History

The Village of Tonawanda was established in the 1820's and in 1856, with a population of roughly 2000 and growing, the first fire company was formed. This first fire company was nothing more than a "Bucket Brigade" using buckets of water to fight fires. The first hand operated engine was purchased in 1863. A large fire in 1872 was the catalyst behind the purchase of a light class rotary steamer. The Silsby Manufacturing Company built the steamer at a cost of $4,200.00, and after being placed into service in the Village, it was given the name "B.H. Long."In 1884 the Village built a water pumping station, and by 1888 had roughly four miles of piping and ninety-six hydrants.

In 1903, the Village of Tonawanda formally became the City of Tonawanda and began supplying the volunteer companies with horses to pull their apparatus. Prior to this the companies pulled the carts by hand, and later purchased their own horses. Following a disastrous fire at the Tonawanda Brewing Company in August of 1913, at which two of the City's fire apparatus were delayed almost 30 minutes due to lack of drivers, a committee was formed to look into hiring paid drivers. In September 1913a meeting was geld between the Mayor, City Alderman, Fire Chief, the City Fire Committee, and representatives from the four fire companies. A resolution was adopted from this meeting to appoint four drivers at a salary of $60.00 per month, and a fire chief at a salary of $75.00 per month. A Civil Service test was given to hire drivers for the new positions. On November 15th, 1913 paid drivers/janitors started work in the city, these men were:

John Kruse - Driver for Delaware Hose Co. #2

Charles Gau - Driver for National Hose Co. #1

Charles Oxcel - Driver for Niagara Hose Co. #3

Walter Luck - Driver for Union Hook & Ladder Co. #1

Walter Luck worked as a janitor in the quarters of Union Hook & Ladder Co. #1, because they had no team of horses, he was also responsible for "spelling" or providing relief for the other drivers once a week. The first call for the new drivers came on November 18th, 1913. A fire was reported at the American Hotel on North Niagara Street, the fire caused $31,500.00 damage, and completely destroyed the hotel.

On February 1st, 1916 C. Grover Rech was appointed to the position of Fire Chief, a position he would hold for 37 years. During his administration the department would undergo a multitude of changes. The movement to motorize the department began in 1917 when a 750gpm pumper was purchased from the Seagrave Corporation. This pumper was originally painted red, and remained that way until it was sent back to the company in 1927 for upgrades and repairs. In 1922, two REO Speed Wagon hose trucks were purchased for the Niagara Hose and Delaware Hose companies. In August of 1926, a second 750gpm pumper arrived, and with it came a new paint scheme 242D "Tonawanda Yellow". All vehicles purchased for the department from this point forward would be painted "Tonawanda Yellow". September of 1929 marked the end of the horse drawn era in Tonawanda with the purchase of a 75' Seagrave Tiller.

As of today the department has 24 Professional Firefighters, each of whom have attended the fire academy. Every one of our members is at a minimum an EMT-B with 12 members that are Paramedics. Currently each shift has 3 firefighters, 1 Captain, and 1 Assistant Chief permanently assigned to staff 2 Engines, 1 EMS/Command vehicle , 1 Ladder Tower, and 1 Heavy Rescue. Our 2 "spell" drivers operate on a rotational schedule floating between the four shifts. The department also has two daytime positions of fire prevention and training. 

Badge #

Name

Start

Capt

A/C

Chief

Retired

2

John Kruse

11/15/1913

——

——

——

2/1/1957

1

Charles Gau

11/15/1913

——

——

——

8/13/1949

 

Walter Luck

11/15/1913

——

——

——

Relieved

3

Charles Oxcel

11/15/1913

——

——

——

5/31/1949

4

William Marohn

5/1/1914

——

——

——

11/05/1953

 

