About us

Mission Statement


To promote a safe environment for all areas, protected by the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. To respond to fire, rescue, medical and other emergencies and to provide non-emergency services to public benefit. The Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., however does not attempt to perform confined space rescue.

WITH THIS MISSION, THE FIRE COMPANY HAS FOUR GOALS:

To reduce the frequency and severity of fire and hazardous materials emergencies through prevention and education.

To minimize suffering, loss of life and property from fire, hazardous materials, medical and other emergencies through response programs.

To ensure preparedness through training and district wide community training and education.

To provide the resources and support necessary for the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. to accomplish this mission.


History


History compiled by the 50th Anniversary Committee in 1987… “SO, IT WAS DONE” Skeptics said it was impractical if not impossible. The Great Depression was in its seventh year,unemployment was high, money was scarce. Yet a handful of men proposed to start a volunteer fire company. None had firefighting experience. They had no equipment, no land, no building. Even more forbidding was the knowledge that they would be responsible for the entire costs of start-up and operation. Still, with courage and bravado, hope and determination and countless hours of hard work, they accomplished their goal. This is their story and a partial account of the company they founded. While credit is given to some, it is impossible to list the hundreds of volunteers who have given so much of their time and efforts to their community. THE LAKE SHORE STORY THE EARLY YEARS – 1937 – 1946 The Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company had its genesis during a pinochle game in late 1936 at a meeting of the Lake Shore Goodfellows Club, an informal organization which met weekly in homes of members to play cards, discuss the events of the day and have refreshments. Much of the discussion that evening was of a fire that had recently destroyed the Old Heidelberg Club, a nightclub on Route 5, near Walbridge Drive. Neighboring fire departments had responded but time and distance was too great for them to save the building. One of the card players suggested, perhaps half-jokingly, “Maybe we should start our own fire company.” The remark started a general discussion. This led to formation of a committee to determine what would be involved. In early 1937, after writing many letters and taking with personnel of established fire units, they reported that, yes, it was possible but would require a lot of money, work and most importantly, support of the community. That support, they said, might be forthcoming if the proposed fire company could provide enough protection to the 300 homes and businesses in the district to win a higher insurance rating. The area had a rural classification and insurance premiums were relatively high. Consensus of the Goodfellows was to take the plunge. Member Wayland W. Williams, an attorney, offered to prepare an application for a charter. With surprising speed, the New York Secretary of State issued the charter April 27, 1937. It was closed the following September with 43 charter members. A 15-member board of directors was appointed to administer business until an election to be held the following year. F. Herman Filsinger was chosen as president, Joseph Puglisi as vice president, Frank D. wolf as secretary and William V. Cole as treasurer. They held their first meeting June 11th, 1937. The small treasury of the Goodfellows Club was turned over to the fledging company. A dinner and dance at the Alhambra Club netted almost $575. With such wealth at their disposal, the board began a quest for equipment and quarters. At the first meeting of the company membership September 3rd, 1937, they reported that through the efforts of Clyde W. Slater the Buffalo-Mount Vernon Development Company was “heartily in favor” of the fire company and had offered to donate a 200- by-300 plot on Rogers Road west of the railroad right-of-way. The property contained an abandoned 14-by-30 foot tool shed. The directors told the company that the Buffalo Fire Department had offered to sell a 1919 Pierce Arrow chemical truck for $75 and recommended the purchase. The truck was no more than a mobile chemical fire extinguisher. It had no pump – but it did have a siren and a red light. Members concurred – the company had made its first expenditure. A committee, headed by member William R. Doll, a local home builder, was appointed to study the best way of utilizing the offered Rogers Road property and building. The board of directors, on September 10, 1937, appointed William A. (Bud) Miller as chief, T. M. Dodds as financial secretary, and August Bindeman as sergeant-at-arms. A committee was named to draft a constitution, another to recommend what additional equipment was needed and ways and means of obtaining it. The company accepted the donated property September 17, 1937 and asked Mr. Doll to give an estimate on the costs of putting the building