Fires during the early winter months of 1925 in Halfmoon and Crescent causing a tragic loss of two lives resulted with the realization that residents were powerless to save them.
Aroused by the helplessness, residents of the community set the wheels in motion to organize a fire department in order to protect themselves and their property.
On April 13, 1925, 19 public-spirited residents met at the Halfmoon District No. 1 schoolhouse to formally organize the Halfmoon Volunteer Fire Company.
The 19 men spearheading the formation of this unit were Jared Clark, Charles Clute, Edward Faulkner, Stephen Faulkner, Milton Frigheit, Warren Green, Earl Groat, Randall Lasher, Raymond Lasher, Tom Dwyer, Burton Rice, Arthur Sabourin, Cornell Sickler, Harold Smith, Lloyd Taylor, Wellington Vickery, Lowell Vickery, Abraham Walker, and Peter Woodin.
Following preliminary discussion, the group named a chairman and took up a collection totaling $100.00 for use as operating funds. They then elected the following men to serve as the first officers: President Milton Freight; Vice President, Peter Woodin; Captain, Earl Groat; Assistant Captain, Arthur Sabourin; Secretary, Lloyd Taylor; Treasurer, Harold Smith.
The next order of business was adopting a suitable name and functioning as a duly organized company; holding regular meetings, contacting residents for financial assistance, and putting on fundraising suppers, etc. Initiation of these efforts resulted in the involvement of a great deal of time, planning and shear hard work; ultimately leading to the successful organization of the first fire department for the community.
Cornell S. Hawley, a prominent Albany businessman and a native of Halfmoon, who once served as Secretary to United States President Grover Cleveland, presented the fledgling firefighting unit with a donation of $250.00 to help it overcome its financial burdens. As a tribute to his generosity, the company was renamed C.S. Hawley Chemical Company. A short time later Charles Clute donated a vacant lot in the village to the company, and with the donation of free labor, the only expense to be faced was for materials to construct a firehouse. A building was built and a 50-gallon chemical tank, mounted on a tow-wheel cart, was purchased. The company was ready to fight fires.
All through the latter half of the twenties, these dedicated pioneers gave unselfishly of themselves in both time and money to provide an effective fire protection system to some 175 homes that were in Fire District No. 1. Today there are more than 7,000 homes served in the district.
In 1981, it was a momentous occasion when women finally were accepted into the fire department. In noting this achievement, the company reminds one and all that it has not forgotten those women who were the "original firefighters" during World War II. These valiant women gave their support to continue quality fire protection for the community while their men were away fighting a war, and the company here and now acknowledges that dedication with the deepest of gratitude.
In the late 1980s, and early 1990s, the population in Halfmoon continued to grow at a rapid rate. New housing developments were being built. Bishop Howard Hubbard Apartments - a home for senior citizens - brought a new challenge for fire fighting. Pre-plan, mass casualty, and evacuation became a significant concern in our training program. Mutual aid cooperation and coordination between fire, ambulance, and emergency services generated training programs in which Halfmoon Fire Department participated enthusiastically.
"Jaws of Life" - a 1991 Lucas tool in E32-1 provided a new approach to extricating victims from vehicles. A second set placed on E32-2 was portable and lightweight, allowing us to bring the "jaw" to the scene without restrictions. This meant that we could use them in buildings or hard to reach confined areas.
The old jewel of our fleet is the 1967 brush truck F32-6. Fully rehabilitated in 1993, this four-wheel drive gets us where we need to go off road. This old truck is multi-functional and serves Halfmoon and neighboring fire districts just like our senior firefighters - with experience and dependability.
We received a grant, once again, from Senator Bruno's office for equipment. We plan on using it to purchase 2 more AEDs and voice amplifiers for air masks.
Halfmoon Fire Department acknowledges those who have served the community with dedication and commitment. We remember all those who no longer answer the call. We salute our current members, and the members of the Ladies Auxiliary for their dedication. The department continues to train and work toward saving he lives and property of our residents.