West Babylon Fire Dept. Eagle Engine Co. 6's History

Co 6 Patch

The actual date that Company 6 was formed is unknown. Today Company 6 uses the date June 9, 1959, as its anniversary, but since the creation of a new company was announced at Company 2's meeting on June 8, 1959, it appears that Company 6 was formed earlier. In fact, on January 12, 1959, the members of Company 2 decided to send a letter to the Board of Fire Commissioners advising them that Company 2 would chose which fire engine they would keep if a new company was formed. To complicate the matter, the records of Company 6 do not contain any record of its first meeting, and the minutes of the second meeting do not make any reference to any earlier meetings. On the other hand, the Company was fully organized before this second meeting, it had its Officers in place and had $500.00 in its treasury, presumably a share in the Departments Annual Fund Drive. At this "second" meeting the membership held a normal business meeting, with little reference to any organizational matters, except deciding on a permanent meeting day. In fact, the members were advised of their attendance percentage for December 30, 1958 to July 6, 1959. This Company was formed by members of Company 2 that were unhappy with members of Company 2. Most, though not all, wanted to become Officers and felt that all of Company 2's Officers came from a small clique which excluded them from being elected to any office. Company 6 was formed to give these men a chance to become Officers.

In some ways it is not surprising that this new company could be formed with little or no startup problems. Most, if not all its members had been members of Company 2. William Krollage Jr. was Chief of the Department, his father William Krollage Sr. had served as 3rd Assistant Chief and was the first Captain of Company 2. A number of other members of Company 6 had either been charter members or had held office in Company 2. These men had experience in starting a new engine company. Surprisingly, only one member of Company 6 followed Fire Department procedures by requesting an official transfer from Company 2, which was refused. Company 2 also refused to turn over to Company 6 the personnel records of the men that had "transferred" to Company 6.

Eagle Company 6's first few years were spent building up its membership and its treasury. It appears that the Company had a problem getting its members to attend Company drills and fires. This is not all that surprising, these were mostly experienced members that were operating one of the trucks that they had been originally trained on. Training problems aside, the combined experience of the members eliminated most of the growing pains that Company 2 had gone through. A review of the minutes of Company 6 would give the reader the feeling that this was a long established company. The only clue that this was a new company is found in the minutes of the meeting on May 15, 1960 when the members choose Green and White as the Company colors. The following month the members elected to purchase the first Company Jackets, at $5.00 each. Most of its meetings during the 1960s, were devoted to discussions on increasing the treasury and training. One of the schemes devised by the Company, to raise funds, was a "Booster Club." Under this plan the members of the Company would sell 150 tickets each month for a drawing at the Company's monthly meeting. The prizes each month was $25.00, $15.00, $10.00, $5.00, and $5.00. How much money this program generated is hard to say, but the members took it seriously. The September 11, 1962 meeting, had to be canceled because there were not enough members present to constitute a quorum, but the members present still held the monthly drawing. The following year the Company members discussed holding a "Donkey Baseball" game, but rejected this due to the risk of injury.

One of the major discussions at the meetings of both Companies through their history was vending machines. Almost as soon as the Fire House had been furnished Company 2 started a practice of purchasing beer and soda that was kept in the refrigerator. This was for the use of the Company, but the members were allowed to purchase it by leaving cash or an IOU that had to be paid at the next Company meeting. Some of the members felt that this system was being abused so they eventually approved the purchase of a vending machine to sell beer. Over the years the Company acquire a number of different vending machines, beer, soda, cigarettes, and snacks. Company 6 became involved with these vending machines sometime after it was formed. When is not clear as there is not any mention of it in their minutes. The money from these machines was divided between the Companies and at times was quite considerable. In the mid 1970s, the Station was buying, and selling, 100 cases of beer a month.

