HISTORY OF THE ANDOVER FIRE DEPARTMENT
by William A. Greene
©2003, 2005, 2006, 2016
In the early years of the Village of Andover, there was little or no fire protection when a fire happened. There was no water supply to the village. Many a home and business were destroyed by these fires, sometime even block of homes and business were destroyed.
Finally in 1893 it was brought to the village officials that there ought to be a water supply to the village as it was growing a such a fast rate. As plans were made to install a water supply the village people made demands to the board to start a fire department.
Sept. 6, 1893, Andover News: It seems to be nearly an assured fact that the water works plant will be completed this fall, and some steps should be taken at once towards the organization of a fire department. Who will be put to move in the matter?
Nov. 8, 1893, Andover News: The water commissioners have purchased 800 feet of fire hose, and James Owen purchased 100 feet for his own use. The hose is expected daily.
Nov. 15, 1893, Andover News: Last evening a meeting of several persons interested in the organization of a hose company was held in L. C. VanFleet’s law office. No steps were taken toward perfecting the organization and the meeting was adjourned one week in the hope of securing a larger attendance. Every persons who is willing to become an active member of a hose company is invited to attend the next meeting, and it is hoped the organization may be perfected at that time. Remember the time and place, L.C. VanFleet’s office, next Tuesday evening.
Nov. 15,1893, Andover News: The fire hose recently purchased by the village authorities arrived last evening, as did that ordered by James Owen. One or two hose carts will probably be ordered soon.
Nov. 22, 1893, Andover News: At the meeting to organize a hose company last evening, there was a good attendance, and a preliminary organization effected with ten charter members. Another meeting will be held Thursday evening to further perfect the organization.
The water commissioners have ordered a hose cart from Hanrahan Brothers of Wellsville. It will take two or three weeks to complete it, and in the meantime we will have the use of an old cart which will be sent from Wellsville, and is expected here today.
Nov. 29, 1893, Andover News: At an adjourned meeting of the hose company, held last Thursday evening over W. H. Phillips store, it was decided to name the organization the “Citizens Hose Company.” Three trustees were elected as follows: E.J. Atwood, P. C. Lynch and W. H. Phillips. The Board of Village Trustees has confirmed the organization and the company will be incorporated at once. The election of officers will take place at a future meeting.
Dec. 6, 1893, Andover News: The Citizens Hose Company of Andover held a meeting Monday evening, which was well attended. It was announced that Dr. C. W. O’Donnell of this place had signified a desire to make what the members considered a handsome contribution to the treasury of the company, and as is invariably the case in organizations of this character, the members all agreed that the contribution should be thankfully received, and that the organization should bear the name of the generous donor. Steps will at once be taken to change the name, and it is only a matter of a short time before “The C. W. O’Donnell Hose Company No. 1 of Andover, N. Y. “, will be a duly organized corporation. Officers were elected and a committee is now forming a code of by-laws which will govern the company.
The first recorded minutes to be kept were dated, December 19, 1893. A constitution and by-laws were drawn up at this time.
Jan. 10, 1894, Andover News: The new hose cart arrived last week. It was very handsome I appearance and substantially made.” This was the first piece of fire fighting equipment to he had in Andover. Upon receipt of the cart, the “Citz” divided themselves into three committees. They were; Nozzle Committee, Hydrant Committee and Linemen. When a fire happened everyone knew where he was to be and what he had to do.
Practices were held three times a week and they were mandatory. If you missed a practice you were fined 50 cents and after three fines, you were expelled from the company.
On January 23, 1894, the company received a letter from the Secretary of State, State of New York, incorporating then as the “Citizens Hose Company” of Andover, New York as of December 6, 1893.
Jan. 24, 1894, Andover News: Last Thursday morning at 4:30 o’clock, the fire alarm sounded, the first time since the completion of the water works. In just one and three eighths seconds after the water touched the building, the fire was under control and soon afterwards the fire was out, demonstrating that water will put out fire.
The water commissioners have ordered a couple more play pipes. When they arrive the hose company will be able to throw four streams at once.
