In 1945 Supervisor Clarence Joslin and Frank Luba, owner of Big Maple Tavern on Route 30, talked over an idea about starting a fire department. They called an organizational meeting and seven men, Frank Luba, Harold Neahr, Gordon Volean, Nathan Vedder, Edward Mack, Andrew Stark and Bud Feilds showed up and started The Perth Volunteer Fire Department and each donated five dollars.
The Following were charter members of the department; Frank Luba, Clarence Joslin, Harold Neahr, Andrew Stark, Bud Feilds, Edward Mack, Gordon Volean, Nathan Vedder, Walter Clark, Raymond Hinkle, Edward Siegle, Fred Clark, John Harrington, Joe Renyak, David Hughes, Harry Volean, James English, Casper Smitka, Mickey Zwolak, Harold Miller, Butch Robertshaw.
Clarence Joslin located a surplus army truck at the Army Depot and a woman in Broadalbin took the mortgage on the truck. The Town of Perth donated the old barn which was about the size of a two car garage and was located on the other side of the creek from where the original firehouse was located on RT#107.
The old barn was fixed up and a small meeting room was made. A small siren was bought from Sammonsville, and also the No.9 School bell was used to give the alarms for fire. When Amsterdam had an air raid siren for sale, it was purchased, and a farmer who had a windmill donated it to mount the siren on.
When the one-room schools closed and students began attending the new central school, the Old School House No. 9 was put up for auction. The Perth Volunteer Fire Department bid $1,800.00 for it and all the school taxpayers in that district received a check which almost donated right back to the fire department and that was the beginning of the "new" firehouse. Gradually the firehouse had been enlarged with three stalls for the trucks, a well equipped kitchen, rest rooms, a large dance hall and storage space underneath the firehouse and room for two more trucks.
At the start, the trucks were old used vehicles; the first was a 1942 GMC and also a 1937 Diamond T. In 1950's a 1951 Ford pickup truck was purchased. In 1960, two new trucks were purchased, a pumper and a tanker. In the next few years, a post office truck was acquired and converted into an emergency van and a jeep was purchased for grass fires. In 1974 a new American La-France Pumper was bought. This truck was diesel powered and the first of its kind on the east coast.
Over the years from its beginning the following have served as Fire Chiefs of The Perth Volunteer Fire Department; Frank Luba, Andrew Start, George Daye, William Donneburgh, Herbet Mildern, Raymond Hinkle, Archie Albers, James Miller, James Canfield, George Rossi, Michael Quinn, John M. Lesniewski and most current, Peter K.Watrobski.
On November 17, 1949 at the Perth Central School the first organizational meeting of the Perth Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary was held. The meeting was opened with remarks by Mrs. Ritchie of Glen, New York and Mrs. Lewis Banta of Hagaman acted as Secretary Pro Tem. Mrs. Uhlinger of Hagaman conducted the election of officers and those elected were: Mrs. George Daye, President; Mrs. John Wellinger, Vice President; Mrs. Edward Mack, Treasure; Mrs, John Wellinger, Mrs. William Donneburgh and Mrs. James Donohue were appointed as By-Laws Committee. There were ten charter members at that meeting. By the end of 1950 there were thirty members.
The meetings were first held at the school but eventually members began taking turns holding the meetings at their homes. In 1956 they returned the meetings to the school.
In February 1954, Mr. John Harrington, Secretary of the Perth Volunteer Fire Department sent a letter to the auxiliary requesting a committee to discuss plans for a new firehouse. in November of 1956 Mr. Walter Fields met with the auxiliary to make plans for the kitchen in the firehouse, for which the Civil Defense would provide some of the needed articles. The first regular meeting of the auxiliary was held at the firehouse on September 12, 1957.
The ladies auxiliary has held many fund raising projects to help the firemen acquire needed equipment. Some of those were food sales, card parties, selling greeting cards, a cook book. In October of 1970, as a community project, the auxiliary sponsored a Memory Tree to be a feature of the holiday season. They invited all residents of Perth to donate toward a light on the tree in memory of a family member or a friend. An evergreen tree was purchased and planted in front of the firehouse but the response was so great that another tree had to be purchased in order to hold all the lights. On Thanksgiving Day 1970, a prayer service was held at the firehouse and the memory tree lit, to shine each night throughout the holiday season. This tradition is still carried on and provides a very cheerful setting in Perth Center.
As the years continued many changes and mandates were place upon the fire companies. Equipment was replaced and vehicles were purchased, such as-- in 1987 the fire company purchased a new GMC 1,500 gallon tanker. In the early 1990's the fire company purchased a 1984 Ford 1,500 gallon Tanker from the Hagaman VFD. In 1996 they also purchased a brand new 1996 Chevy 4x4 rescue truck we was utilized for EMS and MVA alarms
In 1997, the fire company purchased new, an International engine equipped with 1500 gallons of water and a 1500 gallon per minute pump. This engine was the first of its kind in this area because it featured an enclosed pump compartment for the operator and was equipped with a compressed air foam system (CAFS). This system proved to be very efficient in rural fire companies due to the lack of fire hydrants.
