Early Firefighting in Hamlin
It began with bucket brigades that were formed by the town’s folk whenever an alarm was sounded. The alarm was a locomotive wheel supported by two posts that were placed at T.O Swanson’s barn, later moved to the blacksmith shop. When phones were installed, the alarm became a bell on top of the telephone office which was sounded whenever someone ran to the office to report an alarm or phoned in an alarm.
In 1913, a water line was installed through town to provide Brockport with a water supply from Lake Ontario. Hydrants were also installed to provide improved fire protection to Hamlin. Two Wirt Knox hose carts were purchased and two hose companies were formed. Hamlin Hose Company No.1 was located just north of the Baptist Church near the intersection of Hamlin Center Road and Lake Road across from Felt’s Hardware. Hydrant Hose Company No.1 was to be found further to the north, with their hose house located on Railroad Avenue, in Penner’s shed. The first field days were held jointly by the two companies in 1914.
The Town’s first motorized fire apparatus was a Model T Ford donated by Frank Newman who began selling Ford cars in 1913. A chemical fire fighting tank was purchased from the Buffalo Fire Appliance Co. and mounted on the Model T. This fire apparatus was able to be utilized outside of the hydrant area, as well as being used with the hose carts in the center of town. It is unknown when the chemical engine began service but records show that it was operating when the Hamlin Fire Department was formed in 1927.
The formation of the Hamlin Fire Department involved the consolidation of the three companies then operating: Hamlin Hose, Hydrant Hose & the Chemical Company. In 1929, a lot was purchased from Fred Fishbaugh and the old Number 6 School was moved to that location. The school building was converted to provide a truck room, a dance & large meeting hall and a kitchen on the first floor and a smaller meeting room on the second floor. A large siren was purchased and placed on the top of the building to sound alarms, activated from the telephone office across the street. The building remains on the current fire department property and is now recognized as Merritt Hall. In 1931, a full size, triple combination, Ward LaFrance pumper was purchased and placed into Hamlin new Fire Station, the relocated schoolhouse.