Also in the same paper, Mrs. Rosanna Joyce has donated the use of an empty building in the rear of the American House Hotel (Joyce Hotel) to the hose company to keep the hose cart in. This is a central point, and will answer nicely for the present.
It must be noted here that when an alarm was sound that the men would run from their home to were the cart was stored and the run with the cart to the fire. There were no pumps to pump the water from the hydrants to the fire, all there was, was the pressure from the new water mains. There was no fighting of fires in the township. Now way to get there and no water. That was to come later.
At the first Allegany County Firemen’s Convention held in Wellsville on Friday September 26, 1894, “ The Citizens Hose Company of Andover headed the second division and was much applauded for its appearance. In the events following the parade the Andover Company took firs prize in exhibition drill cosseted under the direction of drill master J. F. Barrett. The company also took second place in the 100 yard foot race. “The Citz” became quite well known for their fancy drill not only in Allegany County but throughout Western New York.
On August 3 & 4th 1898 the fifth annual convention of the Allegany County Firemen’s Association was held in Andover. Twenty three companies were represented. Rain hampered the parade, but finally the companies formed an paraded on the sidewalks, while the people stood in the muddy streets. There were five divisions in the parade with twelve bands.
The spectators at this parade decided to stand in the muddy streets rather than have the firemen get their uniform all mud. They loved the firemen.
In May of 1908 a hook and ladder cart was purchased form the Hornell Fire Department. We still have this piece of equipment.
In July of 1910 a Hook and Ladder Company was organized. They were to be called the “Andover Hook and Ladder Company No. 1”. They received their incorporation papers on September 13, 1910.
In December of 1914 the “Citizens Hose Company” met for the last time. Everything they owned was sold to the “Hook and Ladder Company.”
In November of 1916 the Seventh Day Baptist Church sold a brass bell to the Hook and Ladder Company, who had it placed on the Town Hall building to used as a fire alarm.
Andover’s first motorized pumper and the county’s first motorized piece of equipment, was bought in the spring of 1917. One LaFrance Ford Chemical Truck, 400 feet of hose, and extra chemicals were ordered. The total cost with freight was $1595.37. This equipment is in the possession of Roland Kemp of Andover, who has restored it to its previous splendor.
In August of 1918 a new electric fire alarm was put into service. Two short blast meant there was a meeting and one continuous blast meant there was a fire.
In 1919 Archie O. Kemp was elected Chief of the Hook and Ladder Company, he held that position until 1935 becoming the only person to hold that position for that length of time. In 1940 it was voted to limit the terms of office to three years.
In 1920, Andover played host to the 5th Allegany County Firemen’s Association Convention with Bert B. Hann of Andover as President of the Association. It should be noted that the first Allegany County Firemen’s Association was formed in 1894 and lasted until 1898. It ceased to exist until 1915 when it was reorganized. On the evening of July 23rd, a tornado struck the eastern side of the county. Streets in Andover were filled with fallen trees and the roofs of many of its buildings were littered with limbs and debris. It was on that evening the final arrangements were being made for the c0onvention. After the storm was over and the cleaning up was in progress, it was decided that the convention should go on, but at a later date. The meeting was finally held August 18 &19th . It should be noted that Mr. Hann held an office in the Andover Fire Department for 39 years. Now that is dedication!
In August of 1921, Andover responded to a fire in Wellsville, thus answering its first call outside of Andover. The “Hooks” were sent a check for $20 and a “Thank You” letter. The check was returned with a letter “Thanking” Wellsville for recognizing their services rendered and hoping that we may come better prepared if ever called again.
In the fall of 1926 the Andover Fire Department has notices drawn up and served on owners of building that were in bad condition in regards to fire. Thus Andover’s first fire prevention.
In 1930 a need for a second pumper was filled by the formation of a fire district of the township outside the village. A contract to furnish fire protection to the rural parts of our town was drawn up. The new pumper was equipped with a booster tank to carry water and a Foamite Generator.
It was decided about that time to always have two trucks.
