The village of Mayville re-incorporated in 1867 and a charter was recorded at the County Clerk's office March 7, 1868. Included in the charter were provisions to provide for the care, custody and preservation of the public property, records and papers of the village, and to ensure the same, to purchase fire engines, and other usual and necessary apparatus, including implements for extinguishing fires.
Trustees were to organize and keep under good and efficient organization one or more hook-and-ladder and hose companies. They were to purchase engines, hook and ladder, and other implements for extinguishing fires. Owners or occupants of buildings were to be required to provide two or more fire buckets or pails and the place and manner of keeping them was to be regulated. Fire wardens were, from time to time, in daytime, to inspect fireplaces, stoves, chimneys, stovepipes and fixtures, for unsafe conditions. The cost to the village was to be covered by taxes. They were also to appoint and dismiss firemen, and to make rules and regulations for the conduct and government of all fire, hook and ladder, and hose companies, along with their members. Fire companies were not to exceed 50 men with the exception of the hook and ladder companies which were limited to 20 men.
The Mayville Fire Department began on March 6, 1886. The Mayville Hook and Ladder, and Fire Extinguisher Company No. 1 were incorporated on the same day.
The first recorded fire was the Chautauqua House on April 26, 1894. This was a 66-room hotel that was located on the corner of South Erie and Water streets. Fifteen men responded to the fire at 1:30 a.m. Water was applied to the fire starting at 1:50 a.m. The hose was taken up at 5 a.m. and the men returned to the firehouse at 5:25 a.m. and were dismissed at 5:35 a.m.
The next big fire took place on April 18, 1901. The wooden buildings on the east side of the uptown business district caught fire. It started in Gilson's store and spread rapidly, being fanned by high winds. Other stores destroyed were: Morganstern's meat market, a barber shop, Hutson's Hardware, Gifford's saloon, and Tinkcom's billiard parlor. Also destroyed were the Mayville Sentinel office, Opera House and the town clerk's office. The fire was stopped by the south wall of the Charles Tiackom Pool Room, which remained standing, and an alley, now Blanchard Street, which prevented the loss of the Mayville House. In what is now the Village Green Park, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Dr. Belknap's home and office also burned down.
The fire was so intense that the old jail behind the park also caught fire and the inmates had to be removed. The older wooden part of the jail was completely destroyed while the newer brick addition was completely gutted. Many buildings which stood behind the business section containing merchandise and other materials were also destroyed by the fire. This included Hutson's tin shop. The fire was thought to be incendiary at the time, what would now be called arson.
464 calls in 2011
13 EMTs include four paramedics, two critical care and seven EMTs
A-251: 2010 Road Rescue Ambulance
L-251: 1998 109-foot HME Quint Ladder Truck
E-251: 1996 HME 1000 gpm engine
R-251: 2008 Freightliner heavy rescue
M-251: 2002 ALS Equipped Suburban
Polaris ATV and trailer
Traffic safety trailer
1924 Seldon antique pumper
On May 24, 1923, fire broke out in the old wooden, two-story, Pennsylvania Railroad depot on Water Street. The fire was discovered at 8:25 in the morning by workmen on the outside of the building. At the same time, three railroad firemen were sleeping in a bunkroom on the second floor. They were woken up by crackling of flames in the loft and managed to escape. The Lake Front Hose Company arrived on the scene and, within five minutes, had a stream of water on the fire. The uptown Fischer Fire Company soon arrived on the scene but part of their equipment had to be brought down by Sixbey's grocery truck resulting in serious delay.
It soon became apparent that it was futile trying to save the burning railroad station and it was decided to save the three hotels across the street. Water was then directed on the hotels with the Lakeview being the most affected. It blazed up three times due to the extremely hot fire across the street. The firemen were also subjected to the scorching heat and were forced to use improvised shields and frequent drenching with water to protect themselves.
