The West Babylon Fire Department
There is no evidence of any formal fire department organized during the early years of the West Babylon hamlet. In all likelihood fire fighting was conducted by impromptu groups when the need arose. This was true of most of the Township of Babylon. The first known organized Volunteer Fire Department in the town was formed in 1877 in the Village of Lindenhurst, at that time named Breslau. Since the major population of West Babylon resided close to the border of the Village of Babylon, the Village Fire Department, organized in 1881, provided most of the fire protection in the area. Occasionally, the Lindenhurst Fire Departments also covered the south end, The north end was protected by the Volunteer Fire Companies from Wyandanch organized in 1925, and North Babylon organized in 1934. Some protection may have been provided by the East Farmingdale Volunteer Fire Company, which was created in 1926, but it seems unlikely, except in an extreme emergency, due to the great distance from their only Fire House, at the time, on Conklin Street. (The other five Fire Companies/Departments in the town, with their organizing dates are; Amityville Village - 1905, Copaigue - 1928, Deer Park - 1932, North Amityville - 1940, and North Lindenhurst - 1957.) During World War II a number of residents served as Auxiliary Firemen, part of the Civilian Defense Program. Starting in 1943 they used a fire engine loaned to them by the Babylon Village Fire Department. At the end of the war in Europe this engine was returned to the village and the Auxiliary disbanded. In July of 1945, many of these same men organized the West Babylon Volunteer Fire Company. The first action they took was to incorporate this new organization, which was approved by the Town on September 18, 1945. By November the group had increased from eight members to thirty. At a regular meeting that month held on November 8, 1945, in the West Babylon School, the volunteers approved the proposed by-laws and started planning fund raising activities. The officers elected at this meeting were: President Ellison C. Driscoll, Vice President Albert E. Kendall, Secretary Townsend E. Driscoll, Treasurer Hugo Avolin, and Trustees Stephen Smith, Max Ottens and James O'Brien. The only fund-raising activity that is recorded is a dance held at the Town Kaffay in Deer Park. Having been a success, in April a 1944 six cylinder Chevrolet fire truck from the War Assets Corporation and a company banner were purchased. At the April meeting the volunteers reelected all the officers and added a new title and officer, Financial Secretary Edwin Smith. West Babylon now had a Fire Company and a fire truck, but still did not provide its own fire protection. In order to understand this, one needs to understand how fire protection is provided on Long Island. There are three types of fire departments in the town of Babylon, Village Fire Department, Fire Company, and Fire District. The Fire Chief is the senior officer for fire suppression and training in each type, and is elected by the department members. The financial affairs are handled differently in each type of department. The first is the Village Fire Department. This is a fire department that is financed by the village residents and controlled by the elected officials of the village. Each year the Fire Department submits a budget to the Village Board for approval. The village officials then approve or reject this budget and set the village tax rate accordingly. The three village fire departments in the Town, Amityville, Babylon, and Lindenhurst have limited influence on the purchase of equipment and buildings, they must rely on the village officials to accept their recommendations. The second form of organization is the Fire Company, which is basically a private business organization that is owned by its members and sells its service, fire protection, to the Town Board. It is controlled by a board of directors who are elected by the members. They operate in an area of the town that is called a Fire Protection District. Annually, the Fire Company provides the Town Board with a projected budget that can be accepted or rejected. If the Town accepts this budget, it collects this fee through town taxes. In theory, the Town can reject the Fire Company's budget, but this would leave the area without any fire protection. All the members of the board must be members of the company and can do almost anything they want with the money they collect from the Town. Most of the Fire Departments in the Town fall into this category: East Farmingdale, North Babylon, North Lindenhurst, North Amityville and Wyandanch. The final type, a Fire District, is a separate branch of the state government. Like a school district it has an elected Board of Commissioners that is elected by all the residents. The Board of Commissioners create an operating budget each year. If the tax rate for this budget remains within a limit set by the state it is adopted without a vote. Any major changes in the tax rate and large expenses, such as new equipment or buildings, must be approved by the taxpayers of the district. All funds collected by the Board are subject to audits by the state and all equipment and buildings are owned by the public. While the members of the Board do not have to be members of the fire department they usually are and usually try to follow the wishes of the membership. In the Town of Babylon only Copiague, Deer Park, and West Babylon are Fire Districts. Not all