North Syracuse Fire Department History
- In the winter of 1912-13, the New York State Legislature passed a law, giving unincorporated communities the right to establish districts for fire protection. Soon after the bill became a law, a group of citizens living in the village presented a petition to the Board of Supervisors of Onondaga County, asking that a fire district be established in North Syracuse.
First Fire Apparatus:
- The Board of Commissioners purchased two hand drawn chemical fire engines in the fall of 1913.
First Fire Chief:
- Hubert Fay was made Chief and Smith Soule, Assistant Chief.
First Fire Apparatus Storage location:
- The fire apparatus was first kept in a building located across the street from the present Andrews Memorial Church on Church Street. The first fire signal was a large steel tire from a locomotive wheel and a large sledge hammer to hit it with.
First Fire Call:
- The first alarm that the newly organized fire department received, was in the summer of 1914, and was at the home of one of the few people who voted against having a fire department. The roof burned off his home.
First Motorized Fire Apparatus:
- In 1921, a barn was purchased from Miss Anna Reed and moved to a lot on Fergerson Avenue. The first motorized fire equipment, which was a Model T Ford Truck, was stored in this new Fire House.
North Syracuse Volunteer Fireman's Association:
- In 1947, the North Syracuse Volunteer Fireman's Association was incorporated under the laws of the state.
Trolley Barn Station - First Fire Station
- In 1950, a great event took place in the history of the fire department. After many years of hard campaigning for new quarters to house the valuable fire apparatus and give the men a decent meeting place, the department moved to its bright new quarters in the old trolley station at the corner of South Bay Road and Church Street, where the North Syracuse Community Center now sits.
First Constructed Fire Station:
- In 1983, a new building was built at 109 Chestnut Street. This was the first building in fire department history built solely for fire department use. The previous stations had been used for other purposes prior to the fire department taking them over.
NSFD LODD - Christopher Bilger - September 20, 1987.
On September 20th, 1987, the North Syracuse Fire Department suffered a tragedy that every fire department hopes never happens. Firefighter Christopher Bilger was killed in the line of duty while responding to the fire station for a reported structure fire. Road conditions were poor and Firefighter Bilger lost control of his vehicle and crashed. He succumbed to his injuries despite the best efforts of a mutual aid department that responded to the crash. NSFD units responded to the reported structure fire and it was determined that the call was a malicious false alarm.
At the time, it was not a crime in New York State to call in false alarms so the female who called in the alarm could not be prosecuted for the death of Firefighter Bilger. Christopher's family lobbied New York State for "Bilger's Law", which now makes it illegal to call in malicious false alarms.
The North Syracuse Fire Department has never forgotten the sacrifice Firefighter Bilger made for his community. Every year the fire department gathers for a ceremony remembering him in September. The North Syracuse Volunteer Firemen's Association maintains a Scholarship in his name for up to two graduating seniors from high school who are directly related to NSFD firemen. Also, the "Christopher Bilger Firefighter of the Year" award was founded which honors NSFD firemen who demonstrate exceptional service throughout the year. The Award is determined by a committee that includes a member of Christopher's family, The Chief of Fire, and an Association Executive Officer. Most recently, a section of Thompson Road where NSFD Station 2 currently sits was renamed General Irwin Boulevard and with that came the opportunity to give Station 2 a new street address. It was given 70 General Irwin Blvd. after Firefighter Bilger's badge number.
Second Fire Station constructed:
- In 1995, on the old air base, a second fire station (station 2) was built to cover the east half of the district.
100 Years of the North Syracuse Fire Department Celebrated:
- Two Thousand Thirteen North Syracuse Fire Department celebrated it’s 100 years of fire service.
- Throughout the year, the members of the North Syracuse Fire Department celebrated this monumental achievement.