Volunteer Fire Company of the Week: The Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company
This week’s Volunteer Fire Company of the Week is The Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company. Here is some information about these Hometown Heroes and their fire company:
Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company was started January 7th, 1937 with fifty brand new firefighters and finally established a district in early 1939. They held bi-monthly meetings that were held at member’s homes, the school basement or The Rose Garden on Wehrle Drive. They had little equipment including a dozen rubber coats and boots that they purchased for $10.50 and battled fires with only one truck. The Fire Company held parties every few months to raise funds until the Fire Prevention contract with the Town of Clarence eased financial worries in 1941.
When World War 1 occurred it brought many changes to the Fire Company such as black out drills sometimes consisted of stimulate bomb drills to which the firemen responded. The war also necessitated the purchase of war insurance on the fire truck so that being said the truck had to be guarded every night by volunteers.
The land for the fire hall was purchased in 1943 and on March 17th 1947 the first meeting was held there. The Harris Hill Fireman’s Club was established in 1951. The club had dinners Wednesday through Saturday, and dances on Saturday evenings. The club discontinued in 1967 because it couldn’t compete with commercial restaurants.
By 1956 the Fire Company showed signs of outgrowing the fire hall, so they added on a new apparatus room and converted the old one into a banquet all. In 1960, the Junior Chamber of Commerce tried to donate an ambulance, but it was turned down. After Clarence Center Volunteer Fire Company complained about taking three quarters of the ambulance calls that were in Harris Hill’s district, in June of 1965 Harris Hill adopted a resolution to provide an ambulance service. In 1978, a New York State Human Rights Law which was against sexual discrimination gone into effect. It required a constitutional change which allowed a lady to become the first woman member of the Harris Hill Fire Company.
In 2001, The Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company Explorer Post 114 was started and consists of a group of 14-18 year old high school students who are interested in helping the community. The program is still active today. During the summer of 2005, Harris Hill moved into their new fire station located in the lot to the east of the old fire hall. The Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company has been through many changes during its history, the diversity of the people have made the Fire Company a thriving organization with the brightest of all futures. Today the Fire Company is very active in the community and continuing to strive to be the best.
After decades, Harris Hill’s mission statement remained the same. Whenever we are called out, no matter what time or day, no matter what elements cross our paths, rest assured the Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company will always be there to protect and serve. This year, Harris Hill celebrates their 75th Anniversary of providing professional service to our community!
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God Bless all of our Hometown Heroes!