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In days gone by before fancy record keeping systems and computers the only records kept of a fire call were those which were hand written in a ledger book. Here are exact transcripts of some of those notes (all the fire apparatus in these notes had open cabs, such as the 1934 Chevrolet/Sanford Pumper and the 1922 Seldon Pumper in the Apparatus section).


June 18, 1906 Tempest Hose Company #1 and Star Hose #1 appeared in their new uniforms for the first time and with the new uniforms of the Hook and Ladder company the fire department makes a fine appearance.


The fire alarm signals on bell:

Main St. and RR St. General Alarm  2/2/2/2

Clay and Phelps Sts. 3/3/3/3

Church St. 4/4/4/4

Wardwell St. 5/5/5/5

N Park St.6/6/6/6 

S Park St. 7/7/7

Grange Ave 8/8/8

Spring St. 9/9/9

Main and Prospect Sts.2/3/2/3

S. Main and Grove Sts. 2/4/2/4

Liberty St  2/5/2/5



Nov. 7, 1919  6:30 pm O D Greene Planning Mill. S. Park St. Believed started from overheated bearing. Large pile of shavings took fire. Department responded quickly. Fire was subdued before it had a chance to get much of a start. Three lines of hose from hydrant. The Tempest and Stars both reached the fire at about the same time with the hose carts and did fast work at hooking up to the hydrants. Amer Folsom smashed a finger off when the hose carts collided at the corner of Church and Park.


June 24, 1920 10:30 in the eve W. S. Rice Rupture Cure plant , Wardwell St. Burned, the greater part of the building was of wood, was formerly a school building. Three of the firemen were injured, although not seriously. Rob Clark hurt his hip when he fell through the floor, Fay Patten burned his hands and left leg when a large pile of printing paper collapsed in the cellar, Albert Hunt was also trapped in the cellar and received burns to his face, hands, shoulders, and chest, Jay Chapman was also in the building at the time but escaped un hurt. Loss about $200,000. Several explosions added to the intense heat.


February 6, 1921 3:15 in the morn M. E. Church Wardwell and ChurchSt. Discovered by Mrs. E. J. Jarvis, wife of the pastor when she was awakened by the reflection of fire in their bed room, origin unknown, but apparently started in the back end of the church, downstairs near chimney. Burned to ground, parsonage saved although west side was badly scorched, extreme heat broke windows and blistered the paint on Mr. Rice’s big house across the street. All the fire hose the dept. had was laid and made a regular network of hose, hydrant pressure was used but when the steamer got into action one could see a decided difference. It sure knocked the stuffing out of that fire. The church was a very large and beautiful structure with a loft spire which made a very spectacular blaze & also a very hot one. The A.F.Dept. rec’d. $50 in appreciation


June 10, 1921 9:00 pm Clarence VanDuser, Liberty St. A storage barn burned. Alarm sounded at the time Professor Barber was giving the department a very interesting talk on chemistry. Taking water as his subject. Department responded with the steamer, hook and ladder, the chemical. The steamer was placed by railroad bridge on creek bank. After fire we returned to meeting room and professor Barber finished his talk.


August 3, 1922 4:15 pm A.H. Castor saw mill, Thomas Settlement, Adams Henderson Road. Responded with steamer, pumped from creek near bridge. Wilber Cornwall operated pump while (Red) George Frazier fired the boiler. Fay Patten relieved Frazier on the boiler when he was called back to his machine shop in Adams. Lou Nichols and C G VanDuser relieved Cornwall and Patten later. Steamer ran about four hours. Huge sawdust pile and big piles of lumber gave trouble. Estimated loss $7,000. (signed) Chief Chas. M. Pierce


Jan. 29, 1923 9:30 am Union Academy, Belleville, Had been burning about an hour when AFD received the call. Roads nearly blocked with snow. Chemical, washtub full of soda, and some bottles of acid were loaded in Dr. Rices truck. Rob Clark and Fay Patten rode in the truck and held acid etc. Wellington Franklin drove. Hard work to keep truck right side up at times in snow drifts. Truck got stuck several times. When nearly to fire got stuck fast in the snow. Walked rest of way. Henderson also came but they brought their chemical over on sleigh. Conditions bad after several days of wind and snow.


