Babylon Fire Department
The first effort to form a fire department in Babylon was in 1874, but the company disbanded. But, an 1876 fire at the American House stables hastened residents’ desire for local fire protection. Henry Livingston, editor of the South Side Signal newspaper, called for a series of public meetings that led to the formation of Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1 on December 1, 1877.
The petition read: “We, the undersigned, believing that the village of Babylon is in need of protection in case of fire, hereby voluntarily organize ourselves into an association, to be known as Babylon Hook and Ladder Company, No. 1, for the purpose of preventing and extinguishing fires and saving property. It is agreed that ten men, thus enrolled, shall constitute the charter members of the company; and on the completion of this enrollment they shall proceed forthwith to elect officers, adopt proper bylaws for their government; appoint suitable committees, and otherwise complete the organization and prepare for active duty.”; signed by Henry Livingston, John J. Lux, Alanson Weeks, Frank N. Jacobs, John W. Baylis, John T. Brown, Augustus A. Cornelius, Washington F. Norton, Edward V. Brown and Joseph. H. Cummins.
In July 1881 the Eagle Hose Company was formed, later named Storm Engine Company No. 1. The two companies merged in 1881 to form the Babylon Fire Department, with Henry Livingston as the first Chief. The new department was represented by 39 members in the Hook & Ladder Co. and 25 in the Storm Engine Co. The fire headquarters was built on the south side of Grove Place, which opened in 1882. In the early years, church bells were used to alert members for fire response.
The department purchased its first piece of motorized equipment in 1915. In 1926, the Babylon Municipal Building opened with the current Babylon Fire Department headquarters in the north portion of the building, facing South Carll Avenue.
Babylon Fire Department, 1951 American LaFrance ladder truck, at the headquarters.
Image courtesy of the Babylon Fire Department.