Fire Police

 

The Department unit that has had the longest association with Station 2 has been the Fire Police. This unit was originally formed in 1949 as Fire Police Company 5. The first members came from the three companies formed in 1947, later members were recruited directly into Company 5. In May of 1968, Company 5 was disbanded as a company and became a Department Squad unit. All the former members of Company 5 were allowed to join any company of their choice. At the same time any member of the Fire Department was allowed to join Fire Police, in addition to his own company. Fire Police remained an active Squad, with members from every company, until July 1, 1972, when it became an independent Company 5 again. The new Company was assigned to the New Station 3 when it was completed in 1975. This time the Fire Police Company did not last as long as the first Company 5. In August of 1982, Company 5 was disbanded and its duties assumed by a Fire Police Squad again. The members of Company 5 were once again forced to join one of the other companies, most of them going back into the company that they had belonged to before Fire Police became a company. Today, Fire Police retains its squad status with its members coming from every company in the Fire Department.

The Fire Police's duties have changed a little over the years. The main duty, which has not changed, is assisting the Police with crowd control and security at the scene of an emergency, fire, or auto accident. In the 1950s, Company 5 did not have a Truck, each member used his own car to go to the scene. Since the only notice of an alarm was by sirens placed in various location within the Fire District, the Fire Policemen did not have a way of knowing where the incident was. Each member was assigned to a major intersection in the district. When an alarm was sounded the Fire Police members responded to his assigned corner and waited to see if the fire engines came his way. If a man saw the engines approaching him, he would stop all the traffic in the intersection until the engines had passed safely through the intersection and then follow them to the scene. If the equipment did not pass the intersection a Fire Policemen was protecting he would have to drive to the Fire House to find out the location of the alarm. The actions of two members of the Fire Police are noteworthy, though their names have been forgotten. One was a barber whose shop was on the East side of Little East Neck Road and 7th Street. He kept his Hat, Safety Vest, and Flashlight in his shop during working hours. When the sirens sounded an alarm he would leave his customer in the barber chair and run down to Little East Neck Road and Herzel Blvd. From this point he could see which way the engines left the Fire House, if they came his way he cleared the intersection, if they went the opposite way he went back to his customer. The other man was assigned to Little East Neck Road and Sunrise Highway. At that time Sunrise Highway was a divided highway with a grade level intersection. This Fire Policemen would park his car in the parking lot of the Carvel at the intersection. When he saw the trucks coming his way he would move his car across the two westbound lanes of traffic on Sunrise Highway and then leave the car there and run across the center divider and stand in the middle of the two eastbound lanes shutting down all traffic on the highway until all the trucks had passed safely. This practice was slowly phased out, the increase in traffic signals, bridges, and concerns for members safety finally ended this practice.

In 1959, Company 5 received it first Fire Police Truck. It was a GMC truck that was designed to carry men and equipment and was assigned to Station 2. Originally, this truck had a closed cab and an open rear section with bench seats on the inside and storage cabinets on the outside. Eventually, the Fire District had a cap added to the rear to help keep passengers and equipment out of the weather. This truck carried a large amount of equipment for traffic and crowd control, Traffic Cones, Fire Lines Tape, and Road Flares. Usually one or two members of Fire Police drove the truck to the scene and members from Station 1 rode on an engine or took their own car. During the last few years that this truck was located at Station 2 it was the target of numerous practical jokes on the Fire Police by other members of the Station. These jokes ranged from the locking both doors and hiding the key, to adjusting the spotlights on the rear of the truck so that they shined into the rear view mirror when the truck was started. The most elaborate practical joke consisted of attaching a length of nylon fishing line between the Bell and the rear wheel. This fishing line was connected so that as the truck was moved the Bell would ring, the faster it was driven the more often the Bell rang.

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In 1972, when Fire Police was made a Company again the Fire District purchased a large Heavy Rescue truck, it really was more than the Company needed. The old truck was retained as district utility vehicle. This truck, assigned to Station 3, carried, in addition to the Fire Police equipment, heavy rescue equipment, lights, and large air tanks used to fill Stations 2 and 3's Scott Bottles at the scene. The District purchased a Hurst "Jaws of Life" tool in 1979 and this was also placed on this truck. After the Company was disbanded in 1982, (possibly why it was disbanded,) the Fire Police was assigned a 1980 Ford Econoline 150 Van that had been used by the Hook and Ladder Company 4, and Company 4 took over the larger Truck. Since then the Fire Police Van has been assigned to Station 2.

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In the past year the District has purchased the Fire Police a new Van.

 

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Created July 21, 1998 by Kenneth C Nee