October 6, 1923 Arthur Clark, Taylor Settlement. Three barns which were all connected together burned. Started from a spark from an engine being used to fill silo. House badly damaged. Towed steamer down behind a truck. Geo Frazier and Fay Patten rode on seat and operated break. Jim Wilson rode on the rear end and had steam up when steamer reached fire. Pumped from creek nearby. The chain on rear of the truck unhooked and steamer nearly tipped over near Ikeys Crossing. Henderson also responded with pumper.


September 27, 1926 3:30 am Robert E. Gregg Gristmill, Mannsville. Discovered by some people driving past. L. Nichols, Fay Patten, Earl McGregor were riding on the seat, Chas. M. Pierce, and Roy Demarse were on the rear end. Demarse crawled over the truck and told the driver he had better stop as he had loss of a man, but by the time he had done this the truck was a half a mile away from where he had fallen. So the truck kept on going knowing that he would be picked up by the car following. Pierce was hurt quite a bit having three or four fingers broken besides numerous bruises and cuts. His clothing was partly torn off. He had on heavy clothing. Also a very heavy overcoat which helped much to save him. The Sandy Creek Department also responded but their suction hose was dropped in the mud and plugged up everything. They were unable to do much as their pump was filled with mud. Mansville gave the department $50 in appreciation. The boys told the people in Mannsville not to be afraid to call us any time and we would surely be there.


December 3, 1926 Frank Adsit, Liberty St. Below Tracks Started in kitchen. Family managed to get out in night clothes. Seven year old Alice detected smoke and aroused her dad. Two of the older children (of which there were nine) were sleeping over the kitchen and received slight burns while going through a burning door, to make their escape. There was a delay in getting central, so Hazel Yerdon, a neighbor, ran all the way to the telephone office to sound the alarm. Very cold.


June 17, 1927 A committee from the Fire Department went before the Village Board and talked over the pumper problem, after a lengthy discussion, it was voted to act on the suggestions of the fire department recommending the purchase of a Seldon triple combination fire truck at a cost something over $5,000. The proposition to be put before the vote at the next Village election.


November 30, 1927 11:30 am Myron J. Freeman house N. Main St. Oil stove in the kitchen exploded. The cook had mistaken gasoline for kerosene. A five gallon can of gasoline was in the kitchen and made a very hot fire which was confined to the kitchen although smoke, which was very dense, went all through the house. A mighty close call. (signed) L, Nichols, Fay Patten


August 14, 1928 2:30 am Dr. H. E. Tyler’s house, Railroad St. Fire in low attic. Hard to get at. Exploding of cartridges awakened Mrs. Clara Fish who had rooms in part of the house and she discovered fire. The Tylers were staying at Henderson at the time soon arrived at fire after they had been notified by telephone.


August 14, 1928 5:00 am Called back to Tyler’s house. This time the fire was in the east side of the attic (had broken out again). Some household goods stored there by Mrs. Mina Schram were a total loss. Extensive water damage to the whole house. Tyler’s furniture was carried out very carefully.


November 15, 1928 7:00 pm E. W. Evans above Allendale on Lorraine Road New barn burned. House saved. Believed incendiary. Building had been unoccupied about a year. Evidence of kerosene was found in house by firemen and a smoldering fire was found in one of rooms. House full of smoke. J. C. Pooler on his way home from Syracuse saw a reflection in the sky and discovered the fire. R. Demarse and F. Patten received slight cuts and torn clothing when they collided with some barbed wire as they alighted from the fire truck in the darkness. Chapman also received a cut when he ran into the same wire later.


July 11, 1930- 12:30- barn at blacksmith shop, Rodman owned by Chas Gates- started in old barn at rear of shop- 13 min. after call was rec’d the Dept. had water on the fire and stopped the flames from spreading to near by building- shingles on John Chrysler house caught fire twice, but were put out- The Burt Nemire house was also scorched-The #2 pumper from Watertown arrived about ½ hr. later, but did not lay any hose.


February 9, 1931 7 in eve. Frank Hunt farm beyond Lisk Bridge. Chimney. Dept. got as far as D. Smiths at Lisk Bridge where they were stopped by a phone call, not needed which was a good thing as the roads were blocked with snow. In trying to turn the truck around in Smith’s yard it became stuck in the snow and had to stay there ‘til snow plow could get through to get them. Very bad night- had to stay there ‘til nearly morn. Smith took the boys in the house out of the storm and had cider, dough nuts, coffee etc. Not a bad party after all.


