The Armonk Fire Department was organized in April, 1930, founded by three men: William Taylor, Harry Williams, and Harry Jackson. These three men, returning from a day of clamming in Cos Cob, Connecticut, stopped to assist the Greenwich, Ct. Fire Department extinguish a grass fire. Each man was issued a broom to help put out the fire. After the fire burned out on the Connecticut side , it traveled over to New York after which the Greenwich Company went home leaving three men with the brooms to finish the job. On their way home from the fire, they began discussing the need for a fire department in Armonk.
The men had several private meetings before making a final decision to go ahead with their idea. After enlisting the support of several other men of the town who they felt might be interested, they decided there was enough enthusiasm, support and need for an Armonk Fire Department. Prior to this time the only fire protection for the Armonk area had to be summoned from Mt. Kisco. Coming this distance took valuable time which in many cases could not be afforded.
Meetings for the purpose of obtaining a charter from the State of New York were held in the rear of Harry William’s auto repair shop on Main Street on the site now occupied by the Flower Basket and Village Coffee Shop. After obtaining legal counsel and the required number of signatures, a petition was forwarded to the State of New York and a charter granted.
The first truck (affectionately nicknamed Leapin’Lena) was a Locomobile chemical truck purchased from the Bedford Hills Fire Department for $200. Having no funds as yet in their treasury, the truck was paid for with a personal check from Harry Williams and was housed in his garage. For a fire alarm, they retrieved a railroad locomotive iron tire from the Bronx River. This was suspended from a wooden structure alongside the garage and struck with a sledge hammer to alert the members of any emergencies. This locomotive tire was donated to the scrap drive for the war effort in 1942 and was later replaced.
The badge of a firefighter is the Maltese cross. The Maltese cross is a symbol of protection, a badge of honor, and its story is hundreds of years old. When a courageous band of crusaders, known as the Knights of St. John, fought the Saracens for possession of the Holy Land, They were faced with a new weapon unknown to European fighters. It was a simple but horrible device of war. The Saracen’s weapon was fire.As the crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were bombarded with glass bombs containing naphtha. When they were saturated with the liquid, the Saracens threw flaming torches into the crusaders. Hundreds of knights were burned alive while others risked their lives in an effort to save their kinsmen from painful fiery deaths. Thus these men became the first firemen, and the first of a long line of firefighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each other with a badge of honor similar to the cross firefighters wear today.Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, the cross came to be known as the Maltese cross. The Maltese cross is your symbol of protection. It means that the firefighter that wears this cross is willing to lay down his life for you, just as the crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so many years ago. The Maltese Cross is a firefighters badge of honor signifying that he works in courage – a ladder rung away from death.(Used from Pride & Ownership by Rick Lasky)