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 Dep