About our department
The Skaneateles Fire Department is a volunteer organization that protects the Town and Village of Skaneateles NY.
The department was formed in 1833 and now has about 100 members.
The first fire department in Skaneateles was made up of homeowners. They were required to keep 16 inch deep and 8 inch wide leather fire buckets in their homes. Community fire protection began in 1822 with the formation of “Torrent Enjine Company #1, which operated a James Smith hand pumper. This pumper was pulled to the fires by the firefighters. (It has been restored and is on display at the Skaneateles Fire Station #1 on Kane Avenue).
The Skaneateles Fire Department was formally authorized by the Village Board of Trustees on April 19, 1833. A second pumper was purchased from Cowin & Company of Seneca Falls, and designated “Torrent Enjine Company #2. Each enjine company has 24 men.
The first fire house was a small wooden structure perched on stilts next to outlet of Skaneateles Lake. Inside there were ladders hung on the walls, ‘fire hooks’ and leather fire hats.
In 1888 Torrent Hook and Ladder Company was organized. Torrent Hose Company #3 was formed in 1893.
The second and most ornate fire station was completed in 1892. This red brick and limestone building at the corner of Jordan and Fennell Streets. It had a tower with a large bell that was rung for alarms, predating the Village wide fire alarm pull boxes. This building served the community until 1964, when the main station was built further down Fennell Street. The old station was torn down for an office building. The department built substations in 1960 on each side of the lake. One is located on Coon Hill Road and the other is on Route 359 in Mandana.
During the mid-1980’s the members of the fire department began researching the location for a new main station and through the course of the next two decades, various locations and proposals were put forth without any success. Finally after 20 years, the fire district tax payers approved the construction of a new main station at the corner of West Genesee Street and Kane Avenue (Route 41A). During March 2007, the fire department began moving into the new station and on March 18, 2007 an open house was held celebrating the completion of the new station.
Throughout the course of the Skaneateles Fire Department’s long history, the department use to sponsor a week long fund raising bazaar in December to buy uniforms. Inspection Days were held in September. The department had an open house and a grand parade. This was the forerunner of the present Labor Day celebration field days.
In 1899, Skaneateles was host to the first Onondaga County Volunteer Firemen’s Association convention. The meeting was held in Legg Hall where the By-Laws were formulated. At that time there were 23 departments in the County. The first President of the Association was R. B. Clemmets of Solvay. Part of the two day event was a boat excursion on the steam boat “Glen Haven” followed by a banquet back at Legg Hall. The second day, September 21, was the day of the grand parade, hose race and bike races on the unpaved Village streets. There was a pie eating contest, greased pole climb for $5 gold piece at the top of the pole, a running race for persons under 35, and a hook and ladder race. A formal dance ended the day.
The Skaneateles Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. presently has a roster of approximately 100 firefighters. The apparatus roster consists of an aerial ladder, a heavy rescue, 2 engines, 2 compressed air foam engines, a mini-pumper, 2 squads, a rescue boat, a personal watercraft and a spill response trailer.
View our current apparatus and a history of what the department has used over the years.
Leadership and Chiefs
Interested in becoming a member of our team?
Do you feel the call to service to help protect the community in which you live? Apply to become a member of our house by filling out our online application today.