For an estimated 10 years in the planning under the direction of Chief Lesniewski and the building committee, the current location of the fire station was open in the spring of 1998. The nearly 10,000 Square foot facility was built with the hope will it may serve the fire company for years to come.
In 1999, six dry-hydrants were installed throughout the town of Perth. Also at this time Fulton County switched their low-band communications to a hi-band system with the help of a County grant to purchase new hi-band minitors, mobile radios and base radios for each fire company to correspond with and improve the communications.
In 2001 a grant from Senator Farley's office was received for $15,000 to purchase new sets of turnout gear and some compliance upgrades for the contained breathing apparatus. Also in 2001 a $1000 matching grant from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation was received to purchase forestry and grass fire equipment.
In 2002 the fire company purchased a used GM suburban to the fleet. This vehicle was used to respond to EMS alarms, Fire Police Training and as a transportation vehicles to and from the fire scene. An old school bus was purchased from the Greater Amsterdam School District in 2003 and converted to be used as a light rescue apparatus that would be reconstructed to carry a mobile cascade air system. This apparatus also is utilized as a firefighter rehabilitation area for major alarms and can be used for various transportation and as a resource vehicle (command).
In 2003, The Perth Volunteer Fire Company was awarded a $116,000.00 FEMA Grant which resulted in the purchase of a Breathing air compressor (Cascade), Thermal Imaging Camera, Jaws of Life and SCBA's upgrades.
In 2004, the fire company received a NYS Grant from Senator Farley's office for $12,000 to purchase turnout gear and compliance upgrades for the SCBA's. Also in 2004 a NYS EN-CON Grant in the amount of $1,000 for additional gear was awarded. The fire company was also able to purchase an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED) in 2004.
In 2005, it was time to replace one of the fire companies oldest pieces of equipment, a 1974 American LaFrance engine. The new fire engine is a demo 2003 Rosenbauer chassis with a 2005 Central States body equipped with compressed air foam and carries our Jaws of Life, on scene lighting, cribbing for stabilization, and various hand tools.
In 2006 and 2008, the fire company was able to obtain two more grants from Senator Hugh Farley's office, both in the amount of $15,000. The grant money received in 2006 was used to purchase 15 minitors for the members, 4 portable hand held radios and 4 sets of turn out gear. With the grant money in 2008, 15 more minitors, 5 sets of turn out gear and 15 EMS first responder bags were purchased.
In 2007, the fire company was extremely fortunate to receive a FEMA grant in the amount of $69,500. This money was used to purchase a new 2008 Ford F-350 4 door brush truck. This piece of apparatus replaced a 1988 Chevrolet pick up that was originally purchased used and built by the fire company for brush fires. Also in 2007, the fire company received a $1000 matching grant from EN-CON. With this the fire company was able to purchase 2 portable pumps, 2 portable generators and 4 poly indian tanks for fighting brush fires.
In 2008 the fire company received a grant from Sen Farley's office for $7,000.00 to purchase 5 sets of turn out gear and pagers.
In 2009, the members of the fire company decided it would be more detrimental to respond to all EMS calls in the Town of Perth. In doing this, the fire company added a 2006 Chevy Tahoe to its fleet. (12-3-1) The suburban used for EMS respponse in the past was now being used for fire police and training and would be labeled 12-3-3.
In 2010, the fire company was awarded two grants, a 2009 Farley Grant for $7000.00 and a 2010 ENCON matching grant for $1000.00. The Farley Grant was used to purchase 7 new sets of much needed turnout gear.
In 2017 the fire company purchased a 2017 Ford F-250 four door pickup with money saved over the years. This truck is used for fire police duties and transport firefighter to training locally and at the academy. It is equipped with many traffic cones, barriers and signs to use for emergencies. This truck is also equipped with an EMS firest in bag and is utilized as a back-up for EMS alarms.
In 2018 the fire company was fortunate to purchase a used 2001 American LaFrance 75' ladder truck from a fire company in Saratoga County. This piece of apparatus is equipped with a 6-man cab, 500 gallons of water and a 1500 GPM pump.
In 2019 the fire company was awarded a Assistance to Firefighters FEMA Grant in the amount of $144,000 to replace the SCBA units that were purchased in 2003. The fire company was able to purchase 26 Scott 4500 psi SCBA units with bottles, 26 spare bottles, 33 SCBA face mask,one for each interior member and 6 spares for future members. The fire companies had contribute 5% of the cost.
Fore the past two years the fire company has been busy researching and building a new engine to replace the 1997 International engine. There is a very good chance the new engine will be delivered in December of 2020 and hopefully in service by spring of 2021.
In Closing, without the generous support from our community, through the Memory Tree Fund drive program, numerous contributions, the Ladies Auxiliary, grants received and our dedicated members; we would not be able to obtain the equipment that is needed to serve our community today and in the future.
The Members of the Perth Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
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