Fire Protection Districts are covered by Fire Companies. Today, Venetian Shores, the area west of West Babylon and East of the Village of Lindenhurst, is a Fire Protection District protected under contract by the Lindenhurst Village Fire Department, and the barrier beaches receive fire protection from the Village of Babylon. During the 1940s, West Babylon was divided up into four Fire Protection Districts. The District 2 and 8, in the south end were under contract to Babylon Village and District 3 and 4 were protected by Wyandanch. This is the reason that the newly formed West Babylon Volunteer Fire Company could not actively fight fires. On June 24, 1946, the officers of the WBVFC met with the Babylon Village Board to request permission to handle part of the fire protection in their area, reportedly grass fires. At this meeting Mayor J. Vincent O'Shea informed the attendees that the contract for fire protection was between the Village and the Town and only the Town Board had the authority to make any changes to it. For the time being, the WBVFC continued to raise funds, mainly through old newspaper drives, train with neighboring Fire Departments, and attend various parades as a new unit waiting for the day that they could function as a real Fire Department. Early in 1947 the members of the WBVFC acted to create an operating fire department. In its issue of February 13, 1947, the Babylon Leader announced the location of the property purchased for a fire house: "It runs from the west side of the old Taylor Homestead on Arnold Avenue to Muncie Avenue across the street from the Wilkane property." This same issue reminded the residents to call Leonard Sears at Babylon 1533-J or David Wagner, Babylon 1396-J to have the ""Big Red" fire engine" pick up old newspapers. On the last Thursday of February a nine member committee attended a meeting of the Huntington Manor Fire Department to hear a speech on "Advice on Fire Departments" given by State Commissioner Benjamin West. The main topic of discussion at the company's regular meeting in March was building plans for the fire house. Possibly the most important meeting of the WBVFC held to date was on March 17, 1947. At this special meeting were members of Argyle Hose Company of the Babylon Village Fire Department and "William Thompson and R. West both Southern New York State Fireman's Association representatives from Albany." It was at this meeting that a plan was developed to form an official Fire Department and to have representatives of the WBVFC "make calls on all people of West Babylon as soon as possible" to explain this plan. A few weeks later, on April 5, another meeting was held of the WBVFC, and members of the Babylon Village Fire Department residing in West Babylon and other taxpayers of the community. At this meeting a committee was formed to formulate plans for the purchase of apparatus and equipment necessary to maintain an "adequately equipped" fire department. In attendance at this meeting was Seth Cole, chairman of the Law Committee of the New York State Volunteer Fireman's Association, who was retained to handle legal matters of the proposed department, William A. Thompson, president of the Southern New York Firemen's Association, and Joseph West, Fire Commissioner of Sayville. The meeting closed with the announcement that petitions would be circulated in the near future for taxpayers' approval. Following a meeting of this committee on April 22, a spokesman for the group said "progress is being made and it is hoped that in the very near future the committee will be in a position to give the taxpayers a schedule of costs and whatever further information they desire." Taxpayers of the community were also advised that the proposed fire department was an entirely new organization and upon activation of the new department, the WBVFC would become a company in the new organization. The May 15, 1947, issue of the Babylon Leader printed three small articles in its "West Babylon Notes" column. The article of lasting consequence, informed the readers that Mr. and Mrs. Ellison Driscoll had been guests at the installation dinner of the Deer Park Fire Department. Mr. Driscoll had been reelected Chief of the WBVFC at its April 7th meeting. By accepting Deer Park Fire Department's invitation, Chief Driscoll may have started the tradition of the West Babylon Fire Chief attending the installation dinner of the other departments in the town. More importantly was the announcement that members of the WBVFC were presenting their petition to the taxpayers and requested everyone's cooperation. Possibly the most important article in the history of West Babylon was: Fire Eaters Special!! A special meeting of the West Babylon Volunteer Fire Company and the Argyle Fire Company will meet at the West Babylon School this Friday night, (May 16). At this time the two companies will make an effort to combine, forming the "West Babylon Fire Department." All taxpayers are cordially invited to attend this meeting at the school. The outcome of this historic meeting is still being felt today. On Friday May 16, 1947, Chairman Ellison Driscoll opened the special meeting of the WBVFC, resident taxpayers and members of the Babylon Fire Department by explaining that the purpose of the meeting was to create a new fire department in the unincorporated area of West Babylon. He then introduced Mr. William Froehlick of the WBVFC, who explained the present form of fire protection for the area. Mr Froehlich continued his talk