History of the Rock Hill Volunteer Fire Department
1956 to the present
Over 50 years of service to the community…
The Rock HIll Volunteer Fire Department was started in 1956 when three community-minded men – John Behrens, Bill Bensinger and Dick Benson – saw the need to establish a fire department in the Rock Hill community. A few weeks later, they were joined by Richard Bailey and Rudy Finke.
On July 28, 1956, the first official meeting of the Department took place in the basement of the Methodist Church. At that meeting, Dick Benson was named President, John Behrens was named Vice-President, Richard Bailey was named Secretary, adn William Foss was named Treasurer. Gilbert Foss was named the Chief and Ed Case as Assistant Chief.
The Ladies Auxilliary was started about the same time with Mrs. Mary Bailey as President, Mrs. Luella Benson as Vice President, Mrs. Evelyn Barton as Secretary, and Mrs. Marge Finke as Treasurer.
On June 12, 1957, the first fire truck was purchased from Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey Fire Department. The truck was a 1934 Seagraves 500 GPM which cost $300. In October of 1957, the present firehouse property was purchased for $2,500 and a brand new 32' x 52' firehouse was constructed by the members at a cost of $13,000.
On January 28, 1958, the late Assemblyman Hyman E. Mintz introduced a bill in the State Legislature to create the Rock Hill Fire District. The Bill passed the legislature on March 12, 1958 and was signed into law by Governor Harriman on April 18, 1958.
The first public meeting of the newly formed Rock Hill Fire District took place on Tuesday, December 2, 1958, when the first Board of Fire Commissioners was elected. The new board electees were David Jaffee, Vincent Dollard, Arnold Sheeley, Andrew Gordon, and Martin Gottlieb. John Behrens was named the Secretary and Treasurer.
The Rock Hill Volunteer Fire Department answered its first alarm on July 1, 1959.
At the present time, the Department has 40 active members, 17 active life members, 29 auxilliary members, and 11 inactive life members. The Department responds to hundreds of calls each year. (For statistical records, please click here)
The Rock Hill Volunteer Fire Department maintains a fleet of apparatus to aid in fire fighting and life-saving tasks. To see photos of the apparatus, go to PHOTOS.
The Department is an active participant in the community and is a proud supporter of the local Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Little League.