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Congratulations to the PLATTSBURGH FIRE DEPARTMENT for More Than Two Centuries of Public Service

by Mary Carpenter

In 1815, just months after the Battle of Plattsburgh, the War of 1812 ended, the country and the North Country were looking forward to the future. Later that same year, the city of Plattsburgh and the Plattsburgh Fire Department were incorporated. At the time, fire was a significant threat. Most buildings were made of wood. Lighting was by candles or kerosene lamps. Heating and cooking were by fire. One spark could start a blaze.

Recognizing the danger, the fire department published an ordinance in 1816 that stated, “it is the duty of every able-bodied man to fight fire in the village or pay a fine of $5.”

In 1840 the department purchased its first piece of equipment, a second hand, hand-pumped fire engine from the City of New York, that was capable of throwing a 3/4-inch stream through 100 feet of hose to a distance of 100 feet.

By the early 20th century, a group of call firefighters was organized and fire alarm boxes were installed in member’s houses. Those who joined were paid $1 for a call and $2 for services at a fire.

Until 1910, the present site of Trinity Park was a residential and commercial area. A Town Hall, built on lower Court Street, housed the city’s first fire house on the ground floor. When the structures in the area were demolished to make way for the new City Hall, the firehouse moved across to the south side of Court Street making room for more equipment and a horse stable.

In 1913 The Plattsburgh Fire Department consisted of six paid firefighters, 12 call firefighters, and 50 volunteers.

1915 ended the era of horse pulled engines and began the time of motorized fire trucks.

The fire Department’s Cornelia Street station was completed in 1949.

Three years later the department received its first ambulance through donations from the Kiwanis Club.

A second Fire Station on South Platt Street opened in 1958.

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