This word struck fear into the hearts of Gloversville citizens on May 21, 1877. The fire was on North Main Street!
the end, the fire consumed 22 mostly wooden buildings, and after, residents realized that with no waterworks,
and nothing more than a few buckets in the hands of some volunteers, adequate fire equipment,
men and available water were all that was needed to avert another disaster such as this one.
Great fire of May 21st 1877
A month later, the first hose company and hook and ladder brigade was formed and named the
A.J. Kasson Hose Company. On July 12, 1888 the name was changed to the Neptune Hose Company.
Subsequent hose companies were formed including the Mechanics Club and Drill Corporation,
the Glove City Hook and Ladder Company, The South End Hose Company and the
John B. Judson Hose Company.
Neptune Hose Company
These Hose companies participated in competitions all over the state for a first prize of $250
which was won at one time by the Neptune Hose Company at Herkimer, NY in 1891.
Scaling Buildings for fire company competition
In May of 1892, George L. Fort was installed as the first paid Gloversville Fire Chief.
Fire Chief George L. Fort
The first horse purchased for the department was "Old Kit" and soon after, two more horses were purchased.
It has been said Old Kit could take a corner going 60 miles an hour.
Until 1904, all members of the fire department were volunteers, but on April 1st,
the Common council authorized that personnel be paid and the department was then
comprised of 14 paid men and 15 call men with the exempt firemen held as reserves.
Exempt Firemen were exempt from paying taxes.
The department became motorized in 1912 when a car was purchased for the Chief.
This vehicle carried chemicals and a roll of hose.
First motorized fire equipment (Note right hand drive)
Early fire trucks at first had no roofs so that when approaching a fire, the men could look up to see
the building and assess what action needed to be taken to knock the fire down.
Today the Gloversville Fire Department is equipped with the latest technology and equipment
which includes a thermal imager to locate victims in a smoke filled building, air packs,
and a safety trailer which teaches fire safety and procedures to children.
The department today has a complement of 33 firefighters including the Chief
and one centrally located fire house.
Fire Fighters teach home safety to children
The City of Gloversville believes that a full complement of alert, well trained and well equipped paid fire fighters
is the key to fire safety success.