by suggesting the advantages to the community of having its own fire department not only in the south end, but also in Ezra Park (north end.) He introduced the notion that this new fire department "would bring a certain amount of socialibility (sic) to the community." Next, Mr. William Nagengast of the Babylon Village Fire Department reminded those present that 51% of the resident taxpayers signatures were needed on the petition to create a new fire department before it could be presented to the Town Board. He also informed the meeting participants that a fully equipped and ready to start operation had to be in existence before the Town Board gives its decision. At this point in the meeting Chairman Driscoll called on Mr. Thompson and Mr. West. Both men had attended a previous meeting and felt that West Babylon could support it own fire company and could lower fire insurance rates by doing so. They also warned that before any petitions were presented to the Town Board, a fully equipped fire company must be established with elected officers and a set district. After a question-and-answer period, Mr. Driscoll closed the meeting of the resident taxpayers and requested Mr. West to act as Chairman for a meeting of the WBVFC. In his opening remarks at the company meeting, Mr. West informed the members that a new fire company should first select a name that would go into its constitution and then the membership could be divide into smaller engine and/or ladder companies. He also advised them to nominate a chief, a chaplain, and, if the company owned any property, three trustees. Immediately after his remarks, a motion was made, seconded and passed to name the new organization the "West Babylon Volunteer Fire Department." After some discussion among the members it was decided to elect a Chief, First Assistant Chief, and a Second Assistant Chief to a one year term, and each were to serve no more than two consecutive terms. A secretary, treasurer, and three trustees were included in the slate of officers. Under the supervision of Mr. West the WBFD held it first election of officers. After the election, in which all offices except trustees were uncontested, Mr. Thompson installed the following officers: Ellison Driscoll, Chief; William Froehlich, First Assistant Chief; Thomas Simon, Second Assistant Chief; Townsend Driscoll, Secretary; Carl Blair, Treasurer; Max Ottens, George Ketcham and William Nagengast; trustee. Alfred Wood, who was defeated for the office of trustee, and Thomas Simon were from Ezra Park. As soon as the new officers had been installed, Chief Driscoll took over the meeting and went right to work. He appointed a committee, consisting of William Nagengast, Ralph Johnson and Alfred Wood, to draw up a set of By-Laws. The members voted that each member contribute one dollar to the treasury and organize a Bazaar. Chief Driscoll appointed William Nagengast, William Froehlich, Mr. Ruggles and Arpad Ostheimer to the Bazaar committee. Next the members voted to join the Southern New York Firemen's Association with Chief Driscoll as delegate and Fred Heverly associate delegate and authorized the four dollar dues be paid. Finally, the Chief suggested that all publicity be cleared though William Nagengast. Thus ended the first meeting of the West Babylon Volunteer Fire Department. During the succeeding months, the members continued to visit taxpayers to obtain signatures on the petitions for a new fire district. The department minutes for the first couple of years shows that the members were working to create a new fire department and at the same time acting like a full fledged fire department. At their July 1, 1947, meeting the Bazaar committee reported that the Bazaar would be held on August 25th on the "Wederidarf[sic] property" at the corner of Pine Street and Little East Neck Road. At this meeting the membership was informed that William Froelich and the trustees had placed a $50.00 deposit on a 1930 Mack fire truck owned by Franklin Squire Munson Fire Department. The asking price of this truck was $2500.00. The secretary was instructed to contact Mr. Hoag of Suburban New York Fire Underwriters of New York City to discuss the equipment that the department would need. In addition to these steps taken to create a working fire department, the members also decided to join the Town of Babylon Firemen's Association and to march in the Town Parade on August 2nd, "members parading to wear dark trousers and white shirts." Like most new organizations the company had some growing pains. At the first meeting a Bazaar Committee had been appointed, but this committee could not handle all the work needed to run the fire department's first bazaar. On July 22nd, a special meeting was held to appoint individuals to perform specific jobs, such as the building of booths. This meeting had an effect that the members probably did not realize at the time; this was the first project that these men had to work on together. Interestingly, a number of the men assigned to one job -- carpentry -- became the nucleus and leaders of Company 2 when it was formed two months later. The August meeting was again devoted to creating a fire department. This meeting was the most important for the residents of Ezra Park (north end). Assistant Chief Froehlich reported that Mr. Hoag assured him that residential insurance rates would not increase if the department had one 700 gallon pumper with 1000 feet of hose and 1000 feet of 2 1/2 spare hose in the present district #8 (south