into condition such that it could be used as a garage and meeting hall. He later reported that a heating system, lavatory and primary kitchen facilities could be installed for about $1500 but only if the members would do all the work. A series of dinners, dances and card parties were held to raise money but it soon became obvious that another funding source would have to be found. The answer of course was to borrow the money but the barely-established company, with no certain income, had no credit. In October, 1937, peoples Bank of Hamburg agreed to lend $1,500 if members would sign a note as individual guarantors. Thirty-five of the then 64 members agreed to take the risk. When debt was discharged, the note was framed and hung in a place of honor. Work was going full tilt on the building. Men worked every weekday night, Saturday afternoons and all day Sundays. A used furnace and ductwork was installed, a concrete floor was poured, plumbing and a toilet were added, the roof was patched and a 145–foot-long ditch was dug for a sewer line. A lean-to was built for the lone piece of fire fighting apparatus. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Belinson of the Ricaby Corporation and a member of the Eggertsville Hose Company, Eggertsville sold the company a used signal system, that included a siren, 24 alarm boxes and a decoder (a hole punching device) for $300.00. The siren was mounted on poles donated by New York Telephone Company, members strung the wire from alarm boxes located at strategic points to the hall. Arrangements were made with State Police at the Athol Springs substation to receive telephone alarms of fire. A trooper would then drive to the hall and activate the siren. Later, a relay was installed to allow the siren to be blown from the substation. Furniture for the meeting room was donated by members. Each was assessed twenty-five cents per meeting for refreshments. A ping-pong table was bought for $6 – members paid ten cents for three games. Company meetings were long and often tumultuous. Those speaking without recognition from the chairman were fined ten cents. Secretary Wolf noted in the minutes on one occasion, “The meeting was finally adjourned to the relief of everyone - - especially the Secretary.” The goal for 1938 was to earn a Class C insurance rating for the district that would mean as much as a 40 percent reduction in insurance premiums. The higher rating was possible only if the company had a pumper. The burning question as how to fund an expenditure that could run as high as $7,000. A proposal was adopted to ask all district property owners to pledge or donate to the company the savings they would realize from reduced premiums for the next three years. It was estimated that this would raise about $12,500 if there was 100 percent response. Results were not overwhelming. Less than one half of the needed amount was raised. A dilemma – without the pledges, they couldn't’t buy the pumper; without the pumper, the pledges were worthless. So it was back to Peoples Bank, which was still owed $1,000 on the original note. They were greeted without enthusiasm by bank officials, who after negotiations, agreed to lend $7,000 if ten members would furnish financial statements totaling $20,000 and act as note guarantors. The offer was greeted with a lack of response at the next company meeting. Many were already co-signers on the first note. Others were reluctant to disclose their assets – or lack of them. The outlook was bleak. It appeared that the fire company, less than one year old, would die in infancy. The bank then modified its terms. It would accept a chattel mortgage on the new truck and any number of co-signers, not necessarily firemen, with a total of $10,000 in assets. With the help of the taxpayer associations, 61 firemen and residents stepped forward to meet the terms. With money in the bank, the first action was to retire the first note. The second was to buy a spanking-new 1938 750 GPM Buffalo Fire Appliance Company pumper at a cost of $5,805. Training was the next order of business and in late spring, Angola Chief Landau volunteered to teach a ten week firefighting course to line and administrative officers. After their lessons which were interrupted by chief Landau’s appendectomy, the graduates taught the general membership. August Bindeman, Superintendent of Mails at the Buffalo Post office, was elected company president in the first annual election held in January of 1938. An installation of officers, with each paying his own expenses, was the social highlight of the season. The first Field Days, held in June of that year, was marred by rain but still turned a profit of $276. It featured a firemen’s parade, a bathing beauty contest, a children’s grotesque parade and games of chance. An outing in October brought in another $300. William E. Hull and William A. (Bud) Miller, delegates to the 1938 Southwestern Firemen’s Association convention, came back to the company with a report of a novel concept of first aid units within volunteer fire companies. The membership immediately authorized a unit on the recommendation of Mr. hull. William F. (Babe) Miller was appointed captain of the squad. With