Fire District - Board of Fire Commissioners
Another aspect of our organization is the Fire District. The Fire District is run by a Board of Fire Commissioners. There are five Commissioners on the board and one is elected to a five-year term of office each year. Voting for commissioners is done by the registered voters of the Fire District. Commissioners or those seeking office do not need to be members of the fire department.
While the Firemen’s Association is funded via fund raising events such as our annual fund drive the Fire District has the ability to levy taxes and set tax rates to raise funds. The funds that the Fire District raises are utilized in equipping the firefighters with the necessary equipment to do their day to day job. The Fire District is responsible for maintenance on the fire trucks and fire stations as well as replacing or repairing any other tools that we utilize.
The Fire District was started in 1933 after a change in State law concerning Fire Districts and Fire Protection areas. At this time the members of the community saw a need for a set Fire District with elected Commissioners who held the authority to raise money by the way of taxes. At some point during that same year the residents of the North West portion of Penfield also approached West Webster in order to obtain fire protection for their businesses and residences. On Tuesday, December 5th, 1933 the West Webster Fire District held their first elections of Commissioners. In this election 5 Commissioners were chosen to represent and oversee the Fire Districts and residents best interests. The first Commissioners of the West Webster Fire District were Albert Brigham, Allen Dayton, John Schlegel Sr., Dewey Welsher, and Albert Kober. Early March 1934 the towns of Webster and Penfield accepted a map filed with the Monroe County Court House establishing the boundaries of the West Webster Fire District.
Due to the tough economic times in the early years of the Fire District the tax rate was kept fairly low which therefore pushed the Firemen’s Association to have to provide the necessary money for the required equipment. As time progressed and the financial situation improved for the residents and country as a whole the Fire District would gradually take over some of the financial responsibilities of providing for the fire department.
In 1961 the Fire District recognized a need to build a second fire station in the Northwest portion of our district. The district secured a plot of land from the Bay Road School District and voted to build a two bay fire station that contained room for four trucks, a radio room and a utility room. In late ’63 the Fire District purchased its first fire truck. Prior to this the fire apparatus was purchased by the firemen via fundraising events and given to the Fire District. The first fire truck bought by the Fire District was a 1964 Ford with a 750 gallon per minute pump carrying 750 gallons of water and able to carry seven firefighters to the scenes of calls. This fire truck was initially housed at the firehouse at the corner of Gravel and Ridge Roads until 1966 when it was moved into the newly constructed Station 1 at 1051 Gravel Road.
The 70’s were a time of great expansion in the Fire District. In this decade the district purchased several new pieces of apparatus. Amongst these were several new pumpers, a new rescue/salvage truck, a new quint (ladder truck) and a boat. Also during this time period the Fire District continued to improve the stations that the firefighters responded out of. By 1978 the Fire District had grown to the point that it became necessary to build an addition onto Station 1. The addition would add about 3,000 square feet to the south end of the current station. In that space was a two bay garage, several offices and a meeting room. In 1979 Station 2 was due for a slight upgrade adding a generator as well as more storage space.
Realizing that there were areas in the district that we would have troubles accessing with a full sized pumper in 1981 the Fire District purchased Pumper 124. This pumper was a 1981 International/FMC 4-wheel drive vehicle which was designed specifically to access the smaller driveways along Lake Ontario and the Irondequoit Bay. December 1983 found the Fire District purchasing their first Chiefs vehicle. The vehicle of choice at the time was a 1984 Chevrolet Suburban which was outfitted with cabinets by one of our members.
The 90’s brought the realization to the Fire District that in the future there may be a need for a fire station in the southern portion of our district. Upon searching for available and adequate space it was determined that the best option was at the Elm Forks Property at the corners of Plank Road and State Road. Also in 1993 the Commission voted to add a second 5,000 square foot addition to the firehouse on Gravel Road. With this addition came a new Chiefs Office, a new small meeting room, a larger main meeting room, new bunk rooms and a new roof for the whole building. In 1994 the Fire District enacted the Length of Service Awards Program which benefitted fire and EMS providers who maintained a predetermined involvement in the fire department.
In December of 2000 our new station at the corner of Plank Road/State Road was finished and fire equipment was moved in. This station was named the “Elm Forks Station” at the recommendation of one of our members to remember the Elm Forks Hotel which previously occupied the land. 2000 also found West Webster purchasing a second boat to assist in responding to calls on the Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario. Both boats are kept on the water during summer months to assist responders in responding to emergencies faster.