The 1970s, and 1980s, were a period of growth for both Companies, both in finances and personnel. Both companies continued to raise funds through various methods, but the original form of fund-raising, the annual Dance, was discontinued. The two Companies joined together to run a "Baseball World Series Pool" for a few years in the early 1970s. Later in the decade Company 6 started holding "Night at the Races" which was soon followed by Company 2. Both companies continued to hold raffles at various times during the year.

Finding a day to hold monthly meetings has been a problem for both companies. During most of its history, Company 2 has held its meeting on the second Monday of the month, though it did hold its meeting on Sunday mornings from February 14, 1954 to September 12, 1954 and again in 1990. Company 6's meetings were held on the second Tuesday of the month. The members of Company 6 also tried holding their meetings on Sunday morning. This lasted until 1972, when the Sunday meetings were dropped. When the members voted to drop the Sunday meetings, a crisis occurred in the month of December. The second Tuesday in December had always been the day when the Board of Fire Commissioners held their elections. Since the polling was conducted in the meeting room of Station 1 and 2, Company 6 did not have a place to privately and comfortably hold its December meeting. In 1972 they held their meeting in the truck house with members sitting on the equipment. A change in the Fire Department By-laws earlier in 1972 helped solve the company's problem. From its beginning, the Fire Department had held its election of officers in the spring, company officer in March, department officers in April, with all officers taking office in April. In 1972, the By-laws were changed and all elections were moved to the month of December with the new officers taking office in January. This change was made so that the Chief officers would take office at the same time that the Fire Department annual budget went into effect (there had been allegations that the out going Chief spent all the Chief's money before he left office in April.) Since the most important business at the December meeting now was the election of officer and all other business could be postponed, Company 6 decided that in the future they would hold their election outside the Fire House, at a local restaurant, the Silver Pheasant. This was so successful, an election and an election party at the same time, that Company 2 also adopted this practice a few years later. Today, the December meeting of all the companies in the Department, as well as the Officers meeting, are held in a restaurant.

Company 6 has always been more aggressive in its fund-raising activities and it appears to be a more socially minded group of individuals. Almost as soon as it had any money in its treasury it began spending it on social activities. In 1964, the members of the Company voted to use the money from its Savings Account to hold a fishing trip AND to take their wives to a Summer Stock or Jones Beach Theater. During the late 1980s, the Company held an annual "Progressive Dinner" in place of one of its monthly meetings. This was a dinner with each course prepared and served at a different member's home, ending with everyone returning to the Fire House for dessert. Company 6 was also one of the first companies to abandon the annual Installation Dinner in favor of spending a weekend at a Resort Hotel. This year the Company spent a weekend in the Bahamas.

1950 Mack when it was assigned to Co. 2

When the new Company was formed in 1959 Company 2's 1950 Mack was assigned to Company 6 as its first truck.

1968 Mack

The next new piece of equipment to be located at Station 2 was assigned to Company 6. At its June 1966, meeting a committee consisting of Captain Don McGill, Lieutenant Frank Gravano, James Donlin, Bob De Tota, Sal Arcuri, and Joe Tobin was appointed to start designing the Company's new engine. During the next few months this committee researched the various types of new fire engines available. Members of the committee also visited a number of Fire Departments that had just taken delivery of a new truck, for instance in July the Captain and Lieutenant visited the Farmingdale Fire Department to look at their new $38,000 diesel engine. The committee went so far as to have a member of the Company, Edward Brandel, visit the American La France factory in Elmira, NY. In addition to American La France they also considered a truck made by Seagrave Trucks. The process of designing a new engine is a very complicated affair. The Company committee, after looking at as many new trucks as possible, creates a basic design of what they would like on the new truck. Working with the salesman from various fire equipment manufactures this list is converted into specification for the new truck. After the specifications have been completed and approved by the Board of Fire Commissioners, it is made available to any fire equipment manufacture that wishes to bid on the new truck. The manufacture that submits the lowest price, and can make the engine that the Company requested, receives the contract for the new truck. This is how it works in theory. In actuality these specifications are usually based on a truck that only one Manufacturer can deliver and that company is usually awarded the contract. For Company 6's new truck, five companies requested a copy of the specifications. How many actually submitted bids and at what price, is not known.