acquisition of a new pumper and chronic motor ills of the Pierce Arrow chemical truck, a decision was reached to retire the old vehicle. Efforts to sell it were unsuccessful, then member Ben Pinzel offered the company a Cord sedan in good running condition. He, William F. (Babe) Miller and Elek D. Csont transferred the body of the Pierce Arrow to the chassis of the Cord. It was used as a hose truck and utility vehicle. The year of 1939 was a time for belt tightening as the company struggled to meet its financial obligations. More than once, the phrase “bills to be paid when funds are available” appeared in the company minutes. More often than not, a hat was passed around the meeting room to obtain the necessary funds. Many times returning with an excess which was immediately added to the treasury. It rained again that year during Field Days but there was a profit of $493. A raffle to the Montreal World Fair netted another $362. The company put on the first of many minstrel or variety shows using firemen as talent and produced by member Henry Poecking. It was successful-both in entertainment and as a fundraiser. People’s Bank, recognizing the company’s problems, reduced the interest rate on the mortgage one percent – to five percent. After the Nazi war machine rolled over Europe in 1940, firemen began to enter the armed services. By war’s end, sixteen-one quarter of the company membership had seen service. One of them – sergeant Warren Longbine, died October 28, 1944, of wounds suffered in action a month earlier in France. On the home front, the entire company served as fire wardens during air raid tests. A watch was placed on the fire hall with each member taking his turn staying there overnight. An auxiliary pumper was loaned to the company by the Office of Civil Defense. George Weppner, a company member and an official of the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Buffalo, gave the company a used Chevrolet panel truck in 1942. it served as the first Lake Shore first aid and rescue truck. In mid-1941, William E. Hull was appointed chairman of a committee to explore various forms of fire tax districts with the aim of finding permanent basis of financing the company. A year later, the Hamburg Town Board agreed to a contract in which the company would provide fire protection for the district for consideration of $2,867 per year for five years beginning January 1, 1943. The tax rate was 65 cents per $1000 of assessed evaluation. The contract was amended in 1945 to provide a small additional payment for coverage of the Town Protection District-an area not included in any company’s district. Later that year, town officials proposed that the Lake Shore Protection District be abolished and incorporated into the town protection district. Angry firemen and residents packed the next Town Board meeting and the proposal was hastily shelved. Young men, mostly sons of firemen, had long been coming to fire scenes, looking longingly at the equipment and offering to help. In 1945, President Karl Wagner proposed to put this energy to work in the form of a junior fire company. The company agreed, the organization was authorized and William F. (Babe) Miller and Elek D. Csont were named as supervisors. They held their first meeting in May 1946, with 22 charter members present. President Wagner’s prediction that juniors would graduate to the senior company was proven correct. Of the many who have become active firemen, six have become chiefs – Carl Wappman, Howard Wertz, Ronald Schumacher, a charter member of the junior company, Christopher Wilson, Michael J. Gates and Lawrence Januchowski III. Our junior firemen also have advanced to the position as chief in other departments. James Hustead, Jr. has served as chief of the Hamburg Volunteer Fire department and Richard Bamberg as chief of the East Aurora Fire Department. With an assured source of income from the town and the company’s existence affirmed, due to William E. Hull’s efforts, thoughts turned to a permanent fire station. After months of discussion, six county-owned lots at the corner of Route 5 and Clifton parkway were bought for a total of $800. Mr. Doll was authorized to prepare plans and specifications for a two-story 26 x 74 colonial-type-architecture building with three equipment bays and an upstairs hall for banquets and recreation. Member G. Benjamin Werner pushed for a large upstairs hall to be used for basketball. The property was subsequently traded to the Buffalo-Mount Vernon Development Company for a tract on Route 5 near Rogers Road that was three times as large. Meanwhile, the Pierce Arrow-Cord hybrid truck, having outlived its usefulness and being without garage space, was sold for $50. The company replaced the old Pepsi truck with a 1941 Ford panel truck bought from the American Red cross for $568. One-third of the company income was used to buy Victory bonds in anticipation of the new fire hall. Mr. Doll completed the building plans, they were approved and materials were stockpiled. But there was to be an unexpected delay. THE BUILDING YEARS 1947 – 1956 The wail of a fire siren cut through the crisp winter air of December 27, 1947. it was not a call for