A Brief History of Woodland Engine Company No. 4
By Firefighter Charles Martin III
During the year of 1911 a group of individual and civic minded gentleman decided that there was a need for additional fire protection on the south side of the Village of Rockville Centre. The Village was petitioned and a charter was granted and so on February 12, 1912, with a handful of men, a horse and a hose cart Woodland Hose Company No. 4 was organized, taking its name from the area in which we reside.
The apparatus was housed in various members barns until in 1915 a permanent quarters were erected, 20 Driscoll Ave. A loan of $1500 was extended by one of our members, Philip Von Dreele, and our quarters were built - one room with the apparatus room on the side.
Pulling the apparatus by hand was difficult and in 1915 funds were raised by the members and matched by the Village and Woodlands purchased a motorized chassis, placed the hose cart on the chassis and this became the first motorized piece of fire equipment in Rockville Centre.
In the 1920’s when Oceanside High School was destroyed by fire, the civic minded members of Woodlands offered the firehouse to serve as a school room for the students until the new school was built. That offer was accepted by the school. In 1926 a Maxim pumper was received and in 1933 the company name was changed to Woodland Engine Company No. 4.
The backbone of any fire company is its membership who contributes what they can to provide all important fire and emergency services to our village. On our present company rolls we have compiled slightly more than one thousand years of service to our community. With some of our present members here today who served with those early members of our company, the links between our past and present.
Through our history our company has had the distinction of having eleven members elected to the office of Chief. The company has always been active in supporting the Rockville Centre Fire Department and its endeavors throughout the Village.
Our company has enjoyed many years of successful competition in various athletic events. Our motto of “How are we going to do this, TOGETHER” is why the walls of this firehouse attest to dedication, teamwork and camaraderie our members put forth as a company. Since 2000 the company has won State Old Fashioned Drill Championships for 9 of the past 12 years and recently broke a long held record for most consecutive Home Tournament Wins within the Rockville Centre Fire Department. The team also holds three State records in separate events.
While our company has enjoyed many years without a tragic loss in 1933 a dark moment occurred in our history when one of our members Robert Ottman was injured while responding to an alarm at box 4-4-4, and subsequently died from his injuries.
Not only has Woodlands served our community but many of our members served our country from World War I to the present. One of our many members who served during World War II, David Sorrentino, was killed in action.
In 1948 the company was the first company to go to an enclosed cab with its new Maxim Pumper. In 1968 the house was expanded by the addition of a new truck room to accommodate our new larger 1968 Mack Pumper. In 1984 the new Pircsh Pumper was received which was the first single stage pump in Rockville Centre. During the 1980’s the members refurbished our firehouse adding a new officer’s room, TV room and meeting room.
While over 100 years has passed since the formation of Woodlands, the traditions and values of our founding members have remained unchanged and lives as strongly today. The officers and members of Woodland Engine Company No. 4 are dedicated to face the challenges of the future and are dedicated and committed to providing the best emergency services to our fellow citizens. We can say with confidence “Any run, anytime, anywhere!”.