C. Grover Rech

2/1/1916

——

——

2/1/1916

7/1/1953

5

Richard Schreiber

7/1/1916

——

9/27/1921

——

8/31/1951

6

Robert Pagels

10/24/17

——

——

——

LODD 2/28/28

7

Rudolph Strupp

6/10/1918

——

——

——

N/A

8

William Gau

7/15/1918

——

——

——

5/31/1946

9

August Marohn

3/5/1919

——

——

——

8/31/1950

10

William Fisher

4/1/1920

——

——

——

Died 1942

11

Roy Wagner

4/1/1920

——

——

——

7/31/1947

12

Raymond Dunker

9/1/1920

——

2/1/1943

——

8/31/1951

13

Jacob Lyons

7/1/1924

——

——

——

12/3/1954

14

Carl Lewin

7/1/1924

——

——

——

1/11/1960

15

Earl Martin

3/21/1928

——

——

——

N/A

16

Emerson Wendel

6/16/1941

——

7/1/1949

——

11/30/1972

17

Christian Swansfeger

6/16/1941

——

——

——

11/30/1972

18

William Schreiber

6/16/1941

——

9/1/1951

3/15/1953

N/A

19

Raymond Hartman

2/1/1942

——

9/2/1951

——

11/13/1967

20

Harold Fitzsimmons

4/1/1943

——

——

——

12/1/1973

21

Henry Grobe

5/15/1946

——

3/9/1953

——

3/11/1977

22

John Jacobs

4/1/1947

——

——

——

5/31/1977

23

Floyd Schreiber

4/7/1947

——

——

——

6/6/1978

24

John Sullivan

7/1/1947

——

——

——

Resigned

24

Alvin R. Marhon

10/15/1947

——

——

——

1/1/1963

25

Bernard Holmes

5/1/1949

11/1/1966

——

——

7/26/1974

26

Carlton D. Grobe

5/1/1949

——

10/5/1962

——

N/A

27

Richard W. Miller

5/1/1949

——

——

——

4/30/1976

28

Leonard J. Foels

12/15/1949

——

——

——

Resigned

29

Lyle D. Gipp Jr.

8/1/1950

——

——

——

Resigned

28

Joel Rosokoff

6/20/1951

——

——

——

Resigned

 

Michael Rhodes

7/20/1951

——

——

——

Resigned

29

Lloyd A. Manning

8/1/1951

——

——

——

8/9/1984

30

Harold Badrow

4/1/1952

——

——

12/20/1972

11/3/1976

31

Eugene Dirmyer

4/1/1952

——

——

——

5/31/1977

32

William Lasky

10/16/1952

——

——

——

Resigned

33

Roger L. Burgler

10/22/1954

7/?/1974

3/4/1977

——

5/10/1990

34

Leonard Idziak

7/16/1953

9/18/1978

11/23/1984

——

6/21/1990

28

Richard Burgler

10/22/1954

——

——

——

5/10/1990

35

Robert Ott

6/13/1955

——

——

——

Resigned

36

Jay R. Ralph

9/21/1956

11/1/1966

——

12/8/1976

1/18/1986

32

William Wythe

11/23/1956

——

——

——

5/25/1990

35

John F. Fleming

5/24/1957

11/1/19661

6/17/1968

6/23/1989

6/22/1990

37

Edward J. Bronson

10/4/1957

——

——

——

10/7/1982

38

Gary A. Gath

4/24/1959

2/2/1979

——

——

4/24/1990

39

Bernhardt Gademsky

4/8/1960

——

——

——

4/18/1985

40

Edwin J. Gugino

5/6/1960

6/14/1968

5/9/1980

10/4/1984

6/23/1989

41

Robert Fitzsimmons

5/5/1961

5/18/1977

11/23/1984

——

5/15/1987

42

Albert Evans

5/6/1961

11/1/1966

9/10/1973

——

3/28/1991

43

John Zackey

1/26/1962

——

——

——

2/6/1987

44

James Thompson

1/26/1962

——

——

——

3/31/1993

45

Daniel P. Evans

12/14/1962

9/?/1972

3/?/1977

——

6/21/1990

46

James Westphal

1/11/1963

12/?/1974

——

——

Resigned

47

Philip G. Krueger

5/1/1964

——

——

——

Resigned

48

Thomas Biles

10/30/1964

——

——

——

4/26/1990

49

Neal Malchow

9/18/1967

5/14/1990

——

——

5/28/1998

 

Alan Ward

11/22/1971

——

——

——

Relieved

53

Larry Witt

11/22/1971

——

——

——

4/27/2000

 

Milton Pulinski

11/22/1971

——

——

——

Relieved

 

Keith Fahs

11/22/1971

——

——

——

Relieved

 

