History of Monell Engine Company and the Washingtonville Fire Department
The first regular meeting of the Washingtonville Fire Department was held on December 8, 1892. The Company had been in service for a short while prior with a second-hand hand pumper, purchased from the Florida Fire Department, and a new hose cart purchased with donations from the public. The equipment was housed in the building which is now the Spear Printing Company. Twenty-five men were on the rolls that cold December night and almost all were present for the election of their first Foreman, Chauncey R. Jones. It is interesting to note that no president was elected. The Foreman not only ran the Company firematically, but also chaired the meetings. The office of President was not established until 1917 with the election of J. F. Dusenberry.
The year 1916 saw the purchase of the Company's first motorized unit- a pumper from the American LaFrance Company in Elmira, N. Y. It was soon realized that the current quarters would not accommodate the new pumper and another building had to be found. Ambrose Monell, a prominent resident, and a Colonel in the United States Aviation Corps, came forward and offered to donate the necessary money to erect a new firehouse if the Village would supply the necessary land. The village obliged by purchasing a piece of land on East Main Street in the center of the village (this building is now the Washingtonville Police Station). For Mr. Monell's great contribution, the members of the department voted unanimously to name the company;
Monell Engine Company
A need for Fire Police was felt in 1929 to help direct traffic and secure the fire scene. Today, there are ten Fire Police led by Fire Police Captain Kevin Flanagan.
Another American LaFrance pumper was purchased in 1934 to replace the aging 1916 LaFrance. This vehicle saw service until 1966 when it was retired. It is still maintained by the company as a show piece along with the hand pumper and hose cart.
In February 1949 the ladies came into their own with the formation of the Monell Ladies Auxiliary. Many cold nights were made warmer with the ladies serving coffee at the fire scene. They are currently directed by their president, Maureen Devinko.
As the years went by, the company continued to grow and, with the purchase of a fourth piece of apparatus in 1972, it was evident that our two-bay station built by Mr. Monell was no longer adequate. The members decided they would build a new larger fire station themselves and lease the apparatus room back to the village. The year 1975 saw our labors reach reality when we moved into our current quarters - a six-bay structure on East Main Street.
In 1989 we ceased being under the control of the Village Board as we formed the Washingtonville Fire District operated by a board of Fire Commissioners. Current Commissioners are: Chairman Joe Courter, Co Chairman James Conley, Brian Zaccaro, Paul Schmitt, and David J. Phillips III.
Today, with nearly 90 members on our rolls, we are led by
Chief, James Skelly and President, Stephen W. Smith.
We operate seven pieces of apparatus consisting of two engines, an aerial, a heavy rescue, a tanker, a brush unit and a utility vehicle.
We are proud of our heritage and the service that we have rendered our neighbors and community for the past one hundred-seventeen years. And we look forward to our upcoming years of service with great expectations.