end). District #3 and 4 (Ezra Park) would require a 200 gallon booster truck housed within three miles of the district to maintain their present tax rate. Mr. Hoag also informed the Chief that the department needed 15 members ready for duty at all times and suggested that the department have trained "fire policemen." It was at this meeting that the department was reorganized into three different companies: Company 1, from the West Babylon Volunteer Fire Company, Company 2, from the residents of Ezra Park, and Company 3 from the balance of men. The remainder of 1947 was devoted to organizing the department and creating a fire district. In September, each of the three new companies held its first meeting, elected officers and started fund raising projects. The results of the Bazaar were reported in November -- gross proceeds $3,561.09, total cost $2,222.96, net profit $1,338.13. The officers, both department and company, met during this period as an executive committee to purchase fire equipment and follow the instructions from Mr. Cole to form a fire district. For example, in November they purchased a 1926 American La France pumper from the Village of Lindenhurst for $100.00. At its December meeting the executive committee decided that each company should pick one of its members and the department would pick two non-members to act as commissioners for the new fire district. The Fire Department held its first meeting of 1948 on January 6th. This meeting resulted in a flurry of activity that formed a fully functioning fire department. At this meeting Chief Driscoll reported that the petitions had been returned from Mr. Seth Cole and were now in the hands of the Town Assessor for his approval. The companies each announced their appointment for commissioner; Company #1 - Max Ottens, Company #2 - Alfred Wood, and Company #3 - William Nagengast. Charles Taylor and Thomas Sprague were suggested as commissioners from "outside of department[sic]." On February 3, 1948, the petition, after receiving approval by the Town Assessor, was presented to the Town Board. Two days later the Babylon Leader carried Legal Notices announcing a public hearing on February 24, 1948, to dissolve the four Fire Protection Districts and the establishment of a new West Babylon Fire District. At the public hearing all the proposals were presented with no opposition from the public, though no action was taken by the Town Board at that time. At its March meeting the members of the Fire Department voted on three men to be nominated as the two fire commissioners from outside of the fire department. William McHenry and Charles Taylor received more votes than Thomas Sprague. Their names, along with the three men from the companies, were sent to the town as the department's choice for the first Board of Fire Commissioners. April 20, 1948, is a significant date in the history of West Babylon. The April 15, 1948, issue of the Babylon Leader had announced that the Town Clerk had notified the department that the State Controller had approved the new Fire District. On this date the Town Board appointed William Nagengast, Max Ottens, Alfred Woods, Charles Taylor, and William McHenry as the first Fire Commissioners. The Town Board also appointed Clarence Johnson treasurer of the Board. Mr. Johnson had been nominated for this position by the Fire Department's executive board. The new commissioners were informed by the Town Board that they needed to meet with the Town Clerk within ten days of their appointment to elect officers and that their term would run until December 31, 1948. The Town Board set the second Tuesday in December for the public election of Fire Commissioner. In 1948, five Commissioners were elected to fill terms of from one to five years, all subsequent elections were for five year terms. The new Commissioners went right to work. At the regular monthly meeting of the Fire Department on May 7, 1948, the Board of Fire Commissioners stated that they had elected William Nagengast as Chairmen. Mr. Nagengast reported that the Board had voted to purchase the Army Truck and other property owned by the West Babylon Volunteer Fire Company. The Department voted to turn over to the district all the trucks that the department had purchased and that the district would pay the balance owed on these trucks. Apparently the line between District and Department was very thin at this time. The big day for the new district came on August 10, 1948. On that day the new district held a special election to authorize the issuance of Bonds for four Propositions. The effects of this election were expected to raise the tax rate to 35 cents per 100 dollars of assessed valuation up 10 cents from previous contracts with the other Fire Departments. Proposition #1 To purchase property on Arnold Avenue at an estimated cost of $1,950.00 and construction and equipment for a Fire House at a cost of $20,432.00
Proposition #2 To purchase property on Herzel Boulevard at an estimated cost of $1,650.00 and construction and equipment for a Fire House at a cost of $15,000.00
Proposition #3 The purchase and installation of a Fire Alarm System at a cost of $2,500.00
Proposition #4 Purchase of Fire Fighting equipment and vehicles as follows: a) One American La France 500 gallon pumper at a estimated cost of $7,500.00 b) One Chevrolet fire truck 300 gallon pumper at a cost of $1,250.00 c) One American La France Type 12 pumper at a cost of $400.00 d) One American La France Hook and Ladder Truck at a cost of $300.00 e) One American La France 500 gallon pumper at a cost of $500.00 f) Equipment for the trucks at an estimated cost of $6,518.00