Also in 1924 the Mayville Fire Department held a meeting during which it was decided that they would ask the village for $9,000 worth of new equipment. This would be two motorized pumpers. The committee, composed of Harvey Hoag of the Hook and Ladder, William Bessey of Fischer Hose, and John Rothra of the Lake Front Hose Company, was instructed to draft a resolution to be submitted to the village board. They were also to investigate claims made by various fire equipment manufacturers and to arrange for demonstrations of the equipment.
Committee members went to Buffalo and toured the plant of the Buffalo Fire Appliance Company. They decided that they were in favor of two 300-gallon pumpers and a resolution was then given to the village board at a special meeting. The committee also presented proof from the state that the new equipment would reduce local merchant's insurance rates by 6 percent. It was passed exactly as submitted and a special election was to be held May 3 for the purpose of seeking voter approval for the purchases.
Two other propositions were also on the ballot. The first proposition was to pay village trustees for attending regular and special meetings. The rate was to be $4 and $2, respectively. It passed by 38 votes. Second proposition was to extend the water main on Bloomer Street. It carried by 61 votes. The third was spending the $9,000 to buy two fire trucks. It also passed by 38 votes. Two hundred and sixty-seven taxpayers voted in the election. A fire truck of the type to be purchased was on hand, providing demonstrations.
It was decided that a big festival would be held in Mayville to celebrate the delivery of these new fire engines. The date was set for Sept. 20, 1924. The business district on Erie Street had new pavement and a Naval cannon was to be installed on the courthouse lawn and unveiled the same day. (This cannon was removed and melted down during one of the metal drives during World War II.) The village board arranged to have the town decorated for the celebrations.
Every volunteer fire company in Chautauqua County was invited to attend and bring their friends. A noonday meal was provided for the visiting firemen and a "monster parade" of all companies would take place. Mayville Firemen would have new white duck uniforms provided for the event. Many contests and events were held including a tug of war, a hose battle between Falconer and Celoron, and a baseball game during which the local Mayville-Hartfield Champions challenged the Cherry Creek team. Concession stands were set up along Erie Street and it was also set up as a midway. In the evening, there was dancing held on the new Erie Street pavement under the new decorative lights. The new pumpers were also demonstrated. The new fire trucks would prove their worth early Saturday morning when a 4:25 a.m. fire broke out at the home of the Rev. Eli Way on South Erie Street. The blaze appeared to have started in electric wiring in a downstairs partition but had worked its way up to the roof by the time it was discovered. The fire was soon under control although damages amounted to several thousand dollars. The new trucks had been well polished for the parade the night beforehand.
In June 1931, the public was asked to refrain from calling the telephone company (located on the East side of South Erie Street) right away when the fire alarm sounded, and asking where the fire was located. At the time, when the alarm sounded, firemen called in to find out where the fire was. If the telephone operators were busy, it would delay the firemen.
Operator assisted telephone service ended on Jan. 20, 1948, at 10 p.m. after over two years of work setting up the new direct dial system. The fire sirens at the two village fire halls had previously been activated from the telephone office after a fire was called in. It then became necessary for a new fire alarm activation system to be put in operation since there were no more switchboard operators at the Mayville location.
The new system meant that three special phones were set up. The main phone was set up in an undisclosed location. The phone could not be used to make outgoing calls and it was hooked directly to the two fire halls. Calling in a fire alarm meant dialing a dedicated number which was 3551. If the main phone was unavailable for some reason, either 3753 or 3161 could be dialed.
Fire Chief M.H. Kock issued a set of instructions for firemen. "1. When a siren is sounded it will be impossible for you to find out where the fire is by stepping to your phone. You must go to your fire hall to determine the location. 2. The sirens will be sounded exactly as they have been in the past. That is: (a). Sounding of both sirens will indicate a fire within the village, (b). Sounding of the uptown alarm alone will indicate a fire west, north or east of the village, (c). Sounding of only the lake front alarm will indicate a fire south of the village or on Morris Road. 3. Firemen are required to report immediately to the fire hall. 4. First fireman reaching the hall must pick up the phone receiver, and identify yourself by saying, "Company No. 1" or "Company No. 2 calling", (whichever the case may be), determine the location of the blaze and record it on the blackboard at the phone so later firemen can determine where the fire is. The fireman taking the call and making the entry must sign his name."
