Jefferson Fire Department was unable to meet the demands of this fast growing community. A group of concerned citizens met for the purpose of again forming their own fire department. On January 26, 1948, that the first official meeting was called to reorganize the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Fire Department. By December, a bond issue was presented to the district requesting a new firehouse be built. It passed by an overwhelming majority. The original site of the first firehouse was Beck's potato farm. That land, located at Jayne Blvd and Route 112, was purchased and construction of what is called today as Station One was started immediately. The fire station consisted of just two truck bays. Under the direction of Chief Michael Scalice, a group of men began training and getting ready to put the Fire Department back into service.
Recognizing that the fire police personnel have a specialized function and a separate mission from that of the fire suppression personnel, Fire Police Company #5 was created on August 1, 2015. Fire Police personnel continue to train and drill on mission specific tasks such as fire scene safety, traffic control, fire scene support, and general hazard recognition. In April of 2016, due to the increase in the number of EMS alarms and the need to supplement the paid district EMS staff, the EMS Squad was created and the department has begun recruitment efforts for those interested in volunteering in an EMS capacity.
Over the years, the Terryville Fire Department has answered tens of thousands of alarms, starting back with that first alarm, a brush fire on August 16, 1950. In 1970, 641 alarms were answered. In 1989, 1,602 alarms were answered. In 1999, 2,056 alarms were answered. Today, we answer over 3,400 alarms per year. As is always the case, several major fires are still remembered; the Loper Brothers Lumber Yard, Lawrence Aviation (multiple times), Buttercup Dairy, Young's Potato Warehouse, Wilson Lace Mill, Hi-Lite Diner, along with mutual aid fires to our surrounding districts and the 1995 Wildfires.
As the Terryville Fire Department adapts to modernization, with over 65 years of dedicated service to the community, the men and women of the Terryville Fire Department stand ready to protect citizens and their property against the disaster that uncontrolled fire can bring.