On the 23rd of January 1967, bids for the new truck were opened with Mack submitting the winning bid. In July the members of the Truck Committee traveled to Allentown, Pa to inspect the truck in the Manufacturing Plant. The new Truck was delivered by Mack at the end of October, but was not put into service until December. This Truck was very similar to Company 2's 1962 Mack. The most important difference was that this was a 1000 GPM diesel and had two Booster Hose Reels mounted on each side above the pump control panel. Company 6 also used its jump seats differently than Company 2. They had a Scott Air-pack mounted on a quick release rack mounted on the rear of each of the Jump Seats. A third Air-pack was in a box on the hose bed. This Air-pack was later placed on a quick release rack in the hose bed.

1983 Mack

While Company 2 was working out the bugs in their new truck Company 6 was already starting to look for a new engine. In early 1980 the Company formed a New Truck Committee consisting of Joseph Arcuri, James Donlin, John Gerold, Thomas Karn, Richard Steffens and James Stirling. This committee worked quickly to design a truck to the Company's desires. One of the last fire engines manufactured by the Mack Truck Company arrived in Station 2 in March of 1983, and was placed in service in April. Like Company 2's Mack this was also a CF612 F15, 1500 GPM engine, but with a standard hose bed. Besides the hose bed the major difference between the two trucks was the water tank. This truck had a 600 gallon water tank and a 100 gallon foam tank with the capacity to generate foam from the engine instead of relying on the portable foam generator carried on Company 2's engine. Like their old truck Company 6's new engine was equipped with two Booster reels over the Pump with 250 feet of hose on each side. This engine carried two 1 3/4 inch attack lines of 200 feet each, 2000 feet of three inch supply hose. In 1985, 1000 feet of three inch hose was replaced by 1000 feet of five inch hose. Company 6 has always been very conservative in designing their trucks, each have arrived with only minor changes in the layout of the tools and equipment, thus requiring less training on each new engine than Company 2. During the life of all Fire Department equipment minor changes are made as a need arises or procedures change. In the early 1990s, a door was added to each jump seat for safety reasons. This engine has recently been replaced, but remains in the Department as a fully equipped spare engine, 1-9-20.

1997 Pierce

The latest piece of equipment to arrive at Station 2 is Company 6's new Truck, a 1997 Pierce 1500 GPM engine. This engine was designed by a committee consisting of Salvatore Calcagno, John Gerold, William Klein, Kevin McCaffrey, John Randazzo, Dale Shingler, Richard Steffens, and Richard Vella. The same amount of hose is carried on this engine as Company 6's old rig, and in a similar arrangement. One of the major differences between this and the old engine is the water tank, this engine carries 750 gallons of water and only 50 gallons of foam. Like Company 2's KME, this engine has a ten-man Crew Cab, the pump panel located behind the cab, and is very high. Unlike the KME, the pump panel is not enclosed and two steps fold down from inside the truck when a door is opened. The fire service in general is slow to adapt to new technology. The shift from buckets to hand pumper, from hand pumper to steamer, and from steamer to motorized pumper took place long after they were invented. Company 2 took a big step by replacing its hose bed with reels in 1978, but very few other companies have followed their lead. In fact the 1978 Mack was not retained as a spare engine because of the reels. Company 6 has also taken a step forward into the new age of fire equipment. Normally, the Deck Gun requires a firefighter to climb on top of the engine to manually direct the direction and height of its stream. On the new engine this is done electronically, by the pump operator using switches located on the pump panel. In theory, this makes Deck Gun operations safer and more efficient. This truck is still too new, it arrived in early June and was dedicated on July 26, 1997, to determine how practical this system really is.

 

Updated July 18, 1998 by Kenneth C Nee

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