Prior to the formation of the Islip Fire Brigade, in 1881, the residents and merchants of Islip had no organized protection from the devastation of fire. Equipment, such as pails of water or sand, and brooms were placed in a designated area of the home to be used in case of fire. In the event of a structural fire, all able-bodied men, women and children were pressed into service. Neighbors and passerby were even asked to lend a hand in passing the buckets in the "Bucket Brigade." More often than not, their gallant efforts only succeeded in saving the adjoining buildings.
Islip Fire Headquarters, Monell Ave. Islip Circa 1912
In 1881, a group of civic-minded citizens recognized the need to form a Fire Brigade. A citizens meeting was called at the Town Hall on December 11, 1879 to consider organizing a company that would provide fire protection. By May 4 1880, by-laws were drawn up, funds were raised and a vote passed to form the Islip Fire Brigade. Early members of the brigade included well known Islip family names such as Clock, Doxsee, Vail, Allen, Wheeler and Smith. By mid 1880 the Islip Fire Brigade had thirty-seven members, and a Hook and Ladder had been purchased and a new building was under construction on Monell Avenue. John Vail was named as the first Foreman of the Islip Fire Brigade in 1881.
Engine Co. No. 2 Leslie Howell at the Controls
In 1885, a special meeting was called for the reorganization of the Islip Fire Brigade and Protector Engine Company No.1 and Alert Hose Company No. 1 were created. On April 3, 1888, the Fire Brigade, Engine and Hose Companies were organized as the Islip Fire Department.
Islip's Firemen Circa 1893
During the late 1800's and early 1900's the Department responded to many alarms including the Main Street fire of 1905 which destroyed 17 businesses and five occupied apartments.
The Islip Fire Department has continued to grow through the years and its newest company joined the ranks in 1924 with the formation of the Fire Patrol Company. The Emergency-Rescue Squad was added in 1941 and in 1971 a sub-station was built on Commack Road in the north end of town. The most recent change to the organizational structure occurred in 1998 with the formation of the Tactical Rescue Team.
Original Roll Call, Islip Fire Brigade May 11th, 1880
Today the Islip Fire Department includes four companies which comprise: two Engine Companies, a Hook & Ladder Company and a Fire Police Company. From these ranks we also support a Rescue Squad, which provides the highest level of emergency advanced life support and a Tactical Rescue Team that is prepared to answer difficult and complex emergencies such as high angle and confined space emergencies, trench collapse, water rescue, biological, chemical and other hazardous material incidents. The apparatus is assigned to two fire houses including Headquarters, which is located just south of Main Street on Monell Avenue and Station No. 2 which is located on the north side of town on Commack Road. Headquarters houses two Class A Pumpers, a City Service Ladder Truck, a Fire Police utility truck, an ambulance, the Heavy Rescue truck and numerous support vehicles. Two additional Class A Pumpers, the 75-foot tower ladder, an ambulance and the Fire Police Truck are located in Station No. 2. In addition to the emergency apparatus the department’s Fire Prevention Bureau uses a state-of-the-art training trailer to as an effective tool to educate our children about the importance of fire safety. The trailer, which is located at Headquarters, is used to simulate areas of the home.
In addition to their community activities our members field a softball team, which claimed the Islip Town Championship in 2006. Our members also make up the Islip Wolves Drill Team, which was crowned New York State Champions in 2005.