Welcome to Deerfield Vol. Fire Co. Inc
The Deerfield Volunteer Fire Company No #1, Inc serves the Town of Deerfield, NY, along with an approximate 6-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway. The department operates out of two firehouses, and responds with three engine companies, two rescue companies and a tanker. The Deerfield Fire Company has a proud history of dedicated service to its surrounding community.
The following history of the Deerfield Fire Company
that started in 1890's can be found on Chapter 10 as written in
"Deerfield NEW YORK - A Glimpse into the Past" by Virginia C. Loin:
About 1890, a volunteer fire company was organized in the southern part of town. In 1895 Peter Schilz, Jr. erected a building on Coventry Ave (Deerfield Corners) for a town hall and for the use of the Deerfield Fire Company, of which he was a member. The 1857 hose carriage of the old Utica Tiger Hose Company was housed in this framed building. The owner of each dwelling, store, or workshop was required to keep one or more leather buckets hung nearby for the sole purpose of extinguishing fires.
Prior to the river straightening, the Deerfield Fire Company held a meeting to discuss their future course as to whether they would remain in existence and work for the city for a time, or disband and become a part of the town. Nothing definite was decided except to hold a special meeting with Mayor Smith of Utica, at which time they agreed to help in the fighting of fires until the new bridge over the Mohawk River was built.
In November of 1917 the Utica Dire Department extended its operation to North Utica and became Engine 10, using the building formerly occupied by the Deerfield Volunteers. From 1917 to 1949, Deerfield relied on Utica for help in the southern end and looked to other surrounding communities for fire protection in the other parts of town. The “bucket brigade” was planned and widely used, since this was the quickest method to fight a fire and used extensively in the rural areas.
The pride and ambition of each fire company was to be the first to reach a fire and be most efficient in putting it out. The firemen had a great love for this endeavor. They would leave their businesses, dinners, or anything else and rush for the engine. The firemen paid all their own expenses for social activities and for painting, repairing, and decorating the equipment. The volunteer firemen of the past, as well as the present, have many stories to tell of heroism, danger, triumph, joy, and death. If a fireman saved a life, he would not think of himself but considered it an act “in the line of duty”
Today, the people of Deerfield have reason to be proud of their Volunteer Fire Company. Every man (and now women) volunteers their time and risks their life to protect the citizens of our town. In addition to fighting fires, the Company responds to inhalator-resuscitator (now known as EMS) calls, lost persons searches, flooded cellars, and assist other town departments in Oneida County (and Herkimer County) Mutual Aid System.
The following excerpt was authored by Gary DeStefanis, Sr. (current member of DFD):
The Deerfield Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. 1949-1997
The present Deerfield Volunteer Fire Company was organized on May 17, 1949 at a meeting called by a group of town citizens interested in organizing a volunteer fire company. This meeting was at the “Town Shed” (barn) and was chaired by Dr. Samuel Singer. These dedicated Deerfield residents realized the need to provide fire protection for the growing town. In September of 1949, incorporation papers were competed and filed with the State of New York in Albany.
The original Deerfield Firehouse was located in a barn, donated by Dick Jiampietro, on Miller Road near the intersection of Davis Road. During the early stages of the organization various options for fire apparatus and equipment were studied.
On August 2nd, 1949 the first pump, an Army surplus centrifugal pump with a 6 cylinder marine engine, mounted on a trailer was purchased for the cost of $300. On September 20, 1949 a GMC chassis was purchased and delivered to Jim Rockino, a fireman who agreed to guild this first fire truck for a cost of no more than $5,020 including equipment. This truck, the original Deerfield 801 pumper, was delivered on January 6, 1950. The Deerfield Volunteer Fire Company #1 Inc. responded to its first call on February 2, 1950 at 6:15 AM. This was a tractor trailer fuel oil tanker on Trenton Road, near the Niagara Mohawk Power station.
In 1952 the Deerfield Fire District #1 was established which permitted taxes to be collected to equip and maintain the department. A group of five Fire Commissioners were elected by the townspeople to oversee the purchase and maintenance of fire fighting equipment and facilities to hose them. The Board of Fire Commissioners, still in existence today, has been composed of many town citizens who receive no compensation for their many hours of dedicated service. This board has consistently and effectively used the tax dollars wisely to purchase, maintain, and house fire fighting equipment. Past Fire Commissioners can be seen on the Fire District webpage.
The Deerfield Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. and the District presently operates out of two firehouses. The Roberts Road station (now designated “Station 2”) was built in 1953 on land donated by Bruce and Alice Folts. This station was constructed by the volunteer firemen for the cost of $500. It consisted of a one-stall garage and housed one piece of apparatus. Through the years, with additions and alterations by both the fire district and fire department, the building has expanded and houses three pieces of apparatus (Currently an Engine, Tanker, & small Rescue).
