The Protective Hose Company of the Lancaster Village Fire Department was established on October 29, 1896. We have been serving this community for over one hundred years!
The Protective Hose Company used the original hose cart until 1900. It carried 200 feet of hose, two nozzles, and four leather pails and was drawn by means of a drag rope. In 1900 the Village Board voted to purchase a four-wheeled horse drawn vehicle from the C.J. Handel Co. of Buffalo for $379.00. It was assigned to the Protectives. This wagon was capable of carrying 500 feet of hose, two fire extinguishers, two nozzles, and one extension ladder, and other fire-fighting tolls of that era. It was in service until 1925.
In 1924 the Protectives, after a similar attempt was made and defeated in 1921, saw their efforts to motorize the Company approved by the voters at a special election. A proposition to purchase a modern triple combination fire pumper was carried by the overwhelming majority of 314 to 106. On August 7, 1924 an order for the new apparatus was placed with the American La France Fire Engine Co. of Elmira at their bid price of $12,500.00. The new truck was delivered in 1925. It was the first motorized pumper in the Village of Lancaster and the end of the horse-drawn era in the Fire Department.
In 1928 the chemical tank was removed and a booster tank substituted. In February 1942 a windshield was installed. This grizzled old war horse, a veteran of hundreds of fires, saw service at the disastrous American Malleable fire on New Year's Eve 1926. the Lancaster Theater in 1930, and the American Legion fire in 1950. Following the June 1930 flood it pumped water from basements for three consecutive days. The truck was updated with a new coat of paint and remained in service until 1951.
The 1951 pumper was purchased from the American LaFrance Co. for $15,000.00 and was delivered to December 10, 1951. Although it was officially rated to pump 750GPM it pumped 1056GPM on the four-hour Underwriters delivery test. It was equipped with 2000 feet of 2 1/2 inch hose, 1000 feet of 1 1/2 inch hose, two air packs, ladders, 300 gallon booster tank, and various other pieces of fire fighting equipment. In August, 1960 two electric rewind booster reels were added, along with a foam proportioner system capable of delivering 1200 gallons of liquid foam. This truck was in service until June 1973.
Our present apparatus was one of three purchased from the Ward LaFrance Co. in 1973 for $45,000.00. It is powered by a Detroit Diesel engine, and is capable of pumping 1250 GPM. It carries a 1 3/4 inch, 2 1/2 inch and a 4 inch hose, ladders, five airpaks, extra air cylinders, and numbers types of tools necessary for fire fighting. In 1985 the truck was refurbished, and a midship hydraulic pump control panel was installed, along with a fiberglass body.
The Protectives originally held their monthly meetings on the third Tuesday of the month until 1941 at which time they switched to the first Wednesday. Their first meeting in the new Municipal Building was February 5, 1941.