April 9, 1931 morning Fred Isham Rodman house Dept responded quickly, a rather fine bit of fire fighting was done and under rather bad conditions, little damage was done. Mr. Isham was very pleased and gave the dept. $50 to show his appreciation. Water was pumped form the creek nearby.


July 20 1931 10:00 AM, - Dept. called out when lightning struck Presbyterian Church spire- did not take fire although shingles were ripped off and timbers were split- terrible storm- lightning struck in several places in this community but no fires were started.


Mar 31 1933 4 in the Morn- Reed Walker, house, Adams-Smithville Rd- formally the Clint Lewis home- Mr. Walker and his son, who was asleep, were awakened by the barking dog- and were just able to get out with a few articles of apparel, the house was a mass of flames- a total loss- a hen house full of hens at the rear of the house, also the barn, were saved.


Feb. 6, 1934 10:30 pm Northern Junk Co., Court St. Watertown. 10 below zero. 30 minutes from time of alarm dept. had water on the fire from hydrant beneath the Court St. Bridge. Watertown Chief praised good work of our boys-laid 1,400 ft. of hose, got orders to stop pumping at 3:30 in the morn. Cecil Patten, Ned Larkins, Leon Demarse and Fay Patten went on the pumper. Patten drove. Dexter, Carthage and Brownville also responded.


Nov 29 1934 AM- Ackerman Block, Church St. gasoline caught fire when a tank was being piped up the cellar, underneath Ford Show room- quickly extinguished.


Jan 25 1935 10:00 PM- Ed Tweed home, Adams Ctr-near church- unknown origin house and nearly all its contents- AC Dept. responded but Adams was called when it was feared fire was going to spread- about $5000 loss- bad wind and snow storm, regular blizzard- pumped from reservoir new school.


Feb 20 1935 Evening- Paul’s big square house, Paul’s Cors. Adams- Henderson Rd. bad fire in attic- burned a hole through ceiling on 2nd  floor- extra good work by firemen- road nearly blocked- wind and snow- bad night.


Feb 27 1937 7:30 PM- Willard McIntosh, Bishop St.- near Smithville- big barn-some of the stock were burned- able to save other buildings near by-F Patten Slightly burned on neck and arm, attended by Dr Douglass-cold- very windy- able to save some of stock.


August 23, 1938 pm Floyd Shutts Just north of Valley Filling Station Syracuse Rd. house struck by lightning, much damage done to roof, attic, 2 bed rooms. Most of Dept. was at Lowville Fair with one of the pumpers. 6 or 7 members in uniform were waiting at the fire barn for a ride to Lowville when the alarm came in. Those 6 or 7 men took the #2 pumper and went and put out the fire. Extra good work was done and under adverse conditions. As one of the men told Mr. Shutts “It isn’t everybody that can have a fire put out by men in full dress uniforms” (Uniforms were badly messed up) (signed) Fay Patten


September 23, 1938 7 pm Called to Valley Filling Station to put out fire in locomotive of passenger train wreck, engineer and fireman were both killed, had to be taken out of cab after it had been cut away with torch. Wreck was caused by 2 boys who tampered with a switch.


Sunday Feb 4, 1940 10:25 am Adams High School Unknown cause, near boiler room, burned and destroyed 2 doors, one being a metal fire door, heat was so intense it warped the door off its hinges, burned small hole in ceiling of next floor, smoke went all through the building, 10 below zero. Trucks Fay Patten #1 Avon Greenley #2


Oct 6 1940 1:40 in Morn, - red flare on roof of light & Power Bldg.- were mistaken for a fire- seen from Main St.,- it was during a time when all eclectic power was off- town was in total darkness- church bells was ringing as siren could not be blown- very dark night- wind blowing hard.


May 31 1941 9:40 PM- house on cor. of Phelps & Wall St.-occupied by McIntosh family- flames were coming from upper and lower windows when discovered. Although the building was badly gutted- 3 steams of water from hydrant were used, also booster line were very affective- Dept. done good work.