Due to the increasing town population, the Trenton Road Fire Station was built in 1954. Upon completion the only one truck was transferred to this location. The station originally consisted of a two-stall garage which faced Trenton Road, along with a meeting room, kitchen, and fire district office. In 1975-76 this building was expanded to its present state with a four bay station facing Firehouse Road. This expansion was competed at a minimal cost to taxpayers with the help of BOCES students. Now designated as “Station 1”, here is housed x2 Engines, EMS Rescue, Squad, and Retired 802.
Being 100% volunteer means that at any given time there may not be anyone manning the fire stations; therefore, a means of notification of fire or emergency had to be devised. Originally a phone call was made to Anthony Iacovino’s John Street garage initiating a pyramid telephone calling system. A call was also made to Domser’s Dairy on Trenton Road, at which time a siren activated to alert volunteers. In more recent times a fire phone system was established placing emergency phones into several homes and businesses throughout the town. These phones were capable of activating the large sires at both stations. Later they also activated the new radio paging system. Most recently the fire phone system has been retired and replaced with the more common “911”. Oneida County system is able to activate all the firefighters pager & radios as well as activate the firehouse sirens.
Through the years, many pieces of firefighting apparatus have been obtained by both the fire district and the volunteers:
1956 – (“809” then “805 Utility”) A Ford Emergency Salvage was purchased with the fire company funds and then turned over to the fire district for the cost of a $1. It was housed at the Trenton Road station and carried first aid and salvage equipment. Most recently this truck has been retired and is currently being used by the DFD “Hosebusters” Firematic Drill Team.
1957 – (“802 = Engine 2”) A new GMC 750 Gallon-per-minute pumper was purchased and put into service at the Trenton Road station. The original pumper was transferred to the Roberts Road station in order to provide extended protection to the entire district. Though 802 is now retired, it is still housed at Station 1 and maintain by the volunteer. Being DFD First real fire truck, the volunteer want to keep it for nostalgia and a parade truck.
1959 – (“807 = Tanker 7”) A used Brockway water tank truck with a 2,200 gallon capacity was put into service at the Roberts Road station. This provided more adequate fire protection to the non-fire hydrant portions of the district.
1964 – (“801 = Engine 1”) A new GMC 750 gallon-per-minute pumper carrying 1,000 gallons of water was purchased and stationed at the newly expanded Roberts Road Firehouse, along with the Tanker. This truck replaced the original Deerfield 801 wihd was sold to the West Amboy Fire Department.
1967 – (“807 = Tanker 7”) A new GMC 2,500 gallon capacity tank truck was a 250 gpm pump was purchased. This replaced the 1959 Brockway which was sold to the Otter Lake Fire Department.
1972 - (“809 = Rescue 9”) A new Boyertown Emergency-Salvage panel truck was put into service at the Trenton Road Fire Station. This truck replaced the existing 809 which then became “805” and was housed at Roberts Road station as a utility/salvage vehicle.
1976 - (“803 = Engine 3”) A new GMC diesel with 1,000 gpm pump was purchased and put into service at the newly expanded Trenton Road station. This pump added a great deal for fire fighting capabilities to the district.
1986 - (“805 = Rescue 5”) A new Salisbury 4-wheel drive mini-pump/rescue with a 750 gpm pump and 225 gallon tank was purchased and put into service at the Roberts Road fire station replacing the 1956 Utility. This vehicle greatly improved the pumping capability from ponds and streams in the non-hydrant parts of town, as well as providing additional response to emergency medical calls (EMS).
1988 - (“804 = Engine 4”) A new custom Seagraves Pumper was purchased with grant funds received from the Power Authority State of New York. This grant was made available due to the construction of an additional electric transmission line through the Town of Deerfield.
1992 - (“807 = Tanker 7”) A new Ford diesel tanker with a 500 gpm pump carrying 2,000 gallons of water was put into service at the Roberts Road Fire Station. This replaced the older 1967 tanker which was turned over to the Deerfield Town Highway Department.
1992 - (“806 = Rescue 6”) A used Chevy Suburban was purchased by the volunteer firemen with fund raising proceeds and turned over to the fire district. This vehicle improved the response to medical emergencies and was put into service at the Trenton Road Station.
1997 - (“801 = Engine 1”) A new custom Claiber-HME combination pump/rescue was purchased and put into service at the Trenton Road station replacing 1972 Rescue 9 and older 1964 Engine 1.
1997 - (“Squad 1”) A new Dodge 4-wheel drive one ton pick-up was purchased by the volunteer firemen and turned over to the fire district. In 2010 it was replaced by a Ford 1-ton “dually”. One of its tasks is for “hauling” the drill team vehicles.