assistance-rather it was a call for celebration. After a 20-month legal battle, former State Supreme Court Justice Parton Swift, acting as referee, cleared the way for the fire company to proceed with the plan to build a new station near the intersection of Lake Shore Road and Rogers Road. The decision stemmed from litigation began in 1946 when several members of the Mount Vernon Civic Association challenged the legality of the sale of the property to the company. They claimed it had been designated as a park and sought an injunction barring the sale. The plaintiffs contended that when they bought their building lots, the Buffalo-Mount Vernon Development Company had represented the property as a public park and it had been used as such for many years. They said the development company and its predecessor, the Rickaby Corporation, had claimed tax exemption for the tract for more than twenty years and had asked that it be turned to the tax rolls in 1944 for the sole purpose of commercial exploitation. They insisted that their quarrel was with the realty company, not the fire company, but the company joined in the lawsuit as a vitally interested party. Judge Swift ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to establish any rights, title or interests in the so-called park area. The disputed land had never been plotted on any map from which a park dedication could be claimed, nor was any mention of any park privileges in deeds held by plaintiffs, he said. The lawsuit in estimation, is believed to have cost the fire company and residents upwards of $20,000. Space at the original fire station had become critical during the protracted litigation. Early in 1947, the company had accepted a 1000-gallon tank truck from the Town of Hamburg with no place to store it. Under the direction of Mr. Doll. A temporary lean-to was built on the East side of the fire station by volunteer labor and $100 in materials. It was then discovered that the dirt floor would not support the weight of the tanker and it was getting stuck while in quarters. Gravel fill solved the problem. Money was an ever present concern. Almost $2,000 was raise by a variety show, the annual Field Days brought in a similar amount and several dinners and dances added to the treasury. Even the new tank truck was put to profitable use by hauling water to district residents who had no water lines at five dollars a load. When other fire companies who shared the use of the truck with Lake Shore objected, the practice was discontinued and the pumper was substituted at a fee of three dollars a load. By the end of 1947, the 1938 note at the Peoples Bank had been paid, the company was debt-free and there was almost $2,000 in the bank toward the cost of the new fire hall. Plans for building began as soon as the legal battle ended. Mr. Doll was awarded a contract to erect the new facility at an estimated cost of $40,000. A $45,000 mortgage was negotiated with Marine Trust Co. and Peoples Bank at an interest rate of 4.5 percent payable in twenty years. Foundations were poured in the Spring even though title for the property was not transferred until August. Mr. Doll donated the cornerstone. There was trouble found in obtaining the building permit because there were no building codes for constructing fire stations. Despite the building activities, fire-fighting training was not neglected. A six-week training school was established by the Hamburg Town Fire Council and the company required that all new members complete the course before their acceptance as full active fire-fighters. Ceremonies for the first graduating class were held in Hamburg High School. Semi-annual beginning and advanced training classes were held for members of the rescue unit. By February 1949, the new building was about of seventy percent finished. Members were asked to work at least one evening per week with Tuesday being the official work nights. The meeting in the yet-unfinished hall was held April 1st and the building was dedicated in formal ceremonies July 4th, 1949 at the Field Days. The community contributed outstanding support for the Fire Company. The Locksley Park Taxpayers Association donated tables and chairs worth $500 for the new club room, a fund-raising drive netted $1,200, Saturday square dances were well patronized. A resident donated five telephone poles to mount the sirens. The 1949 Field Days showed a profit of $7,045. Membership in the company zoomed. By mid-1949, there were 94 active members-causing concern that the organization was becoming unwieldy. The company limited future membership to 75, with new applications being placed on associate rolls until openings occurred. Junior Firemen, upon reaching the age of 18 who wished to join the active company, were placed at the top of the waiting list. A 1940 Buick ambulance was purchased for $650 in June, 1950, replacing the delivery truck that had been used on first aid calls. The need for the vehicle was apparent in the report given by Captain Charles Mead at the June 16 meeting that first aid had been administered to thirty persons in the preceding two weeks including six road accidents. He admonished squad members to brush up on their first aid