Cuba Fire Department Inc

History of the Cuba Fire Department

As a community becomes larger it requires more services. One of the services vital to any community is that of fire protection.

The traditions begun in the dim past still flourish today to make Cuba Fire Department an institution of which our community can be justly proud: securing the best possible equipment, dedication of the men and women to a high level of readiness, concern for fire prevention , sponsoring worthwhile activities, making the community proud on public occasions, honoring those who have served the department well, and meriting and receiving the support of the community.

Believing that fire prevention and fire safety are very important, we take great pride in our efforts in these areas. Besides seeing the severity of our alarms reduced, we have been fortunate enough over the years to take 1st Place for our efforts in Allegany County, SouthWestern Association (4 Western New York Counties) and the Western Association(13 Western New York Counties).

Throughout the years, Cuba Fire Department has had many occasions to be proud of its achievements, but there is probably no single occasion through which the fire department and the community of Cuba can be more proud than when the new fire hall was built. The building was completed with NO tax dollars used for the project.  All the money was given as pledges from Cuba's community, the Fire Department, and the surrounding communities and organizations.

The Following are some highlights from the long and proud history of the Cuba Fire Department:

·         1850: Bucket Brigade- Every occupant of any building in which there is a fire kept shall furnish himself with a leathern bucket and a ladder of sufficient length to reach the housetop. A fine of $1 and the cost of collection is imposed for the violation of this ordinance.

·         1866: Pioneer Hook and Ladder Co. organized with Rueben Hills as Captain.

·         1867: Nov 5th Fire Department formally organized with E.D. Loveridge as President; Russell Smith , Chief ; E.B. Hunt, Foreman; J. Hallack, Assistant Foreman; Horace Easton, Foreman of Hose; R.H. Moses, Treasurer; Jasper Palmer, Secretary; and H. Holmes, Vice President.

·         1867: Nov. 28th Department adopted a Constitution and By-Laws and the name Rescue Fire Co. #1. “Red Jacket,” a used fire engine and a quantity of hose was purchased from Elmira.

·         1868: Jan 13th “Red Jacket” first used on a fire at Russell Smiths Barn. The Barn was too far gone before firemen arrived. Barn was consumed.

·         1868: Jan 17th House and Drug store of J.J. Ashley destroyed. “Red Jacket” did not perform well as water was frozen in the lines. Temporary housing was found for the engine.

·         1868 through 1872: Fires galore! Village of Cuba was plagued by many fires, sometimes as many as 10 or 12 in a single year. This was probably due to wood construction of buildings, open fires used for heating, lighting and manufacturing. Dwellings, barns, hotels, business blocks, a copper shop, machine shop, stores, Baptist Church, and the Episcopal Rectory were all lost during this period. Many Times the destroyed building was replaced by a more substantial structure. Examples: The Baptist church in 1870 and the Palmer Block including the Opera House.

·         1872: Firemen honored E.R. Nash, one of their first firemen, by presenting him with a silver trumpet. A social followed the presentation.

·         1873: Village purchased a lot on Canal Street (Now Genesee Street) and erected a brick fire hall. The upper Story was used as a village hall. In the autumn, the firemen paraded at the annual fair of the Agricultural Society.

·         1874: “The new palmer Block was completed and JR. Palmer gave a party to the department to dedicate his new hall, including the Opera House, in appreciation for their efficient service in saving his block from entire destruction. It was the largest party as then ever held in Cuba”, Wrote John S. Minard.

·         The Ladies of Cuba Raised $139.14 for the department through a benefit concert. The firemen used the money to purchase 50 Engine Hats, 15 Hose hats and 15 uniform shirts.

·         1876: A Concert for the benefit of the fire department was given  by the North Carolinans, and Rev. V.A. Sage gave a fine Discourse Complimentary to the Fire Department.

·         1877: Sept. 10th Funeral for Foreman Jasper Palmer. He ws the first fireman buried by the department.

·         1877: The engine and hose companies were incorporated, E.R. Nash and Edwin Adams were elected delegates to the State Firemen’s Association.

·         1878: July 4th a parade and celebration were held and by invitation the Fire Departments of Wellsville, Franklinville and Olean participated. There was a hose race for a prize, a silver trumpet. The distance run was 1,000 feet, with 200 feet of hose laid. The James Macken Hose, The Howard Hose and the Rescue Hose competed, the last two making the run in 46 Seconds. The Rescue Hose generously withdrew and the prize went to the visiting Companies.

·         1881: The Department was incorporated y special act of the legislature through the offices of the Hon. S.H. Morgan, then an assemblyman from Allegany County.

·         1889: The Village water system was installed and the town historian ceased to record fires after that date.

·         1890: by the 1890’s the Cuba Fire Department was composed of the three Hose Companies and a Hook and Ladder Company; Rescue Hose Co. #1, D.B. Whipple Hose Co., Glenn Hose Co. and ED Loveridge Hook and Ladder.