December 6, 1941 5:05 pm Earl Hunt house Henderson very strong west wind, entire north side of street threatened. A.F.D. was called when it was feared flames might spread to adjoining bldg’s. The run was made in about 12 minutes -- very quick response, B. Thomas, Jim Trivett, and Fay Patten went on truck & laid about 1,200 ft of hose and pumped from creek, plenty of mud and very slippery. A snow storm and freezing temperatures made conditions bad, one length of hose near pumper burst which caused apparatus to become a mass of ice. After we stopped pumping we tried to move out of the creek but in account of slippery clay etc. the pumper started sliding side wise and would have rolled over bank had we continued on. A huge caterpillar tractor pulled us out later. Very bad conditions, exceedingly cold wind, temperature was 10 degrees, apparatus gone from Adams 5 hrs. 20 min. Encountered blinding snow storm on return to quarters. Trivett and Patten returned with truck at 10:20 pm.


July 5 1942 12 Midnight- fire reported by people driving by with auto- during violent electrical storm- tree was hit and took fire, on Sand St.- south of Enos farm- fire was flowing across road.


July 24 1942 1:45 Morn. - (hot weather) A Thomas farm on Sand St. Green Settlement Rd., about 3 miles from Adams one horse, a calf, pigs, and quantity of house burned to ground, an air plane diving over house awoke the people-farm all in flames when discovered- Fay Patten drove pumper- Don Larkin Squad car. 7 min from time of alarm, Dept. arrived at scene of fire those responding were Walter Peters, Gary Birly.


Sept. 12 1942 1-0-Clock in Morn.- Holeman Meat Market in the old Warehouse Block on Church St. started in rear of store on ground floor, occupants of upper rooms were driven out by the intense smoke-Don Sliter and family resides in rooms on the second floor, discovered the fire, when returned home at about 1: 45 Fay Patten occupied rooms over the Printing Office heard Sliter as he was calling for help and ran down quickly, but Roy Ball the night watchman beat him to the alarm box and turned in the alarm. Patten took #1 pumper out promptly and in about 3 minutes a stream of water was on the fire, connection being made to the hydrant on the corner of Church and Main St., two streams were playing on the fire in 7 or 8 minutes. Don Larkin took the #2 pumper and connected to the hydrant at Grange Ave and Main St. for a 3rd stream- fire was brought under control in 20 minutes- fire had a good start and had burned the back room and through the partition in the front- damage estimated at $5000- heat was so intense it broke all the bug glass at the front of store- a serious complication was averted.


Sept 14 1942 3 AM- Hotel RR St., a roomer had gone to bed smoking and set the bed a fire- on the 3rd floor at the end of hall- bedding was burned-bad mess-close call for a bad fire- fire put out with extinguisher from #2 truck-extinguisher were refilled by F Patten and Roy Ball.


Jan 10 1943 12:30 midnight- 4 below zero (old muzzy farm) Adams- Smithville- about 3 ½ miles out- very large house and all its contents, except home chairs ect. which in front room- burned- believed to have started from stove or smoke pipe in kitchen in the rear of house- they were burning green wood- occupants just got out and that all the only clothing saved was there night clothes-nearly all were over come by smoke- man and wife and Children (small) water from booster tank was used to save a large hay stack at side of house- those responding were Fay Patten, Don Larkin, Bill Demarse and Sinclair and Hart Wilson.


Jan 19 1943 6:45 in Morn.- Babbitt farm- Babbitts Cors Rodman-Barns Cors. Rd.. Owned by Mrs. Lyle Lillotson, who moved to Watertown for the winter. Hers a very large house-unoccupied- only smoldering ruins in the cellar were all that remained when Dept. arrived- Dept. was summoned by a farmer living some distant away- by telephone- Dept. was nearly 25 min. the 16 mile trip- roads were bad- snow banks along the road were as high as 18 to 20 ft. with only a narrow gorge to travel in- it was raining hard when Depy. Left. Adams and by the time the truck reached the scene of the fire, which is a higher elevation, the boys were nearly frozen stiff- 5 men responded- Bob Spath, Don Larkin, Guy Bishop, and a non fireman Earl McGregor Jr.- snowing quite hard at the scene of the fire the wind was blowing a gale- the roads were very very icy and slippery for the first 7 or 8 miles-fire of unknown origin/

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