In July of 1935 Andover was to be the host of the 20th Allegany County Firemen’s Association Convention. Again the weather played a part in the event. Sunday of the convention week a flood hit Hornell. Although Andover escaped with a small amount of property damage, except to its roads and bridges, it was necessary to hold the carnival on one of its streets instead of its own athletic field as planned. An airplane was to be the main attraction.
In 1936 Fred S. Potter of Andover was President of the 21st Allegany County Firemen’s Association Convention. The convention was held in Friendship.
On May 13th 1938, a group of ladies met and formed the Andover Firemen’s Ladies Auxiliary. Since its organization, the auxiliary has worked together with the firemen in various undertakings and projects of civic interest. Without their generous help we wouldn’t be where we are today. We owe them many “Thanks.”
In July of 1939 Clare R. Jackson of Andover was President of the 24th Allegany County Firemen’s Association Convention held in Scio.
During WWII, the Andover Hook and Ladder helped to salvage scrap iron. From the proceeds derived, they purchased a “inhalator.” Around this new piece of equipment was built a “First Aid Group.” Thus the company embarked on a new service to its community. Each of the operators of the “inhalator” were to have first aid equipment in their cars, to be paid for out of the junk money.
In June of 1945, the Hook and Ladder Company’s name was changed to the “ Andover Fire Department Association, Incorporated.
In July of 1949 the 34th Allegany County Firemen’s Association Convention was held in Andover again. A fireman by the name of Howard C. Crandall from Alma was the president but Andover hosted the convention.
In 1951 fire phones were put into homes so we could respond to the fires faster. In the following year two radios were purchased. One radio was to be used in a truck and the other by the chief. They operated on the police frequency.
In June of 1961, Andover purchased its first tanker truck to haul water to the fire scene.
In October of 1963 James Jackson of the Andover Fire Department saved a man’s life by pulling him from a burning tractor trailer accident, risking his own life. Jim was awarded Fireman of the Year in 1964 from the Allegany County Firemen’s Association, the Southwestern Firemen’s Association and the New York State Firemen’s Association. He also won the Carnage Award for Heroism for his bravery. Jim doesn’t talk about it, as he is a modest man, but he is truly a “hero.”
For a number of years, the Allegany County fire radio was kept in the Sheriff’s office and then in a private individuals house in Belmont. Sometime during the year of 1963 the Allegany County Fire Radio was moved from Belmont to the George Mickle house in Andover. There it remained for 25 years. After George’s death in June of 1969, his wife Melba became the back bone of the system for the next 19 years. She never missed a call, sometimes going days without sleep to make sure every piece of fire equipment and fire personnel were where they were supposed to be and were safely back at home when the fire was over. This was also true for all of the rescue squads in the county. No one will ever know how much property or how many lives were save because of her unthankful vigil at the base station (KED - 620). In 1988 Mel retired and the radio was moved back to Belmont, into the county court house. Her voice was greatly missed. The Andover Fire and Rescue and Ladies Auxiliary are proud to have had Mel as part of our fine organizations.
In February of 1967 the town and village of Andover entered into an agreement with the Andover Fire Department for the department to supply a rescue squad. The town and village purchased a used ambulance and we furnished the supplies and man power. In the spring of 1991 the town and village signed into an agreement with the Fire Department giving full ownership to the Fire Department.
In December of 1972 the Joyce Hotel burnt. A man was trapped on the third floor; Encil Glover climbed the fire escape and rescued the man from his smoke filled room. Encil was named Fireman of the year in 1973 for the Allegany County Firemen’s Association; the Southwestern Firemen’s Association and was Honorable Mention in the New York State Firemen’s Association.
It all started in the late twenties or the early thirties with the Andover Hook and Ladder Company looking for something larger to house their equipment. They looked for over forty five years. On January 7, 1975 President Richard Schrader appointed a building committee: William Woodruff, Merle Fox, Ronald (Spud) Glover, and Encil Glover. They looked at a number of lots over a two year period before it was decided to buy the Hammel lot on the corner of New York State Rt. 21 and New York State Rt. 417 for $2000.
Howard Burdick, Supervisor of the Town of Andover attended many meetings and filled out numerous applications, trying to secure a grant for a new fire complex. Richard Schrader, James Haugh, and Merle Fox drove to Philadelphia with grant papers to make sure they got to the right people on time.
