In December 1962, the Confidential Report issued by the New York Fire Insurance Rating Organization was critical of the firehouses as they existed and served the Village of Depew Fire Department.
The present fire stations were described as of poor design, construction, or inadequate for fire department use. The report recommended that provisions should be made to replace the present inadequate fire stations with two new stations. One station should be located in the central southern portion of the village and large enough to house two engines and the present ladder truck. The other station should be located in the central northern portion of the village and be large enough to house the other two engines with space for future apparatus.
It was further recommended that the two new stations should have ample space and facilities and construction should meet standard good practices for this type of building. Hose drying and storing facilities should be provided in both of the two new stations.
Earlier in March 1962, each fire company in the department was requested to appoint representatives to a committee in respect to future fire station consolidation.
In October 1962, Mayor John Domino and the Village Board of Trustees became aware of certain funding that was being made available to municipalities under a Federal Public Works Program for depressed areas. The mayor was authorized to request consideration and information, to obtain federal aid under the Public Works Bill for the Village of Depew for various projects including the construction of two new fire stations.
On November 19, 1962, Mayor John Domino was authorized by the village board to execute and file an application on behalf of the Village of Depew with the Housing and Home Finance Agency of the Federal Government, for a grant to aid in the financing the construction of two new fire stations for use by the Depew Fire Department.
At the same meeting, Trustees John Potter and Henry A. Wienckowski presented a resolution, which was passed unanimously, to have Kreibel and Kreibel, village engineers, to furnish all necessary information as the Housing and Home Finance Agency would reasonably request in connection with the fire station project.
In August 1963, a telegram was received by Mayor Domino from Congressman John R. Pillion, notifying the Village of Depew of receipt of a grant of $100,000 to aid the financing by the Village of Depew of two new fire stations.
The grant offer, Project # APW NY-92-G was dated August 21, 1963 and accepted by the Village of Depew on August 30th.
The maximum estimated cost of construction for each fire station was $150,000 and a bond resolution for $300,000 was drawn up at the September 3, 1963 meeting of the village board.
The building committee of the Depew Fire Department was to meet with Kreibel & Kreibel, consulting engineers, on the design of the new fire stations and bidding was expected in sixty days
The site for the south side fire station was located on village owned property behind the village hall facing Meridian Street with the north side fire station to be located on Brewster Street off Olmstead Avenue after the board was unable to acquire land on the east side of Transit Road near Olmstead Avenue for the north side station.
The north side site would require that the village would have to abandon Brewster Street between Olmstead Avenue and Scajaquada Creek and also acquire additional lots which were privately owned in order to have enough space for the building and the required parking spaces. The Village Attorney was authorized to negotiate with the several owners to acquire the necessary land, which was completed by mid November. The village had $30,000 set aside for this project.
Trustee Edward Wargala was appointed as the representative of the village board as requested to serve as liaison of the Federal Project in the construction of the two new fire stations.
The bids for construction of the two new fire stations on Brewster and Meridian Streets were received at a special meeting on November 21, 1963. Under the Wicks Law, a New York State Statute, all public works projects had to be bid under various contracts including a general contract, electrical, plumbing and heating and ventilating.
The bids were received as follows: Contract I, General-18 bids received, Contract II, Heating and Ventilating- 8 Bids received, Contract III, Plumbing- 12 Bids received and Contract IV Electrical- 9 Bids received. All of the bids were ordered received and referred to James A. Huffcut, PE, for tabulation and study.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on December 9th at 2 P.M. for the two new fire stations and were held on the Meridian Street site of the south side fire station.
Dignitaries who attended included Mayor John Domino, Assemblyman Julius Volker, Supervisor Stanley J. Keysa, members of the Lancaster Town board, Marco Guerra Superintendent of Depew Schools and members of the Depew Board of Education.
Members of the Depew Village Board included Trustees Edward Wargala, Henry Wienckowski, John Potoczak, Joseph Natatle, Bernard Elmore and Eugene V. Ziemba.