as the “busy” season was ahead. The years also saw the end of the call box system of turning in alarms of fire or emergencies. Telephone wires were installed by members to the homes of members; Robert F. Hull, George Sweetland, and Clayton Sweetland which would permit them to receive calls and to activate the siren on the hall. The siren lines were normal closed circuits and a line break would activate the siren which blew until someone could rush to the hall to shut it off. Meanwhile firemen had no way of knowing what had happened and hurried to the hall to respond to a non-existent emergency. Getrude Hull, Delores Sweetland and Phyllis Sweetland, the “Telephone girls”, worked out an arrangement whereby one of them was at home at all times to answer calls. With the limit on membership, discussion began in late 1950 on the formation of an Exempt Firemen’s organization to encourage older and less active firemen to relinquish their active status to make room for younger men. The constitution was amended to authorize the organization in March, 1951, and the organization was formed the following August with Gerard Strasser as its first president. One of the founders of the company was honored by the SouthWestern Association of Volunteer Firemen in 1950 when William E. Hull was elected president of the organization. He presided through the annual convention held in Lancaster in 1951. Lake Shore has been proud to have other members serve as officers of various Firematic organizations such as the Hamburg Town Fire Council, Hamburg Town Fire Chief’s association., Erie County Volunteer Firemen’s Association, Southwestern Association and others. Some of these men were Michael J. Gates, K. Andrew Harris, Robert F. Hull, Lamont Lewis, Norman McNamara, George Plumer and Karl Wagner. Several others have served as chairmen and committeemen of these organizations. Mr. William E. Hull, more than any other person, is responsible for establishing the company as a member-owned corporation. In April, 1952, land and buildings of the fire company were appraised at $101,700-far beyond the dreams of the founders only fifteen years before. The mortgage had been reduced to about $30,000 and the time had come to think of buying more fire fighting apparatus. The old fire station was sold to the sportsmen’s club for $4,250 and the money was placed in a special account for the purchase of an American LaFrance 750 GPM open cab pumper for $15,250. Comptroller Walter Greapentrog, legendary for his skill as a bargainer, managed to get the final cost reduced $750.00 With additional equipment, more garaging area was needed. In January, 1953, the company voted to spend $99 to draw plans for a 20 x 35 foot one-bay addition on the north side of the building. Shanks Construction Company was awarded a contract for the project and in March for the cost of $7,400 and by January, 1954, the work was completed. By this time, credit was firmly established and there was no difficulty in borrowing $7,500 from Peoples Bank at an interest rate of four percent. In April, 1954, the fire-fighting skills of the company were put to the test at a fire that destroyed the Alhambra, a former night club in Athol Springs that was being used as a skating rink. Although 28 men turned out for the call, many members living in the south end of the district complained that they could not hear the siren on the hall. This led to installation of auxiliary sirens in the Locksley Park and Cloverbank areas. When the company obtained the property for the hall, a small lot between the building site and Rogers Road. was not included in the transfer. The company had steadfastly refused to buy the lot, which was too small for building, and in midyear, the owner, Biscaro Construction Co., donated the land to the company. Property was gain added in 1956 when member, Carl Soby donated a small tract north of Berrick Creek. An aggressive fire prevention program had been inaugurated in the preceding year by chairman Donald B. Hull and in 1954, the company won the prestigious L.H. Dehlinger Trophy, awarded by the SouthWestern Firemen’s association for outstanding prevention programs. The win was repeated in 1957 and 1958 and Lake Shore retired the trophy. In 1954, maintenance costs on the old Buick ambulance had become prohibitive. Replacement was sorely needed, but as usual, there was a question for paying for a new vehicle. The only feasible solution was to conduct a subscription drive among the district homes and businesses. Each was asked to give $10 per family. In return they were promised free emergency first aid and transportation. The fund drive raised $9,639. In February, 1955, the company ordered its first new ambulance – a Superior Company body on a Cadillac chassis at a cost of $7,600. On its first run to Our Lady of Victory Hospital, the new rig collided with a car on Ridge Road. There was $700 in damage to the ambulance and a lawsuit – which the company lost. YEARS OF GROWTH 1957 – 1987 A building boom exploded in the Lake Shore area in the early 1950’s. Sparsely-populated Mount Vernon area rapidly filled with homes. Three hundred pre-war structures had grown to more than 1,500. To meet the community