Niverville Fire Department, Inc.

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Niverville Fire Department, Inc.


Written by: James Vandenburgh


The history and highlights of the Niverville Fire Dept. is dedicated to all the past and present officers, men and women who have volunteered since 1916, to serve their neighbors in the times of need.

The Niverville Fire Dept. not only provided over the years, a fire station, but also a social center, a voting place, a court house, a disaster shelter, and a banquet hall.

Late in 1915 a group of Niverville men met and discussed forming a fire dept. to protect the community in which they lived.

On January 6,1916, the following people met at the Niverville school house to formally organize the fire dept. These people attending are considered the charter members of the Niverville Fire Dept.: Paul T. Winslow, George E. Kipp, Christopher Swerzy, Robert Lansing, John A. Geiger, Charles A. Kipp, William Biesel, J. W. Paddock, Lucas L. VanAllen, Edward Miller, Edward Akin, and F. C. Nordseik.

The following officers were elected in 1916:

President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Captain,

1st Lieutenant 2nd Lieutenant, Directors.


Paul T. Winslow

Vice President

Robert Lansing


J. W. Paddock


John A. Geiger


George E. Kipp

1st Lieutenant

Charles A. Kipp

2nd Lieutenant

Edward Miller


William Biesel


Edward Akin


F. C. Nordseik

The members of the newly formed fire dept. had a community fund drive right away and $340.00 was collected. At the February 1916 meeting, captain Kipp was authorized to install a fire whistle on Kipp's Garage, (Note: Kipp's Garage served as the fire house until 1918). Also the captain was authorized to purchase 12 fire pails. The fire dept. also purchased a used chemical fire engine for $310.93.

The first fire that the fire dept. responded to was April 5, 1916 at the John Kipp residence. Six members responded. On October 7,1918 the fire dept. purchased the L. L. VanAllen store and work began immediately to convert the store into the firehouse. On December 2, 1918 after having monthly meetings at the Niverville school house and chemical engine housed at Kipp's Garage, since the fire dept. was formed in 1916, the members held their first meeting in the newly converted fire house. (Note: This building remained as the firehouse until 1968.)

In December 1921 taxpayers petitioned the Kinderhook town board to form a fire protection district in the outlying areas and to have the Niverville fire dept. cover this area.

In 1925 the fire dept. purchased an American La France 3 tank chemical engine on a Brockway Chassis.

In 1933 a Dodge truck was purchased and the chemical tanks from the Brockway were mounted on the Dodge. The Brockway American La France will now carry 200' of 1" hose, and 1000' of 2" hose with related nozzles. Niverville now had two fire trucks.

In 1934 members voted to add a truck bay to the fire house. In 1936 the fire dept. purchased a 1935 Ford chassis for $550.00 and sent the chassis to Elmira, NY and had a Ward La France fire engine body mounted on it for $2,343.00 (Note: Although this fire truck is no longer in service as a piece of fire fighting equipment, it is still owned by the Niverville fire dept. and will be in several parades the year.)

In 1941, the dept. celebrated its 25th anniversary. The four remaining charter members were presented with gold badges: Charles A. Kipp, George E. Kipp, Edward Akin and Paul T. Winslow. At the banquet for the occasion, Mr. Winslow gave an interesting talk on the history of the fire dept. on the last 25 years.

In 1945, chief Ron Face brought up the idea of the Fourth of July fund drive. As of 2001 this is still being done on July 4th and children of the fire district enjoy rides on the fire trucks.

In September 1949 members voted to purchase a 1949 KB-6 International truck chassis for $2,500.00 from Ben Funk, Hudson, NY and had a 1200 gallon tank installed on the chassis. (Note: This served as the "Niverville Farm Pumper" for 33 years. The truck is presently owned by Ben Funk and is being restored to its original condition.)

In 1951 the residents in the town of Chatham living on the East side of Kinderhook Lake will now be covered by the Niverville fire dept. It will be known as the Kinderhook Lake Fire Protection District.

In 1958, the members doing the work themselves, added a second story to the firehouse for a meeting room. In 1962 an International R-190 truck with a Sanford fire body was purchased. (Note: This truck served for 29 years.)

In 1965 the dept. purchased 13 acres of land to construct a new fire station. (Note: The present Main Street firehouse sits on the land and was constructed in 1968.)