The results of the vote was favorable: Proposition #1 120 to 16 Proposition #2 115 to 20 Proposition #3 120 to 15 Proposition #4 121 to 15. Throughout this period, while the new Board of Fire Commissioners was creating the Fire District, the members of the Fire Department were busy. One of the main concerns of the department was training. Starting when the WBVFC was formed, the members attended Fire School at North Babylon's Hale Road Fire House each month. In the April 22, 1948, issue of the Babylon Leader, an article about the new training program set up by the Suffolk County Vocational Education and Extension Board appeared. This article announced that members from 44 departments in the county had completed the program. To receive a certificate from the state Department of Education each man was required to attend at least 85% of the lessons and score at least 75% on a written examination. Included in the list of Fire Departments that had members receiving this certificate was West Babylon. The members of the department continued to raise funds, attend parades and perform all the regular functions, except fight fires. At the April 8, 1948, meeting the membership reelected all the officers for a second term except the trustees. The new trustees elected at this meeting were Stephen Smith, Fred Malscheimer, and Ralph Johnson. On May 30th the department marched in their first Memorial Day parade in West Babylon, a tradition that was followed until the early 1970s. In June, the membership voted to join the Firemen's Association of the State of New York and in July the Suffolk County Firemen's Association. During the summer of 1948, the members marched in parades and attended Bazaars at: Amityville, East Brentwood, Lindenhurst, and Wyandanch. Raising money was still a very important part of the department's business. Even though the community had petitioned to create a new Fire District, they had not approved any funds for its operation. At almost every meeting during the year of 1948, the Fire Department was presented with bills from various service stations for gas and oil for the trucks. At the July meeting it was announced that the Watch Raffle, held in May, netted $208.75. In 1948, the Fire Department held their Bazaar on July 26 through the 31st. That year the Bazaar "cleared $2300.00 with a few outstanding bills not paid." As small as their treasury was, the members were still willing to spend money for nonessential items that they felt were worthwhile. In September, the Fire Department paid for a picnic for the families of its members. In July, they voted to donate $15.00 toward a Silver Trophy Cup for the Town Firemen's Associations tournament. More importantly, they purchased Three Silver Bracelets, for $13.65, that were awarded to the Honor Students of the West Babylon School. Scholarships honoring academic excellence are still donated today. The annual Bazaar did not end when the Fire District started paying the department's operating expenses. Every year this annual event was held to raise funds for the additional expenses of the Department that could not be paid by taxes. When the department started using a door to door fund drive to raise money, the Bazaar was used to pay for a Christmas party for the children of the Fire Department members. This event did not attract the interest of the younger men entering the Department in the 1970s. In 1977, the Fire Department held its last annual Bazaar, and alternate means, such as Las Vegas Nights, were developed to raise funds for the Children's Christmas Party. Most of the fall meetings were devoted to refining the department's by-laws, and in purchasing chairs and kitchen equipment for the Fire Houses that the District was building. At the last regular meeting of their final year as an inactive Fire Department, the members decided to form a Hook and Ladder Company and a Fire Patrol Company. The final meeting of the Fire Department in 1948 was held on December 28th "for last minute discussion regarding fire house - trucks, etc., before taking over Contract Jan 1st." At the stroke of 12 on December 31, 1948 the sirens on the newly-built West Babylon fire houses on Arnold Avenue and Herzel Boulevard were sounded to welcome in the new year and to let West Babylon residents know that at the same time the West Babylon Fire Department had finally begun to function. This was the opening statement written by reporter J. Rinaldo in an article titled "Bingos, Bazaars, Barn Dances Aided New Fire Dept." that appeared in the January 13, 1949, issue of the Babylon Leader. This article briefly described the efforts that the new volunteer firemen exerted in creating a new fire department. The original members, many of whom remained members for the rest of their lives, were not satisfied with just starting a new fire department - they wanted the best fire department they could possibly have. Almost immediately after activating the new department, improvements began. In January and February they formed a Hook & Ladder Company 4 and Fire Police Company 5. In December the members of Company 4 purchased an ambulance with money donated to the department for this purpose by Babylon Village's Mayor Munson. Beginning in the mid-1950s, the ambulance was manned by a Rescue Squad that was made up of men from all five companies. Since 1949, the Fire Department has continued to grow