History of the Department

In the latter part of 1928, fifteen men, under the capable leadership of Thomas J. Kelleher, Sr., convinced of the need for fire protection in Verplanck, put their convictions into action. They formed a committee, and proceeded to raise the sum of $1,850.00 through public subscriptions. These funds provided for the purchase of fifteen hundred feet of hose, which was added to an old Ford truck donated by Mr. Kelleher, plus temporary quarters in Kings Barn on 5th Street. With this was the initial formation of the Verplanck Fire Department.

However, many obstacles were yet to be overcome before the Verplanck Fire District was to become a reality. The original committee, with the aid of a town appointed committee, circulated a petition and thanks to their persistence, success was achieved. A $30,000.00 bond issue was passed by the residents of Verplanck, which provided for the purchase of a new engine, firematic equipment, and a firehouse. The Westchester House on Sixth Street and Broadway was the Fire Department home until the new headquarters was built on Eighth Street in 1960.

The original election of Fire Commissioners for the District was held, resulting in the election of Thomas Kelleher as Chairman, Thomas Brennan, Henry Farrey, James Murray, Sr., William Curran and Lawrence J. Keefe as Secretary/Treasurer. Upon the election of these men, they immediately contracted for the renovation of the building and purchase of a 1,000 gallon pumper, hoses, nozzle, coats, etc.

The formation of the Company took place in March 1929 under the name of the Verplanck Fire Protective Association. William P. Hickey was its first President; Thomas Brennan was its first Chief. The ability and popularity of these two men was such that they are still considered as role models in these offices.

Over the past half century many additions and changes have taken place, both within the Verplanck Fire Company and the fire service as a whole. Aside from several rotations of officers, the company has acquired several apparatus, including a snorkel, new pumpers, a rescue boat, and an ambulance. The most recent addition to the Departmentís fleet has been the purchase of a 2001 Bronto Skylift Aerial Apparatus to replace the aging snorkel. In order to accommodate the growing department, additions have been made to the firehouse. In addition, many pieces of new life saving equipment have also been acquired to assist the men and women of the Verplanck Fire Company to better serve the residents of the fire district.

On September 11, 2001, the Verplanck Fire Department joined other fire departments from Westchester County and surrounding areas to assist the City of New York during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The department deployed one apparatus and a team of firefighters to New York City in order to help in any way possible. Since that day, Verplanck Firefighters and EMS workers, along with emergency services around the country, have been preparing for the possibility of future attacks. Despite the crushing impact 9/11 had on the fire service and the country as a whole, the members of the Verplanck Fire Department will always be ready, in any emergency, to help those in need.

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