The clergy included the Reverend Roger J, Neeb, St John’s Lutheran Church, the Reverend Henry Stachewicz, St. Augustine’s and the Reverend Carl Drews, SS Peter and Paul church.
Depew Fire Chief Walter Dyll along with Assistant Chiefs John Carlson, Stanley J. Kuras, Robert Fiegl and Thaddeus Oleksy and members of the various companies of the Depew Fire Department were also present.
Contracts for the construction of the fire stations were awarded to Allgaier Construction Company for $127,800. F.G. Cook & Sons of Williamsville was awarded the heating and ventilating contract for $21,533; plumbing, Kipphut & Neumann Company, Inc. $20,900 and electrical, E.S. Keller Electrical Construction Company, Inc. $18,453.
On Saturday afternoon June 6, 1964, uniformed firemen were on hand when the Village of Depew held cornerstone-laying exercises for the new south side fire station located at Meridian and Minden Streets. The building erected with a federal grant will house the Depew Hook & Ladder Company, Aetna Hose Company and the Cayuga Hose Company. Trustee Edward Wargala traced the history of the fire department, stating that the new building was the first municipal construction since the Gould Avenue Fire hall was built in 1912. State Assemblyman Julius Volker was the principle speaker for the occasion. Mayor John Domino and Trustee Wargala presented Fire Chief Walter Dyll a box containing photos and fire department documents which later was sealed for posterity in a niche behind the cornerstone. The trowel, which was used to set the mortar on the cornerstone, was one blessed by the late Bishop Joseph Burke, when he set the cornerstone for the St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church, George Urban Boulevard in 1960.
Edward Polniaszek, former Secretary of the Depew Fire Department and also Department reporter, wrote the following description of events when the cornerstone was set at the new north side fire station.
“Another chapter was written in the annals of the Village of Depew this past Saturday afternoon when cornerstone ceremonies took place for the north side fire station located on the foot of Brewster Street.”
Joseph J. Schultz, attorney for the village, officiated as the Master of Ceremonies. He complimented the broadmindedness and foresight of the village fathers on their effort to make the village the best protected in the area.
The Reverend Carl E. Drews, Catholic Chaplain of the Depew Fire Department, began the ceremonies with a prayer and wished God’s blessing on the new fire station, the fire apparatus and all the volunteers which man this apparatus, in the role of fire protection of the village.
Mayor John Domino thanked all firemen for their faithful service to the residents and repeated a promise of a few years ago, “that with the aid and backing of the citizens, he and the village board will try to make Depew one of the best-protected villages in the county. To date, with the two new fire stations and the newly purchased apparatus, this goal is almost complete.”
Trustee Edward Wargala, appointed chairman of this project, reminded firemen and guests that finally a dream has become a reality. “He expressed his thanks to the engineers, contractors, William Gonglewski, Superintendent of Public Works, Fire Chief Walter Dyll and all who so unbegrudgingly helped him through this project. This was not a one-man project but the full cooperation of every board member,” he said. “The Federal Representative thinks so highly of this project, in contrast with other A.P.W. projects that he believes that it will be given an A-1 rating of all Federal projects, for design and workmanship,” Mr. Wargala remarked.
The speaker of the day was James Huffcut, PE, consulting engineer and architect for Kreibel and Kreibel, village architects, who designed the buildings. He expressed his thanks in having a part in the planning, designing and completion of these buildings. He stated that all know and appreciate but very seldom express verbally, the dedication and timeless effort that men of the volunteer fire companies give so generously to the residents. “The village fathers and taxpayers offer these buildings as a small token of their appreciation for your service. A man could go into great lengths in enumerating the yards of dirt, gravel and sand, number of blocks, barrels of cement, tons of steel and miles of wire that went into these buildings, but this is of no interest to you and we are doubly sure that every bit of this material has been matched and paid for ten-fold in the hours that have been spent in training and service by the volunteers,” he declared.