along with the community. During most of the 1950s, the majority of fires were brush and woods type. By the 1960s, woodlands had been replaced by residential houses, and the "typical" fire became a house fire, along with a few commercial structures. During the 1980s, the department saw another shift in its needs. As the community had become older the need for an ambulance became the clear necessity. Today there are almost four times the number of rescue calls as fire calls. The department has kept up with the changes in its role in the community. In 1959, Company 2 was split into two companies, Company 2 and Company 6, with one fire engine each. By the 1970s, the growth of housing and shopping centers south of the railroad right-of-way made a third fire house necessary. In 1974 Company 8 was formed in the newly built fire house on Great East Neck Road north of Montauk Highway. The increased number of ambulance calls in the 1980s, made it difficult for the firemen to handle alone. In 1989, the Fire Department changed its By-Laws to allow residents that did not want to fight fires to join the department as Rescue only members and become Emergency Medical Technicians. This change brought the first women into the department. Today there over 20 women EMT members and three women firefighters. The Fire District has also supported the growth of the department. In the 1950s, in addition to replacing the old fire equipment used to start the department with new engines, they purchased a car for the Chief. The new Chief's car, a 1956 Buick costing $2,2850.50, was delivered on April 30, 1956. The Board of Commissioners has set up a schedule to replace each companies pumper every 15 years and the Chief's car every two years. In the 1970s, the board acquired cars for all the assistant Chiefs. The additional work done by the rescue squad required a second ambulance in the mid 1980s, and a third was purchased in 1995. Now each of the three fire houses has its own ambulance. The large number of Motor Vehicles that the district owned created periods when some of the engines were sent out of the district for repairs, thus denying the community some protection. Recently the district constructed a fully equipped maintenance shop behind Station 1 and hired a full time mechanic. In addition, starting this year, when an engine is replaced it will not be sold immediately, as has been past practice. Now the old engine will be saved, restored and retained, as a spare engine. This spare engine will be replaced every time a new engine is purchased. Over the past fifty years the alarm system has constantly been upgraded. The first system consisted of a siren on each fire house. Later, more sirens were added around the community. The original members of the rescue squad received notification of an alarm by a phone call from the group's leader. Two events in 1962 had a major impact on the alarm system. The first was the creation of Babylon Central Fire Alarm by members of the West Babylon and Deer Park Volunteer Fire Departments. Also in 1962, the sirens were supplemented by electronically activated radios in each member's home. By 1981 the department, under pressure from the community, replaced all the sirens with individual pagers carried by all members of the department. The first trucks the department had were not equipped with a radio. Today not only are all vehicles equipped with a radio, each piece of equipment also carries a portable radio for the use of the officers away from the truck or ambulance. Babylon Central Fire Alarm was originally set up by members of West Babylon and Deer Park Fire Department to handle dispatching of their fire departments after the Town Police was replaced by the Country Police Department. BCFA, originally a small private business, was created to provide a dispatch office dedicated to the fire service. In its early years BCFA only dispatched a few fire departments, West Babylon being a charter member, with each department paying an annual fee for this service. During the past thirty-five years it has grown to include almost every Fire Department in the Town (Amityville is dispatched by the Village Police and East Farmingdale employs it own dispatchers), and Wyandanch-Wheatly Heights Ambulance Corps. In the near future BCFA, which is now operated by the Town of Babylon Chiefs Association, will also dispatch East Farmingdale and the Islip Town fire department in West Islip. BCFA provides its member departments a complete range of services from receiving emergency calls from the public, dispatching fire and ambulance units, coordinating Police and public utilities response, to providing responding fire units necessary information, from its computer data base, about fire hydrant locations and hazard materials stored in the burning building. It keeps records on all alarms and provides statistics to each member department. It also has provided employment to a number of firemen, all EMT's who can give limited assistance over the phone in medical emergencies. Fifty years has seen significant changes in the community and its fire department. In 1949, the five trucks of the West Babylon Volunteer Fire Department responded to 73 calls. With the addition of an ambulance in 1950, the department responded to 183 alarms, of which 103 were for the ambulance. Last year, 1996, with over 20 pieces of equipment the volunteers of West Babylon answered 2541 calls for assistance from its residents.
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