Leroy Tussing

3/20/1972

——

——

——

Relieved

50

Jay Fedeson

1/2/1973

——

——

——

4/26/2001

51

Thomas D. Miller

1/2/1973

12/21/1984

7/8/1987

6/22/1990

1/15/2004

52

Donald W. Kramer

1/2/1973

6/6/1980

6/?/1990

——

1/7/2003

54

Robert Klenk

11/30/0973

——

——

——

N/A

55

Curtis Mesler

4/19/1974

——

10/13/1989

——

4/27/2000

56

James Ensminger

6/6/1974

——

——

——

1/20/1989

57

Roger L. Korte

4/17/1975

10/9/1990

——

——

6/30/1995

58

Walter Schwinger

12/11/1975

12/21/1984

——

——

LODD 11/12/1996

59

Raymond Holcomb

5/4/1978

——

——

——

5/25/2003

24

Dan E. Marohn

5/4/1978

——

10/12/1989

——

3/19/2009

61

Silvio B. Agnello Jr.

12/22/1978

4/28/1990

7/18/1990

——

2/23/2006

62

Timothy Fedeson

2/16/1979

——

——

——

4/29/2009

63

Scott A. Winters

5/9/1980

6/22/1990

——

——

5/9/2000

64

Raymond O. Endres

10/7/1983

——

——

——

1/19/2011

65

Timothy D. Rank

10/7/1983

7/18/1991

——

——

1/30/2008

66

Gregory Loomis

9/20/1984

6/9/2000

——

——

Resigned

67

David Sereno

9/20/1984

9/7/1995

5/25/2000

——

2/18/2010

68

Richard Hosmer

1/2/1985

7/28/2003

——

——

2/18/2010

70

Mark Schulte

1/2/1985

6/18/1997

/3/10/2004

——

1/4/2015

71

John Taggart

1/2/1990

——

——

——

2/3/2006

72

Charles Stuart

1/18/1990

6/3/1998

5/1/2003

1/16/2004

——

73

Richard B. Schroeder

3/12/1990

——

——

——

1/10/2016

74

Christopher Cowell

3/12/1990

12/21/2001

3/24/2006

——

7/12/2015

75

Joseph Bacon

4/16/1990

8/1/2003

2/19/2010

——

4/27/2016

76

Robert Hassett

4/16/1990

2/8/2008

——

——

——

77

John Graf

4/16/1990

3/10/2004

——

——

4/24/2014

78

Michael Lamp

7/10/1990

——

——

——

7/10/2015

79

Timothy Newman

7/10/1990

——

——

——

——

80

Michael Young

7/10/1990

6/9/2000

3/20/2009

——

——

81

James Barber

4/17/1997

4/7/2006

10/12/2015

——

——

82

Thomas V. Wolfe

4/3/1998

3/23/2009

——

——

——

83

John C. Moore

7/7/2000

——

——

——

——

84

Christopher Close

7/7/2000

2/19/2010

10/5/2015

——

——

19

Michael Hartman

3/16/2001

——

——

——

11/22/2012

86

Robert Meinhold

3/15/2002

——

——

——

Resigned

85

Gary Pohzehl II

8/15/2003

1/1/2014

——

——

——

86

Shane Mast

8/15/2005

——

——

——

——

 

Aaron Verral

8/15/2005

——

——

——

Resigned

87

Patrick McNulty

8/31/2005

3/25/2010

5/9/2016

——

——

88

Joseph Briggs

5/22/2006

10/14/2015

——

——

——

89

Amy Newman

11/29/2006

——

——

——

——

90

Denny Angelo

2/23/2007

——

——

——

——

67

Adam J. Sereno

8/10/2007

——

——

——

——

92

Doug Sprague

2/23/2009

10/17/2015

——

——

——

93

Jeff State

2/23/2009

——

——

——

——

94

Timothy Price

1/13/2010

——

——

——

——

95

Cae’sare D’Agostino

1/13/2010

——

——

——

——

96

Joshua D. Lapham

7/25/2010

5/16/2016

——

——

——

97

Leonard Frears

4/13/2011

——

——

——

——

98

Donald Page

4/28/2014

——

——

——

——

99

Jason R. Malley

2/23/2015

——

——

——

——

100

Eric Krzeminski

8/4/2015

——

——

——

——

101

Eric Dolpp

2/22/2016

——

——

——

——

102

Michael Cornett

2/22/2016

——

——

——

——

103

Josh Page

2/22/2016

——

——

——

——

104

Brandon McGuire

2/22/2016

——

——

——

——