Mr. Huffcut, concluded with assurance, “that the village hopes these buildings will not only add comfort and enjoyment to the Department, and in some small way it will thank you for the comfort and security that the firemen give to the residents by their vigilance. With these facilities, I am sure the firemen will continue to make this the safest and best community in the area.”
Fire Chief Walter Dyll expressed his sincerest thanks to Mayor Domino and the village board for their conscious effort towards the Fire Department. He also commended the village electrician, Norman Sharick, Richard Brandenberger and Fran O’Lear, for their diligent work at all hours of the day and night to maintain the fire alarm system.
Moving Day, 3 P.M., Saturday, September 12, 1964. A day to be long remembered by active and exempt firemen, old and new residents of this village, because for the first time in over sixty years, the Gould Avenue fire hall as well as the Cayuga fire hall will be minus the familiar clangs of bells, the screeching of tires as firemen hurry to man the apparatus, the sound of running footsteps, the exited calls to each other, as one dons his protective clothing and others read the ticker tape. Some neighbors will miss these sounds; others will probably be relieved knowing that they will not be rudely awakened at all hours of the night, summer or winter, as volunteers hurry to answer a distress call to one of their neighbors.
The village fathers centralized these fire stations. New apparatus needed up-to-date firehouses, buildings of which the firemen as well as the residents should be very proud, as everything is new. The Aetnas, Cayugas and the Hooks, each a loner, will learn to get along together socially as well as they learned to cooperate at any disaster for which they are called. The south side fire station will house the Cayugas on the north east end of the building, the Aetna Hose will occupy the south east end of the building and the Hooks will be the mediators, in the middle. New furniture, new kitchen appliances, a Chief’s room, stock room, boiler room and showers will comprise the outer section and the two pumpers and the aerial ladder truck will be housed here.
The committee for the festivities this day was: Master of Ceremonies, Honorable Judge Thaddeus J. Piusienski. The pledge of allegiance was lead by Edward Baldwin. Joseph LiPuma invited clergy, Color Guard was provided by V.F.W. Post 463 and the Honorable Congressman John J. Pillion donated a flag flow over the United States Capitol as requested by Fire Department Secretary Edward Polniaszek. The bugler was Albert Pfohl and Parade Marshall was Village Clerk Anthony Krieger.
While the ceremonies began at 3 P.M. at the south side fire station, the parade began at 2 P.M. when the equipment was removed from the Cayuga Hose Company fire house at Broadway and River Street and led by Mayor John Domino and Fire Chief Walter Dyll as well as Trustee Edward Wargala, chairman of the event, the parade moved down River Street to Terrace Boulevard to Suffield Street to the Gould Avenue Fire House at Gould and Penora Street. At this point, the Aetnas and Hook and Ladder Companies removed their apparatus from the Gould Avenue fire house as taps were sounded and the Aetnas and Hooks joined the parade which was now lead by the Cayuga Drum Corp. The parade proceeded down Penora Street to Terrace Boulevard to Meridian Street and around the new fire station where the dedication program began.
Supreme Court Justice Harold P. Kelly, a member of the Aetna Hose Company for twenty-five years and principle speaker for the occasion, told those assembled that the dedication of the new fire station coincided with the 70th anniversary of the incorporation of the Village of Depew. “Our founding fathers had vision in locating the original fire halls in four sections of the village. When those buildings in time became inadequate to serve the growing community, thoughts were given by village officials to modernization but two stumbling blocks prevented fruition. First the depression of the 30’s, then the World War of the 40’s. This new building is a compliment to the village officials who have exercised foresight to meet the ultimate growth of Depew. All of us here should be proud of our village leaders”, he said.
About a month later on October 17, 1964, the members of Hose Company Number One and Central Hose Company Number Four moved into their new fire station on Brewster Street The Number Ones marched from their old fire house on Walden Avenue and the Number Fours marched from their old fire house on Harlen Street
Hundreds of residents and firemen got a close-up look at the village’s fire fighting equipment when the new north side fire station was dedicated. The building was filled to capacity for the ceremony as Mayor John Domino turned over keys to Chief Jack Carlson from Hose Co. No. 1 and Chief Stanley J. Kuras from Central Hose Co. No.4. Village Attorney Joseph J. Schultz, a member of Central Hose Company served as master of ceremonies and the principle speaker was the Honorable Edward V. Mazur Justice of the Peace Town of Lancaster and a Village of Depew resident.