2007 - (“806 = Rescue 6”) A Ford Excursion 4-wheel drive with EMS compartment conversion was purchased by the volunteer firemen and turned over to the fire district. It replaced the used Rescue 6 Suburban and answers EMS calls and housed majority of the time at Station 1.
2008 - (“805 = Rescue 5”) A Ford 4-Door 4-wheel drive with Utility body was purchased by the volunteer firemen and turned over to the fire district. It replaced the 1986 Rescue 5 pump/rescue and still housed majority of the time at Station 2.
2014 - (“803 = Engine 3”) A new custom pumper is being put out to bid to be placed at the Trenton Road station replacing 1976 Engine 3. At that time Engine 4 will be transferred to the Roberts Road station.
The firefighters of the Deerfield Volunteer Fire Company Inc. have been and will always be a proud group of individuals from the Chief down. Currently, the department is comprised of over 70 active members and over 30 associate members. They respond to fire, medical emergencies, rescues, and other emergency service calls when citizens of the Town of Deerfield and surrounding communities are in need. They do this at any times of the day and night, in all types of weather, at times, risking their own lives without any compensation whatsoever. Each individual attends many hours of special training courses in fire fighting, emergency medical services, and rescue.
Through the years, the volunteer firefighters of Deerfield have responded to all types of emergencies most of which have resulted in lives and property saved. At times however, some situations resulted in the loss of lives and property. Some of the more challenging fire calls were barn fires, for example, the Hobin barn fire on Cheese Factory Road, and the Brown barn fire on Steuben Road. Firefighters spent more than 24 consecutive hours at these fire scenes. The Iscovino barn fire on Smith Hill was exceptional due to the difficulty of getting water to the scene and, at the same time, fighting a second fire at the Deerfield Tavern on crooked Brook Road. Both of these fires were in the non-hydrant district of town. The fire company has responded to many motor vehicle accidents through the years, many of which occurred on Trenton Road – Route 12 and Walker Road/Route 8, some of which were fatalities. In recent years the fire company has been fortunate to have many firefighters trained as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and Paramedics. Along with updated medical equipment, this has greatly increases life saving capabilities at any type of medical emergency.
The Volunteer Firefighters of Deerfield have sponsored many fund-raising activities over the years. Originally, they consisted of dances, scrap and paper drives, pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, and raffles. Currently DFD sponsors chicken barbecues, fund drives, Field days, and the famous Lenten and Fall Fish Frydays, are especially well received by all who attend. Proceeds from these events are used to aid the department in its civic functions as well as the purchase of fire, EMS, and rescue equipment. The annual Halloween Party, fire prevention demonstrations for Deerfield school student, the annual high school scholarship award, and the traditional visit from “Santa” riding the fire truck through-out the town, are all funded by these proceeds. The fire department proudly provides sponsorship and funding for many youth organizations such as Cub Scout Pack 59, Boy Scout Troop 59, Explorer Post 59, a Girl Scout Troop, along with several youth sport organizations
In 1985 the members of the Deerfield Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. purchased the parcel of property adjacent to the Trenton Road firehouse that was originally part of the Weaver Estate. The acquisition of this property, along with the new Firemen’s pavilion, restrooms, and the Firemen’s training facility, enhanced the Fire Company’s capability in hosting its various fund raising events, training classes, and community functions.
The Deerfield Fire Company “Hosebusters” Drill Team has been very active for many years with Firematic drill team associations of Oneida County, Northern New York, and New York State. The “Hosebusters” have been comprised of many of the firemen volunteers throughout the years. They are proud to be able to pass the name Deerfield across the state by hosting an annual motorized drill during our June Field Days and also the NYS Motorized Championship Drill and Parade in 1988, 1996, 2002, 2006 & coming in 2014. These state championships events not only brought in teams from throughout NYS, but also thousands of spectators and millions of dollars of revenue during their week long stay in both Oneida and Herkimer Counties. The drill team competes throughout the summer moths in foot motorized drills. They compete in both Class B (fire truck) and Class C (hose tender) motorized events.
Another very important entity to the DFD is the Deerfield Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary. This group is not only comprised of wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters of the volunteers, but also many other dedicated women of the community who come to the aid of the firefighters whenever needed. They provide support at major fires and emergency scenes as well as at many fund-raising and community events sponsored by the fire company. The annual Scholarship Award is originated by the auxiliary and has since become a joint venture with the fire company.
The members of the Deerfield Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., Deerfield Fire District #1 Board of Fire Commissioners, and the DFD Ladies Auxiliary are all extremely proud of their history. Providing the best fire protection, rescue, emergency medical response, and the community service is a commitment they all share.