In 1966, chief Bill Horton announced that the 1935 Ford will be painted gold in honor of the fire dept's 50th anniversary. (Note: This truck remained gold until 1991 when it was painted red for the 75th anniversary of the fire dept.)

In 1970 with the expanding houses being built and with more population in our area, the fire department purchased Sutton Garage on Rt. 9 by Westlyn Grove. This building will be known as station #2. (Note: This building served as station #2 for 29 years.)

In 1972, an International/Sanford pumper was purchased.

In 1974 a used GMC truck was purchased for an emergency truck.

In 1976 a 4 wheel drive International/Sanford was purchased. (Note: This truck is still in service at station #1 and is 45-1.)

In 1982 a Ford American La France pumper was purchased. (Note: This truck served for 18 years and was recently sold to a fire dept. in Oklahoma.) Also, in 1982 a used step van was purchased for an emergency truck.

In 1987, the dept. purchased two air force jet fuel tankers on GMC chassis. Each tanks holds 5000 gallons. (Note: One unit was sold, and one unit was placed in service as a tanker. Anew International chassis was purchased in 1994 and this tanker serves as 45-5 at station #1.)

On August 17, 1991 the fire dept. conducted a parade and celebration for the 75th anniversary, of the fire dept.

In 1992 the dept. took delivery of a full custom Beck fire truck. This unit is 45-3 and housed at station #1.

In 1993 a 1986 GMC 4 wheel drive rescue truck was purchased from Clark, NJ fire dept. It is housed at station #1, and carries the jaws of life, water rescue equipment, and various fire equipment. Truck #45-9.

In 1999, with land donated by the Meyers family, a new 3 bay station #2 was built on Rt. 9, just south of the old station #2.

In 2000 an International/Boice pumper tanker was delivered and is housed at station #2. Truck #45-2.

In 2003-2004 a KME  Fire Rescue truck was acquired to replace a 1986 GMC 4 wheel drive rescue truck.  Truck #45-9.

In 2006, with funding for a grant from Senator Steven Seland’s office, a Dodge Durango was acquired to replace a 1998 Toyota RAVE-4, used in the fire department’s EMS program.

2007 saw the replacement of the 1976, 4-wheel-drive, International/Sanford with a 2007 KME, 4-wheel-drive, Navistar chassis vehicle and the installation of a 9-bay Plymo-Vent system.

In 2008 a used Ford Explorer was purchased from a down-state fire department and became a fire department COMMAND vehicle, used by the Chief(s) to respond to fire calls.

There have been numerous fire calls and serious car accidents over the years in Niverville. Also there have been several large incidents over the years:

1928-Dance hall at Electric Park burned,

1934-Grist Mill destroyed-at the time it was described as the largest fire ever in Niverville,

1941-Large barns burned at Steeles,

1942-Coal storage and coal chutes at Harry News Coal Company,

1943-Niverville school house where the fire dept. first met,

1958-Barn fire at the Irish Farm, Rt. 28B,

the 60's saw the old Rail Road Green warehouse burn up,

the 70's-another barn fire at the Irish's, and barn fire at Dahlgrens,

1983-Niverville village evacuated due to a railroad tank car leaking chemicals by Caro-Vail,

1986-Citgo station gutted at Main Street and Rt. 203,

1987-a helicopter crashed on Rt. 9,

1988-Pfeifffer's landmark barn destroyed by fire,

July 1988 two freight trains derailed by the Rt. 28B crossing. One train car hit a mobile home in Heimroths trailer park,

1990-Large barn fire at Oom's, Rt. 28A, and freight train hit a bulldozer on the tracks off Newton Hill Rd., also, in 1990 a school bus rollover on Rt. 28B,

1992-Period Picks antiques on Rt. 9 and Herrick Road.

The 90's also saw a barn-warehouse fire on Rt. 28B, a gas tanker rollover on 9H, and a boiler room fire at ICC high school.

The history cannot be completed without mentioning the ladies auxiliary. They, over the years, have helped the fire dept. with numerous dinners, banquets, fundraisers, and donating money towards fire trucks and fire equipment, not to mention all the times they supplied refreshments during and after fire calls.

The Niverville Fire Department is a 501 (C) (3) not for profit agency under the rules of the IRS.  Donations are tax deductible as permitted by law.