1950 - 1975
A group of concerned men of the Hamlet of Hawleyton met in January of 1959 to discuss the organization of a volunteer fire company. Up to this time, fire protection for the town was dependent upon the City of Binghamton under a difficult and time-consuming procedure. The Town Supervisor, then Arlin Gage, had to authorize the call to the city for assistance. Something else had to be done for fire protection in a growing town that contained twice the area of the City of Binghamton. In the spring of 1950, the men met several times. Officers were elected, by-laws were drawn up, and corporation papers were set up, presented to the town board, and approved. Thus the Hawleyton Volunteer Fire Co., Inc. became a reality.
The company’s first truck, a 1932 Pirsch, was obtained from the Broome County Airport in October 1951. Repairs and equipment were required to bring it up to fire fighting standards. The truck was in service by November 1, 1951, and kept at the Howard Shapley residence on Upper Pennsylvania Ave. A unique and highly efficient alarm system as set up utilizing the existing telephone service and its operator in Hawleyton, Rita Ward. In case of fire, you called Rita who in turn rang a series of short rings on the party lines, and everyone who picked up their receiver was notified of the fire location.
In March 1952, a committee was formed for the purpose of purchasing land for a station. Several sites were considered, but final acceptance went to land on Hawleyton Road donated by Mrs. Veronica Ward. Construction was started in October 1952. Total cost at the time was $5500. The new station was occupied in January 1953 and a 1000-gallon GMS tanker was purchased from Hinmans Corners Fire Company.
In April 1953, radio communications was set with the Broome County Fire Coordinator with the addition of a base station.
In December 1955, the Hawleyton Fire Co. met with interested residents of the Pierce Creek area to discuss betterment of fire protection in the area. In March 1956, Mrs. Whitaker donated land on Pierce Creek Road for a second station, in memory of her husband Irving. Construction was started in April 1956 and completed in September. In May 1956 the company purchased a 1926 American LaFrance truck, and in November 1956, the first truck was place in Station 2. In October 1956 a Sanford pumper was purchased and added to Station 1.
In 1957, the Hawleyton Fire Co. met with concerned residents from the Park Terrace area who had formed the Park Terrace Fire Protection Association in 1953. A station had been started in that area in 1954. In August of that year, Hurricane Hazel completely destroyed their efforts. In the summer of 1956 reconstruction was started and one stall built. In 1957, the Park Terrace Fire Protection disbanded and became a civic association.
Interested members of that association joined the Hawleyton Fire Co. A truck was placed in the Park Terrace station in 1957, which was rented from the civic association. In 1963, the building was purchased from the civic association and became part of the Hawleyton Volunteer Fire Co., Inc.
1957 was a big and decisive year for the fire company. Our name was changed to Town of Binghamton Fire Company Inc. The stations were changed from the area names to include station numbers under the unified Town of Binghamton Volunteer Fire Co. banner. Hawleyton - Station 1, Pierce Creek Rd. - Station 2, and Park Terrace - Station 3.
Also in 1957, 3 new Ward LaFrance custom-built 500-gallon pumpers were ordered, one for each station. These trucks were identical for the purpose of standardization within the company, ease of training, and cross utilization.
In 1962 we purchased a 4-wheel drive Dodge Power Wagon for use as a brush truck for grass fires, with a 200-gallon tank, independent pump, and a booster reel. In 1965 we replaced the old GMC tanker with a new 1600-gallon Ford tanker. In 1968 we purchased a second tanker, identical to the one bought in 1965, again for the purpose of standardization. In 1969 we purchased a second 4-wheel drive Dodge Power Wagon bringing our total apparatus count to 7 (3 engines, 2 tankers, and 2 brush trucks).
1976 - 2000
There have been many changes in our second 25 years of service to the Town of Binghamton. In 1982, with the help of a grant from IBM Corp., a training building was built on the Park Avenue property. This facility still provides the opportunity to train in actual fire situations, and keep up with the more extensive training requirements expected of a modern fire department.
Many other improvements through the last quarter century had been made to our fleet including replacing our tankers with two built by 4 Guys on 1988 Mack chassis’, the engines with three built by New Lexington on 1994 Freightliner chassis’, 1989 Ward engine built on an International chassis, and squad built on a 1992 Chevrolet chassis.
During this time the fire company also joined the county-wide mutual aid plan providing assistance to other communities, often including departments in Pennsylvania.
2001 to Present
Over 11 years, the Town of Binghamton Volunteer Fire Company Inc. has continued to improve the services offered to the town with new trainings and new apparatus.
The brush trucks were replaced with a single unit, the 4th engine and old squad were replaced with a new engine-rescue, and one of the three primary engines was replaced with a tower.