History

Compiled by Eugene Theroux 1972, edited 2007

The early years:

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In 1910 the people of Latham NY often discussed the need for a fire company. The community was growing, houses were being grouped together in neighborhoods, a new school was being built, and the population was steadily increasing

The outcome of discussions held in Union Chapel (later called Calvary Hall) was the organization of the Latham Fire Company. The company was named the S.W. Pitts Hose Company of Latham, New York in honor of Sebastian W. Pitts, one of the leading citizens of the day who was very generous in his donations to give the company its start. There were 45 charter members of the fire company.

The early meetings of the fire department were held in Union Chapel. In 1911 the company bought the original Latham School for the sum of $7.00 and moved the small framed structure to Purtell Avenue. Many company functions were held on this site including the Annual Clam Steam in a grove at the rear of the firehouse. Many of the initial fundraisers for the fire company were held here.

The original apparatus of the fire department consisted of horse drawn and hand drawn pumpers. Most of the apparatus was very easy to operate. The first alarm device was a steel tire from a locomotive suspended on a chain from a heavy wood frame in front of the fire house. Once struck with a heavy sledge hammer, the alarm could be heard for miles around the community.

In the fall of 1922 the school board of Latham was in the process of opening a new two story/six classroom school. The school was approximately 300 feet behind our current site on Old Loudon Road. The company purchased our current Old Loudon Road site for $1000.00, realizing the departments need to grow with the needs of the community. The company utilized the brick building on this property until 1985.

Fund raising continued in these “new” expanded quarters. Saturday night hose company dances were one of the communities most popular social events of the day.

In 1924 the S. W. Pitts Hose Company became incorporated as a result of the Town of Colonie establishing the Latham Fire Protection District. That year the first motor driven piece of fire apparatus was acquired by the company. The “Larabee” fire truck was put into service and utilized until 1940.

This brief history is the foundation of the Latham Fire Department of today. In keeping with the needs of our growing community the Latham Fire Department operates from two locations. Our main station is located at 226 Old Loudon Road and our sub-station is located at 469 Watervliet-Shaker Rd. The company operates one rescue company, one truck company, three engine companies, and one first response EMS unit.

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