We would like to congratulate six new members that have been sworn in to the Rockville Center Fire Department
Defender Hose Company No. 1
Defender Hose Company No. 1, organized in October 1895, is the third oldest fire company in Rockville Centre, serving our community for 128 years.
Our company got its name from the schooner “DEFENDER” which won the America’s Cup just prior to the organization of the company. Its skipper,
Henry Haff, was invited to visit us, which he did in 1898, and he was made an honorary member. He presented us with a photograph of the ship that still hangs on our wall. We have resided on South Centre Avenue since we were formed. Our original building was what, at the time, was the Village Hall where the Village’s incorporation papers were signed in October 1893.
The first piece of apparatus used by the company was a hand drawn hose cart. Today, we serve you with a Spartan E. R. V. pumper. Our active membership consists of 44 members, ranging in age from 18 to 89 and service time ranging from one month to 70 years. Eleven of our members have distinguished themselves by serving as Chief of the Rockville Centre Fire Department. Four more served as First Assistant Chief of the Rockville Centre Fire Department. One member, Joseph Treccasi, went on to serve as President of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York and several other regional organizations.
We take pride in our service to the community in past years, and each year we continue our training and education to better prepare ourselves for today’s emergencies. We thank the residents for the past support and look forward to providing dependable service to our community in the future.
EUREKA! We’ve Found It.
The year was 1874, the place was the hamlet of Rockville Centre and the issue which was a fire that burned down a building in the little farming community. The problem – the residents had no way to protect themselves from fire. The closest fire company was the newly formed brigade in Freeport; Hempstead had some companies but there were no viable roads to get here from there, and to the west the closest help was in far off Jamaica.
With the arrival of the new Long Island Rail Road in 1867 new folks were moving in, commuting to the City and raising real estate values. So a group of local working men decided to take matters into their own hands and protect themselves and their neighbors with a Fire Company. They held fundraisers (collected the $150 needed to build the fire rig), found the local tradesman to build it, found a small building on Washington Street to house the rig and, most of all, found ten men good and true to take up the task.
In 1875 they named the company “Eureka Hook Ladder & Bucket Company” (“Eureka” means “I have found it”). Done without a Village, without a “Nassau County”, without electric or telephones, without water mains but with a dedication to the duty of safeguarding their neighbors lives and property.
Eureka has been going to blazes for 148 years, through two world wars and too many conflicts around the world. Over a thousand men and women have been proud to serve and protect their Village.
Eureka no longer uses water buckets; our original hand pulled rigs gave way to horse drawn which changed to motor powered trucks. The Company currently operates a 100’ bucket truck, a 100’ aerial truck and a technical rescue vehicle. We serve with our six sister fire companies comprising a professional level Department that still voluntarily protects our neighbors’ lives with our own.
Eureka – the big trucks with the big ladders and the firefighters with the red helmets. We look forward to being a part of what makes Rockville Centre so special for another 148 years.