After the new fire stations were in use for several years, they were found to be lacking in storage space for the equipment owned by the fire companies. Fire Chief Stanley J. Kuras requested the village engineer to prepare a preliminary layout and an estimated cost for an addition to both the north side and south side fire stations. On September 18, 1967, the village engineer presented a preliminary layout with the estimated cost of construction and engineering plans and specifications at $18,000. The matter was referred to the fire and water committee for study.
On October 23rd, Fire Chief Stanley J. Kuras reported to the village board, that the matter of building additions on the two fire stations would be presented to the board of wardens at their next regular meeting. There was no further action taken on the matter of building additions until mid 1968.
By this time, two new fire companies had been added to the Depew Fire Department and were temporarily being housed in the north side fire station. On May 6, 1968, Trustee Henry Wienckowski, chairman of the fire and water committee, requested to have a meeting with the entire village board, the consulting engineer and fire chief relative to a new fire station to be built on George Urban Boulevard.
At the end of June, the village engineer submitted the preliminary set of plans for the proposed new fire station, plus the additions to the north side and south side fire stations. After some discussion between the village board, engineer and fire chief, the plans were referred back to the village engineer to revise the plans with input from the village board members and the fire chief and present the revised plans to the board for approval.
In the mean time, Mayor Joseph Natale was authorized to sign and submit an application seeking funding for the construction of a fire station for use by the West End Hose Company Number Six and Ladder & Rescue Company Number Seven of the Depew Fire Department. The engineer and a member of the Village of Depew Planning Board were also authorized to attend any meetings on behalf of the village board that might be required in conjunction with the application to the Office of Housing and Urban Development.
Initially, the board of wardens of the fire department, were opposed to the addition to the fire station which was proposed to be built for the two new fire companies on George Urban Boulevard after the village engineer had submitted a preliminary sketch showing additional space for the proposed west side fire station. The village board referred the plans back to the engineer for further study.
At the July 9th meeting of the board of trustees, a discussion between the trustees and fire chief relative to the additions to the north and south side fire stations and also the addition to the new west end station was held.
A motion was made and carried that the preliminary plans with the alternate # 1 addition for the west end station be adopted and the village engineer was to draw up final plans and to advertise for bids. However, after the motion was carried, a second motion was offered and carried which rescinded the previous resolution and a meeting was ordered between the fire chief, representatives from the various fire companies, the board of wardens, the village engineer and the village board to further discuss the additions to the north and south side fire stations as well as the addition to the west end fire station.
Under the Police Chief’s report later in the meeting, Police Chief Louis Wenzka went on record stating that, he was opposed to the building of any additions to the fire stations. He went on to state the desperate need for new lock-up facilities and space for the Village of Depew Police Department. He pleaded that the new fire companies do not need new facilities as sorely as the needs of the police department. The village board recommended that Chief Wenzka study his needs further and develop a plan but no immediate promises were being made to provide new or upgraded facilities but the matter would be taken up at a latter date.
On July 30, 1968, a special meeting of the village board was called to further discuss the proposed new fire station and the additions to the existing two fire stations. At this meeting, a motion was made and seconded that the village board accepts the recommendations contained in the letter from the board of wardens of the Depew Fire Department in regards to the new fire station, to be located on George Urban Boulevard, and also the additions to the north and south side fire stations and directed the village engineer to draw up final plans and specifications for the project.