The Lake Front Fire Hall caught fire on Wednesday, April 12, 1950. Clarence Biekert had discovered flames coming from the rear of the building as he passed by. He quickly called in the fire from the J.W. Zenns store located diagonally across the street from the fire station the corner of Valley and Morris Streets. A general alarm was sounded at 8:40 p.m. and both fire companies responded in freezing temperatures.
Firemen broke front second floor windows shortly after arriving to remove records, papers, and office supplies from their upstairs meeting rooms. Other equipment, including benches used for game parties were also removed. The old fire truck was also taken out and put to use fighting the fire. It was believed that the fire had started from spontaneous combustion in goods stored in a rear corner of the building. The flames had burned on between outside wall partitions and reached the space immediately under the roof where they broke out again. The front ground floor of the building was untouched by fire but the back of the building and the attic space above the meeting rooms, including the roof timbers, were badly damaged.
The two-story frame structure was reported to be 101 years old. It had originally been used as a store and home bakery but had been taken over by the village 50 to 60 years prior to the date of the fire. The building was already in such poor condition that some onlookers thought that, " they should have let it burn down."
The two-story wood frame building that housed the old wood frame village hall and uptown fire department was torn down in 1949. Work started on a new two-story brick structure in October of the same year. The new Community Building was completed and a, "Public Inspection and Opening," was held on Saturday, Jan. 27, 1951, from 2-10 p.m. Over 500 people attended the open house.
On the first floor would be the town and village offices, a fire hall that could hold three trucks, and a meeting room for firemen. The second floor was still unfinished at the opening but would later have an auditorium, rest rooms, a kitchen, and a stage. There was also an office for Police Chief Harold A. Land.
In 1998 a new ladder truck was finally purchased. It replaced a 1965 ladder truck and a pumper. The new truck has the ability to pump 1,000 gallons per minute from the nozzle at the end of the ladder. The truck came with a Cummins M11, 450-horsepower diesel engine donated by Cummins Engine.
An open house was held on Saturday, May 2, 1998, at the Mayville Fire Department to show off the new ladder truck which cost $400,860. About 100 people, including area residents and chiefs from various other fire departments attended the event. Former Chief Scott Cummings said he felt good about making the truck a reality and that it had already been used although the department had only had it for nine days. Then Chief Rusty Hardenburg said, "It took a lot of hard work and dedication to make this truck a reality."
The ladder truck has been used numerous times since it was purchased but the biggest fire came on Feb. 24, 2010, when three buildings caught fire in Dunkirk. The old Masonic building and Graf building on Central Avenue were mostly occupied by county offices, with some private businesses included.
Today the Mayville Fire Department is a department within the village of Mayville. The department submits a budget at the end of the year like the other departments. The village of Mayville and town of Chautauqua also contribute to a Capital Equipment account.
We have a yearly fund drive which is accomplished by a mailing in the fall. In the letter we state what the fund drive money will be used for.
The fire department also receives memorials to the rescue squad. This money is used to purchase equipment needed by the squad or the heavy rescue.
We have received in recent years, money from grants from the Department of Homeland Security.
The fire department is always looking for new members. Contact any fireman or the Village Clerk's Office for an application.
Fire Department Officers
Fire Chief: Ron Trippy
1st Asst. Chief: Rusty Gardenburg
2nd Asst Chief: Glen Giles
3rd Asst. Chief: Noel Guttman
EMS Captain: Joyce Mathews
President: Tom Carlson
Vice President: Tom Summerville
Secretary: Melissa Hoitink
Treasurer: Mike McCoy
Financial Treasurer:Joyce Mathews