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History

The East Amherst Fire Department of East Amherst, New York was organized in 1919 by a group of local residents, who, sharing a mutual concern for fire protection, purchased an American LaFrance No. 11 chemical fire engine two-wheeled pull-cart with money from their own pockets. This group was led by Philip P. Paultler and the Muegel Brothers, George, Christian, and Louis. The first meeting of record of the East Amherst Fire Company was held on March 6th, 1920. The fire company was officially incorporated in 1927.

The fire company grew rapidly. With donations, fundraisers, and dedicated work, the company was able to purchase a piece of land on which to build a fire hall by June of 1920. The first house was reconstructed by the members from an old roller skating rink. This Building was located on the west side of Transit Road approximately one-quarter mile north of Muegel Rd. in East Amherst, New York, adjacent to the property which they had acquired. The building was part of a large building complex. Members of the fire company detached the building from the complex and moved it approximately one-hundred yards to the property next door.

In 1922, the company acquired its first motorized apparatus, a Brockway Motor Fire Truck, Model E-2. This truck was purchased for $1,500.00. The two 35 gallon chemical cylinders were removed from the original pull-cart and mounted on the new motorized truck. In 1928 the cylinders were removed from the truck and replaced with a Barton 350 GPM (three hundred and fifty gallon-per minute) front mount pump. In July of 1939, The Transit Fire Company approved the purchase of a new fire engine to be built by Cayasler Manufacturing Corporation of Buffalo, New York. This State-of-the-art piece of apparatus was one of the first ten closed-caps fire engines built by Cheverolet. On November 17, 1940, the Transit Fire Company fire hall was completely destroyed by fire. The new 1939 pumper was saved and is still owned by the East Amherst Fire Department. Within a year of the fire, a new 2 story masonry structure was built on the same lot of the fire company.

Through the years, the rural farmlands of the East Amherst area gradually became a sprawling urban community and the fire company constantly strived to upgrade its equipment and improve its service. In 1953 the first ambulance, a 1942 GMC, was purchased for the fire company by the Ladies Auxiliary.In June 1948, The Transit Fire Company purchased the Muegel Inn located on Transit and Muegel Roads. It was a seven acre lot with ready made buildings that would meet their needs. The mason building was sold a few years later. In 1962, the old buildings on Transit and Muegel Roads were demolished and replaced with a new building.  

In 1971, the East Amherst Area was growing rapidly and it was becoming increasingly difficult to provide the service necessary from a single location. As a result, the fire company acquired a plot of land, on which they could build a second fire station to better service the community which was under their protection. This property, a one acre lot, located at 635 Ayer Rd. Williamsville, New York, was leased to the Transit Fire Company Inc. by the National Gypsum Company on January 5, 1971 for ninety-nine years for the sum of one dollar. This building became Transit Fire Company Station #2. Groundbreaking ceremonies for Station #2 where held on April 28, 1973 and Station #2 was opened in 1974.

In 1988, Station #1 was extended and remodeled to meet their needs. On April 1,1992, the Transit Fire Company Inc. was renamed the East Amherst Fire Department, Inc. In 2003, Station 1 again was completely renovated and expanded to meet the needs for the growing community in the East Amherst Fire district.

In 2019 the department celebrated 100 years of service.

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In 2022 from December 23 to December 25 there was a blizzard that shocked the area.

 

Friday, Dec. 23: As expected, conditions quickly deteriorated early Friday morning as this winter storm rolled in. Temperatures plummeted, rain changed to snow and blizzard conditions set in across Buffalo. Travel bans were put in place and power outages started to pop up. All of those impacts would last through the weekend and into the following week. Tropical storm force wind gusts were recorded across Western New York with a top gust of 79 mph in Lackawanna. By midday, roads across Buffalo were covered in snow and conditions were becoming dangerous. After a wave of widespread snow showers that fell Friday across Western New York, this storm evolved into lake effect event with a band taking aim at Buffalo Friday afternoon. This lake effect band pummeled the city and surrounding neighborhoods Friday, especially areas north. Almost two feet of snow was on the ground by Friday night at the Buffalo Airport with the heaviest and most dangerous of conditions setting in for the long night ahead. A new daily snowfall record was set on December 23rd in Buffalo with 22.3 inches of snow falling at the Buffalo Airport that day. Another aspect of this storm besides the blizzard conditions, if that wasn't enough, was the brutal cold. The combination of the gusty winds and cold temperatures lead to wind chill values reaching well below zero. The National Guard was deployed to Buffalo and would arrive Saturday. The East Amherst Fire Department was set up as a warming station and members that could make it up to the hall spent countless hours rescuing people from trapped cars and businesses in the area. Approximately 60 people were brought back to the firehall. While attempting to rescue people, multiple fire vehicles got stuck in heavy snow conditions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, Dec. 24: Buffalonians were waking up to a winter disaster as the snow and wind continued relentlessly overnight. The conditions were so bad that plow crews could not keep up with the winter storm and blizzard conditions. In a press conference Saturday morning, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced that emergency services were unavailable across portions of Erie County. And unfortunately, this storm had already become deadly. 

The lake effect snow machine continued all day Christmas Eve with heavy snow and gusty winds aimed at the northern half of Western New York. The Buffalo Airport added over a foot of snow to the existing accumulation from Friday, making it upwards of four feet of snow on the ground. Snowdrifts and banks across the Buffalo area were estimated to be between 5 to 8 feet from the wind. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day brought some relief to the areas the storm ravaged across the Northtowns and downtown Buffalo as the lake effect band shifted a little farther south. This lake effect band took aim at the Southtowns, where this region picked up one to two feet of snow that day. Travel bans across Erie County continued Christmas Day and the Buffalo Airport was closed for the third consecutive day. Roads were impassable, communities were snowed in, many still without power. The fire department was able to start taking fire calls and allowing the people who were trapped at the fire department to finally go home. The roads were only passible by one car width passes with snow 4 feet high. Many neighborhoods had not been touched since the beginning of the storm, so many of the calls that the department received had to be responded to on foot. Many members spent countless hours providing services for the community and received little to no sleep over the weekend. The storm brought many challenges but none that the East Amherst Fire Department couldn't handle.

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Today the East Amherst Fire Department is a well-equipped, well-trained fire department, which is at the forefront of firefighting technology. Thank you to the community that surrounds the department, the East Amherst Fire Department has come a long way since its humble beginning and has a proud heritage of dedicated efficient service to the East Amherst community which will endure long into the future.

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