A bond resolution was prepared and presented at the board meeting on August 12, 1968, authorizing the construction, in the Village of Depew, (A) an addition to the south side fire station at an estimated maximum cost of $13,200 and (B) an addition to the north side fire station at an estimated maximum cost of $33,600. The higher estimated cost of construction for the north side station was due to the added cost for the construction of the department training room, which the board of wardens had been holding out for in their early opposition to the total project
On October 16th,Trustee Leroy Arber reported that a storm sewer had to be installed behind the proposed west end fire station and Fire Chief Kuras expressed the fire department’s desire to move the project along. Village engineer William Rugg informed the board that the specifications were almost ready and would be completed in time for the bidding process. Following Mr. Rugg’s report, the village clerk was authorized to advertise for bids for the entire project, to be received on December 12, 1968.
The December 12th meeting was a special meeting for the purpose of receiving and opening bids for the construction of a new fire station and additions to the existing north and south side stations and also the construction of a storm sewer behind the new fire station on George Urban Boulevard.
The village clerk was directed to open and read all of the bids received. There were ten bids received for the general construction. Six bids were received for the electrical construction. Five bids were received for the plumbing construction and seven bids were received for the heating and ventilating. The contract for the addition to the north side fire station drew nine bids and nine bids were also received for the addition to the south side fire station. A separate bid was received for construction of a storm sewer behind the new west end fire station. All of the bids were referred to the village engineer, attorney, superintendent of public works and the entire board for tabulation and review.
The bids were awarded on December 16, 1968 as follows: Electrical Contract was awarded to Zoerb and Company, Inc. in the amount of $8,659.00. The Plumbing Contract was awarded to Ackerman and Huebsch, Inc. in the amount of $6,260.00. The heating and Ventilating Contract in the amount of $6,140.00 was awarded to G.A. Dyce, Inc. and the General Construction Contract was awarded to Anthony Musso Construction Company, Inc. in the amount of $66,724.
Anthony Musso Construction Company, Inc was also awarded the contract for the north side addition in the amount of $26,947 and also for the south side addition for $11,523.00. The Storm Sewer Construction was awarded to Biline Construction Corporation in the amount of $5,592,75. The total cost of construction for the entire project was $131,845.75. The cost was considerably less than the engineer’s estimate of construction which was $158,834 including contingencies.
On a cold, drizzly Saturday January 18, 1969, Mayor Joseph Natale, using a silver shovel turned the first spade of dirt for the new west end fire station. The new station was located just west of the J.W. Clement Printing Plant on George Urban Boulevard. Members of the newly organized West End Hose Company Number 6 and Ladder and Rescue Company Number 7 along with village and fire department officials took part in the ceremony. A June 1st date was set for the completion of the new concrete block and brick veneer building, which was designed to hold up to four pieces of fire apparatus
On Monday morning August 25, 1980, an alarm of fire was sounded from Box 314, Southside Fire Station. Upon arrival, the first firefighters responding found smoke issuing from the fire station itself.
Opening the doors, the first men on scene found a storeroom on fire. Their first thoughts were to immediately remove the two engines and ladder truck from the building. All Depew Fire Department units were responding under the command of Fire Chief Arthur Domino.
A booster line was immediately laid in from Ladder Five and a back up 1 ½ line was used from Engine Three and the fire was extinguished and confined to the wooden storage cabinets in the room of origin. Engine Two provided a feed line to Engine Three from the hydrant in front of the building. Emergency Truck Seven was also at the scene while the balance of the companies were returned to quarters to standby.
The Erie County Arson Task force was called in to assist the fire chief and Depew Police Department to investigate the cause and origin of the blaze.
A witness told Depew Police that she saw a man run from the area of the south side fire station at the time that the alarm was sounded at 01:37 Hours.
Depew Detective Sgt. Ted Moore said that one of the first firemen called to the scene discovered a hole in a window of the storage room.
A report by the Arson Task Force investigator indicated that the fire was intentionally set in a corner of the storage area.
The prime suspect in the arson case was thought to be a member of the fire department but detectives were not able to gather enough evidence to lay a charge on the individual.
Damage was confined to the storage area with the loss of a small quantity of hose, raingear boots and other small tools and equipment. There was a considerable amount of smoke damage throughout the building.