Fearing they wouldn’t get a federal grant, a special meeting was called by Vice President Richard Schrader on April 24, 1977 to all firemen to vote on and sign a contract with Herald Ford Inc. to build a new fire hall on the Hammel lot. It passed!
May 1977, ground was broken and the new fire hall project was under way. July 1977, papers were signed with the Citizens National Bank, Herald Ford and the Andover Fire Department, securing $93,000 and a twenty year mortgage.
Andover News September 17, 1977: “Andover Dedicates New Fire Complex” read the headlines. The new 50 ft. by 100 ft. three truck bay, two ambulance bay, radio room, kitchen and all purpose room, opened it’s doors to the public.
In the summer of 1985 a new bay was added on the north side of the fire hall, to house a rescue truck. With Herald Ford Inc. and Joyce Western Co. of Andover donating much of the needed materials, the new addition was added on with the cost of $14,000. Most of the work was done by the Andover Volunteer Fire Department.
In 1990 the Andover Fire Dept. started its first ever Junior Firefighter program. This was affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. We see a bright future ahead for the fire department and for the juniors, we are very proud of them.
On March 1991, the final payment was made on the complex. Everett Claire, a member of the Andover Fire Department since 1941, gave a donation of $11,934.35 to make it all possible. On February 23, 1992, the mortgage was burnt. We paid off the mortgage in 14 years, plus added on another addition. Not bad! The only sad thing was, many of the people, who had worked so hard for so many years, weren’t there to enjoy the moment. We dedicated the building in their memory.
In July of 1979, Andover again had the privilege of hosting the 64th Allegany County Firemen’s Association Convention. Ronald (Spud) Glover was the president for that year. Spud also held these other offices: President of Allegany County Fire Chief’s Association 1973 -74, Secretary - Treasurer Allegany County Fire Chiefs Association 1977-1994, District 4 Deputy Coordinator 1978 - 1991, President of the Southwestern Volunteer Fireman’s Association 1994.
In 1991, the 76th Allegany County Firemen’s Association Convention was held in Andover, David L. Wallace was the President for that year. Dave was also president of the Allegany County Chief’s Association 1990 - 1991.
Also in February of 1991, the town and village of Andover got out of the ambulance business. They signed all of the ambulances to the Andover Fire Department.
In 1994, the 86th Annual Convention of the Southwestern Fireman’s Association was held in Andover. Ronald (Spud) Glover was their president and Jean Glover was president of the Southwestern Ladies Auxiliary Association. It was the first time in their history that a husband and wife were president at the same time. Spud died in May of that year. William A. Greene and David L. Wallace took over and the convention went on with no problems. The association had such a good time, they wanted to come back the next year. Spud would have loved it.
In July of 1995, the 80th Allegany County Firemen’s Association Convention was held in Andover. William A. Greene was their president. He was also president of the Allegany County Fire Chief’s Association 1994 - 1995, president of the Allegany Fire Advisory Board 1994 - 1995. It was the first time anyone held all three office at one time. Bill also sat on the Allegany County Public Safety Committee and was the head of the Allegany County Fire Radio Committee.
In October of 1996 another addition was added on to the complex. The meeting room, kitchen, store room, truck bay and rescue bay were add onto. The project was completed in April of 1997 at a cost of $49,500.
On November 12, 1997, Mel Mickle (KED - 620 passed away. It was a sad time for all of the Andover Fire Department, and Auxiliary and all of the Allegany County fire service. Mrs. Miclke was radio dispatcher for Allegany County for 26 years. Her loyalty to the fire and rescue service was untiring. She also dispatched the Andover Police Department. Whatever time of day or night, Mel was always there to answer your call. There was no time off, it was a 24 hour a day job. Mel rarely took time off, if she did, the person who baby sat the radio was paid by Mel. When she retired, her expertise was lost forever. Rest in peace lovely lady.