needs, the Company in 1958 voted to buy a new 1,000 GPM American LaFrance pumper, It was delivered in February 1959 and served faithfully for 23 years until replacement in 1982 with a state-of-the-art 1,500 GPM American LaFrance. The old truck was donated to the Erie County Department of Fire Safety to be used for training purposes and spent its last years at the Buffalo Zoo. The open cab 1953 also operated for 23 years and gave way in 1976 to a Young 1250 GPM pumper. The 1938 Buffalo Fire Appliance pumper, once the pride of the struggling company, was sold to a Grand Island resident for $500. Reportedly, he used it for years to draft water from the Niagara River to water his lawn. Lake Shore became a three-pumper company in 1971 when it accepted delivery of a 1250 GPM American LaFrance. During the early years, water supply was a constant cause for concern. There were few hydrants on the west side of the railroad tracks and none on the east side. Firefighters were forced to draft water from wells, streams, and ponds to make long lay-ins with multiple truck relays. A map showing location of wells was a valuable tool. Since this was a town-wide problem, the Town Board in 1946 bought four Dodge tank trucks, each carrying 1,000 gallons of water. One was stationed at the Lake Shore hall. The “tankers” responded to calls wherever needed in the township under a mutual aid agreement. In the early 1960’s it was ruled that the Town could not legally buy tank trucks from the general fund, but the Town Board agreed to add $1,000 per year to the Protection District payment if the Company agreed to buy its own tank truck. Accordingly, a 1,200 gallon Maday-built truck was purchased and delivery was accepted in 1962. Even after the primary district was nearly fully hydranted in 1958, the tank truck was needed as an immediate water source while lay-ins were made to hydrants. The tanker was equipped with a winch that has been used more than once to rescue pumpers that had become stuck in the mud. In 1986, the Company approved the replacement of the 25 year old tank truck with a 2,000 gallon tanker built by Fire-Tec of Hamburg. An equipment and rescue truck purchased in 1967 has proven its worth many times over. It carries equipment that cannot be conveniently stored on the ambulance and pumpers; such as generators and auto accident extrication equipment, plus dozens of items needed for efficient operation. It has space to carry back-up personnel and responds to all fire and emergency calls. The first aid unit has come far since the days of the old Pepsi Cola truck. The number of calls for help has increased each year since the squad was formed. In 1986, it answered 500 calls. There has never been a charge to district residents, but they have responded generously with donations to help offset the cost of new equipment and ongoing operating and maintenance expenses. Several have shown their appreciation by remembering the company in their wills. Others have specified that donations be made to the fire company in lieu of flowers at their funerals. The 1955 ambulance was replaced in 1964 and followed by others in 1972, 1979 and 1985. Each was better equipped than its predecessor. Since the early 1970’s the Company had provided a car for the Chief to facilitate his immediate response to a fire or emergency to assess the situation, place equipment for best operation and act as a command center. The vehicle is normally replaced every five years. Costs have skyrocketed over the years, A new pumper cost $15,500 in 1953. The Company’s newest pumper, bought in 1982, had a price tag of $121,133. And the 1962 tank truck, which cost $13,806, was replaced in 1987 with one that wore a price tag of $107,000. The need was eliminated for the “Telephone Girls”, who served the Company unselfishly; with inauguration of a system in which the hall siren was activated by a dispatcher in Hamburg Village Hall. In 1965 the Company purchased tone-activated radio monitors for members homes, followed in 1984 by tone-activated pagers, added to the efficiency of the alerting process. Changes in the physical facilities have also been made frequently over the years – some major, some minor. Soon after the south bay was added, an auxiliary kitchen was constructed an the upstairs hall to make the facility more attractive to potential renters. The work was done by Albert Cherry, Sr., a Company member doing business as “Mr. Fix-it-rite”. Prior to 1962, the meeting room was small and cramped, forcing some to sit on a window seat in a bay window that projected from the north wall. A sizeable portion of the meeting room was taken up by the horseshoe bar on the west side. Member Harry Schneider, a professional architect, drew up plans for a clubroom addition to the north side of the hall. It was built by Hines and Kirst Construction Company for $34, 778. As the company acquired more equipment, more space was needed in the engine room. Chief Ray Hummel, a construction foreman, headed an expansion committee to determine needs. Harry Schneider was again called on to prepare plans and specifications for a two bay addition on the south side of the building. Henter Construction Company won the