·         1895: Cuba’s Famous Whipple Hose Co. won the world’s record at that time of 28 Seconds. The Contest was held at the Cuba Fair and four hose companies participated: The Tannery Hose of Limestone, the Acme Hose of Olean, the East Randolph-Salamanca team and Whipple Hose Co. of Cuba. Members of the team Were Harry O’Malley, Melvin Boss, John Jones, Dallas B. Whipple, Charles Pierce, Floyd Southworth, Nate Rose, George Puller, Walter Davidson, (Ormiston), Edward Atherton, J. Fenton Olive, Victor French, Arthur Howard, William H. Keller, William Bates, Chester O. Olive, Harry Thompson and William H. Merritt. These competitions were important in helping the team keep up the speed and efficiency so vital in fighting fires.

·         1896: Firemen’s Fair Opened Monday Evening at the Opera House, and is an assured success, Nearly 400 attended. The prize for the best lady waltzer was a Japanese Silk Lamberquin, Valued at $6.00, went to Miss Evelyn Richie, the Second Grade Teacher.

·         1910: The membership consists of over 100 Volunteers and the several companies are all equipped with modern apparatus.

·         1910: For promptness in answering fire alarms and efficiency of action of fires and methods used in saving property and lives, the Cuba Fire Department has won a high reputation second to no other Department in Western New York. Officers of the department: Chief: J.C. Holden; Sec.: Fred Guild; Treas.: J.T. Robinson *Note:  Lester E. Dayton claims to be the oldest Volunteer fireman in active service and membership in the state.

·         1917: July, hosted the Allegany County Firemen’s Association annual convention in honor of Past President John Mc Vey.

·         1919: A pamphlet on Cuba boasted “a volunteer fire department consisting of 125 men with good firefighting apparatus gives Cuba and exceedingly low insurance rate.”

·         1926: On Dec. 7th the separate hose companies consolidated into one Cuba Fire Department. The roster was reduced from 125 men to 50 to lower the cost to the village of compensation against injury and loss of life. Emphasis was placed on modern Equipment.

·         1928: Cuba Fire Department purchased a 1928 Sanford truck which was the first motorized pumper without a chemical unit in Allegany County. The Department still owns this truck and is used primarily for fire prevention activities. It was brought out of retirement during the flood in 1972 to pump the Presbyterian Church Basement.

·         1933: July, hosted the Allegany County Firemen’s Association annual convention in honor of Past President Henry Funk from Richburg.

·         1941: The Department initiated a fire prevention Essay Contest at Cuba Central School.

·         1946: July Hosted the Allegany County Firemen’s Association annual Convention in honor of Past President John W. Jones from Wellsville.

·         1948: Firemen moved from the Genesee Street Building to 49 West Main Street, a former Garage.

·         1949: Feb. 1st Cuba hosted the First New York State Fire Training Program. The mutual Aid System was set up for Co-Operation between Departments in the county.

·         1957: July Hosted the Allegany County Firemen’s Association Annual Convention in honor of the Past President Dorr Nickerson from Scio.

·         1963: Firemen voted $2000.00 to construct a fire training tower located in what is now Firemen’s Park.

·         1967: Purchased 18 plectron home receivers at a cost of $2500.00 Today every member is equipped with a small fire pager to carry Valued at $500 each.

·         1967: July, Hosted the Allegany County Firemen’s Association annual convention in honor of Past President Loren Chamberlain.

·         1972: Department began sponsoring Dairy Week. This started as the Sesquicentennial for the Town of Cuba and has evolved into what it is today.

·         1973: Department took over entire sponsorship of Dairy Week.

·         1976: Department Purchased the 75’ Aerial Ladder from Young Fire Equipment. The Ladder was originally owned by Snyder Fire Department. (From buffalo area) Who know owns it again and restoring it.

·         1977: Firemen’s Memorial Park was dedicated. The 1874 Fire Bell Stands Atop the monument as a memorial “To all the Cuba Fire Department members who have answered their last alarm.”

·         1977: Village purchased land on East Main Street Anticipating the need for a new fire hall.

·         1978: July, Hosted the Allegany County Firemen’s Association annual convention in honor of Past President Larry Dye.

·         1978: Cuba Fire Department won first place for Fire Prevention efforts in Allegany County, Southwestern Volunteer Firemen’s Association, and Western Volunteer Firemen’s Association. These activities include poster and Essay contests, King and Queen of Fire Prevention, Demonstrations, Slide Program, Sliding down a rescue chute, Comic Books, Booklets, courses in fire prevention, babysitting course, 4H Fire Safety program and visits from Scorchy (CFD Symbol of Fire Prevention). The program also extends into the adult community with inspection of businesses, industry, schools, hospitals, and other public buildings, a slide presentation and demonstrations on exit procedures and proper use of fire extinguishers.