Jan. 10, 1998: Certified Traffic Controllers burns in Andover. Fifteen fire departments, rescue and ambulance crews from Allegany Co., Steuben Co. and Pennsylvania battled a huge blaze on the Greenwood Road, east of Andover. Crews were toned out at 8:20 P.M. and most weren’t back at 6 A.M. the next morning. Eleven fire personnel were treated for smoke inhalation and eight were admitted to area hospitals. The wind that evening was fierce and hampered the efforts to extinguish the stubborn blaze. The smoke was considered toxic due to paint and chemicals that were stored at the business.
On April 18, 1998 at Andover’s annual firemen’s dinner, the new addition that had never been dedicated was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Melba Mickle. Her two daughters Tommy and Kay were on hand to join in the ceremony. Two plaques were hung in her honor.
July – 1998: The Andover Fire Dept. becomes the 2nd fire dept. in Allegany Counties History to retire the elusive Revolving Trophy at the Allegany County Firemen’s Convention. The trophy is given out at the end of each Allegany County Convention to the department that scores the most total points through out the whole convention. If you do this three years in a row, you get to retire the trophy, which is a brass trumpet. It was won in 1996 in Richburg, 1997 in Whitesville, and in 1998 in Friendship. Bolivar is the other dept. to do so. It took our whole organization to do this. They were the fire dept. rescue squad, lady’s auxiliary, and the junior fire fighters. To pull off this amazing accomplishment, over 45 trophies were won by Andover in this three year span.
In October of 1998 the District “4” (Alfred, Almond, Alfred Station and Andover) air system was moved from Alfred to Andover. This mobile air system can be moved to the scene of a working fire or to a fire department to fill air bottles as needed.
In the summer of 1999 the 84th Allegany County Firemen’s Association Convention was held again in Andover. Edward Sackett was their President. It was a great convention.
March 2004: After the sudden death of Bill Snyder (DC-4) George Givens of the Andover Fire Dept. was appointed to replace him in that position.
Dec. 2004: Due to health reasons George Givens steps down as DC – 4 and David L. Wallace of the Andover Fire Dept. was appointed to replace him in that position.
On Dec. 15, 2005 James Jackson passed away. He was Andover’s highest decorated fireman in its history. His heroic deed will probably never be repeated. He was proud to be an Andover Fireman and we were proud that he was.
2006: Andover Fire Dept. hosted the 91st Allegany County Firemen’s Convention on July 12th to the 15th. George Givens was the County President. Another great convention here at Andover. Andover responed to 73 calls this year.
2007: Andover’s brush buggy was overhauled with the help of Hess Tire of Independence. Andover responded to 73 calls this year.
2008: As in every year, many fundraisers were held to help in purchasing equipment that is always needed. There were 86 calls this year.
2009: Andover answered 94 calls this year.
2010: Donald Baker was honored as being a 50 year member of the Andover Fire Dept. Andover answered 99 calls this year.
2011 and 2012: No information was turned in:
2013: Charles Joyce donated a Kubota UTV to the Andover Fire Dept. to help them in transporting men to hard to reach areas during emergencies. We can not “Thank” him enough for this very useful piece of equipment. We purchased a trailer to haul it and built a garage to store the UTV and tailer and other pieces of equipment.
2014: Andover Rescue Squad separates from the Andover Fire Dept. due to not being able to receive grants for funding their equipment. Update on the building and grounds went on throughout the year.
2015: On Dec. 8th, 2015 David L. Wallace passed way, while working for the Town of Andover. Dave was a past Chief of the Andover Fire Dept. and also a member of the Andover Rescue Squad. He held many positions in the Andover Fire Dept. and the Allegany Co. Fire organizations and was District Coordinator for District No. 4. He will be sadly missed in the fire service.
It all started with a hose cart a few hundred feet of hose and a dream of helping a neighbor and friend save his belongings, today two class A pumpers, a tanker, brush buggy, rescue truck, two ambulances and a mobile air truck, with the same dream of helping a neighbor and friend. Our neighbor’s and friend’s have extended to towns and villages that are miles away but the volunteers still give it their all.
Andover’s motto is “DEEDS NOT WORDS” we couldn’t have a better motto.