contract with a bid of $28,418. When it was discovered in 1964 that Berrick Creek was eroding the east side of the playground, Patrick L. Keefe took matters in hand. He organized a work detail which hand carried large stones to stabilize the bank on the Company-side…problem solved. Under “not-such-a-good-idea” in 1974, the Hamburg Town Board was persuaded to pay for dredging of the lake on the north property line. The lake was drained, but there was no way to stop water flowing in from upstream. The lake bed was turned into a mudflat for most of the summer to the consternation of many. Town “Fathers” were even more upset when it was learned that the cost was several times the budgeted amount. The Company parking lot, often resembling a tank trap, was resurfaced and paved. A crew volunteered to seal the blacktop labored all day under a scorching July sun until a neighbor informed them that the sealer, which had a viscosity of cement, had to be diluted before it was spread. The lot has been twice extended since toward the old tennis courts, but with professional labor. In 1976, a pole-barn-type pavilion was built by firemen under the supervision of Bruce Thompson and Raymond Hummel, giving the Company a first class picnic and outing facility. The largest construction project since the Rogers Station has been the Amsdell Satellite Station, completed in 1983. As early as 1961, there had been discussion of a second station by members who foresaw the increased building in the eastern portion of the district, separated from the primary protection district by the railroad lines. Nothing was done until 1979 when Robert Zerby, Sr. and Bruce Thompson were asked to conduct a feasibility study and make recommendations. As a result, the Company purchased 5.5 acres at the corner of Southwestern Blvd. and Amsdell Road, contracted with Paul Riefler to prepare plans and awarded a construction contract to Kirst Construction of Hamburg. The total cost of land and station was slightly less than $300,000, well within estimates. Presently plans are being made for a major renovation of the Rogers Station. Fire and rescue training have kept pace with ever-increasing equipment sophistication. Each member must attend a 13 week state run school of firefighting essentials and an annual Company School. There are literally dozens of optional state courses, seminars by private industry and training sessions. Major fires are videotaped and critiqued. First aid techniques have also greatly improved since the days when chief stock in trade were splints and sympathy. Every in-coming member must complete an approved source, which may be a 60-hour Red cross or a 101-hour Emergency Medical Technician Course. The ambulance carries life-sustaining equipment and the crew is in direct radio contact with receiving hospitals. The Company, an all male organization for 44 years, admitted its first female member, Kim Koch in 1981. By mid 1987, it had five women firefighters. A parade unit was formed in 1938 with members buying their own uniforms, has constantly distinguished itself with coordination and discipline. The Grand Trophy, won at the Western Association Convention in 1968, 1991 and 1996 and the SouthWestern Firemen’s Convention in 1973, are among its many awards. Field Days were discontinued in 1966 because of rowdyism. In their place, an annual Community Day is held in September. Its purpose is to give the area residents an opportunity to inspect equipment, become acquainted with Company Operations, enjoy food and refreshments, and renew acquaintances. Other annual events include the Christmas parties for firefighter’s children and families, a family picnic, and the Company Stag … a day for fun and feast. First Aid contests were a notable item in the Firemen’s Conventions throughout the state. Lake Shore formed a team and entered its first contest at the 1955 SouthWestern convention in Cheektowaga. Encouraged by taking first place trophy in the contest, Lake Shore entered teams in many convention contests for some years. The name “Lake Shore” became well known for its first aid and rescue activities. From the time Kenneth hull organized a baseball team in the early 1940’s, competitive sports have been an important facet of recreation. A Company softball team joined the Erie County Volunteer Firemen’s League in 1955 and ten years later it won the county championship. During the 1960’s a six-team bowling league was formed by company members. They bowled weekly at St. Francis and later at Leisureland Lanes. Over the years, there has been competition in basketball, volleyball, waterball, horseshoes, tug-of-war, pool and even a tournament in pinochle – the game that started the Fire Company a half century before. Most of Lake Shore’s first firemen are gone now. Of the 43 charter members, there are only seven known survivors: Elek D. Csont William F. (Babe) Miller Yet they left a legacy … that with dreams, dedication and determination, nothing is impossible. And a challenge … to make the next 50 years as fruitful as the first. We salute those men who dared to dream, and to them this account is gratefully dedicated.


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