·         1979: Nico Van Zwanenberg spearheaded a fund drive to purchase the “Jaws Of Life” at a cost of $6000.00.

·         1979: Village Plan submitted to HUD for funding a new fire station, community center and municipal offices was rejected.

·         1981: Cuba Fire Department again won multiple Fire Prevention Awards.

·         1982: February and March Survey run for pros and cons of method of funding a new fire hall. Options were taxes or donations. Informal poll showed community overwhelmingly in favor of fund raiser. In May Past Chief Larry Dye was appointed fund raising coordinator. Past Chief  and Current President Bruce Matteson and Chief Richard Seigel in Charge of Construction. The entire committee consisted of: Bruce Matteson, Dick Seigel, Larry Dye, Larry Spateholts, Don Lopes, and Doug Burt.

·         1982: May A fundraising campaign was started to finance a new Fire Hall.

·         1982: August enough pledges were received to allow start of construction for the new fire hall.

·         1982: Resche Distributing donated a small delivery truck which the firemen converted into a utility van.

·         1983: February 28th equipment was moved from the old fire hall to the new building. During a construction workers party, CFD responded to a grass fire.

·         1983: April 9th 98.5% of the $250,000.00 goal in pledges was reached.

·         1983: April 16th A.A. Arnold Community Center and New Fire Hall was Dedicated. The new Brick Faced Building at 51 East Main Street is 104’ Long and 60’ Deep. Five Truck bays accommodate the CFD Fleet: Engine 2-3, a 1972 Ford 1000 gpm pumper, Engine 2-4 a 1972 GMC 350 GPM pumper, Engine 2-5 a 1971 GMC 1000 GPM pumper, 2T4 a 1957 American Lafrance 75’ aerial Ladder. M-69 a 1974 Utility Van and Engine 49, a 1928 Sanford pumper which is mainly used for Parades and Fire Prevention activities. The Bays are equipped with overhead fill pipes for fast and easy filling of the trucks with water and electric doors that can be activated from the radio room. Besides the truck bay and Radio Room, there is an office for the Chief, and office for the administrative officers, a large meeting room, a lounge area with kitchenette facilities and men’s and women’s restrooms. The A.A. Arnold Community Center, Situated in the ell section of the Building, has a large meeting room, a storage area, food preparation area (Not a full kitchen) and men’s and women’s restrooms.

·         1987: July hosted the Allegany County Firemen’s Association annual convention in honor of Past President Richard Seigel.

·         1987: October CFD accepted a new white 1250 GPM pumper made by FMC. This replaced a 16 year old truck chassis and a 30 year old equipment body.

·         1992: A utility van built completely by department members replaced the smaller van that has been used since 1983.

·         1992: October CFD accepted a new International 1250 GPM pumper made by KME. This truck replaced a pumper that was 21 Years old.

·         1993: July Hosted the Allegany County Fireman’s Association annual convention in honor of Past President Wayne Butts.

·         1995: April CFD purchased a used Air Force truck to use as a tanker. This was sold in October of 1999 with sale money to go towards the purchase of another tanker.

·         1998: Accepted a Ferrara 75’ aerial Ladder with a  1250 GPM pump. This replaced a 41 year old ladder truck and a 27 year old pumper. Part of the cost was borne by funds from the Cuba Fire Department Equipment Account.

·         2000: January accepted a 2,000 Gallon Tanker made by J&B Fabricating. The Tanker was purchased from the Cuba Fire Department Equipment Account.

·         2000: September purchased CFD memorial flag holders and flags for the cemetery on deceased members’ graves.

·         2000: October Rotary advised that they will not do the Truck & Tractor Pull the following year.

·         2000: December started to fly the MIA flag along with the American Flag.

·         2001: February purchased bibles to give to families of deceased members.

·          2002: Received large bequest from the estate of Gert Miller.

·         2002: July Allegany County Convention held in Cuba for outgoing president Dave Hardman.

·         2003: March, Received new Rescue Truck, Replaced old Cuba 6 and 601

·         2003: April Joined entire membership in FASNY

·         2003: August Grand Received to purchase a Thermal Imaging Camera

·         2004: May Received Emergency Signs for locating homes in an Emergency

·         2004: September, Received New Uniforms.

·         2005: February, added new computerized security system to the fire hall.

·         2005: February Received 3 Awards at the 1st Annual FASNY Winter Games in Lake Placid

·         2005: July New Air System installed in fire hall.

·         2005: August Wayne Butts elected president of the Southwestern Association.

·          2005: October, Purchased signs for the entrance into the village.

·         2005: November, received new rescue equipment, including new Jaws and misc. rescue tools.

·          2006: August, Southwestern Convention Held in Cuba for outgoing President Wayne Butts.