It wasn’t until September 5, 1950, when the Aetna Hose Company sent a letter to the village board requesting the purchase of a new fire truck for the company. This request was referred to the entire board for further study. In early December, a similar request was presented to the village board and this time the request was referred to the fire and water committee for study.
Finally on February 24, 1951, as a village election was fast approaching, Trustees Casimer Pawlicki and Harry Shone sponsored a resolution to have the village clerk advertise for bids on a truck chassis and for a new concept in firefighting to be mounted on the chassis. The new concept was a high-pressure pump, which had been developed after the war based on a concept introduced by the U.S. Navy.
Bids were received and opened on March 16, 1951. The truck was bid in two parts. Brownie’s Garage and Service Station submitted the first bid of $2,984.93 for a two ton Standard make 1951 G.M.C. Model two wheel drive motor truck chassis for fire engine purposes.
The second bid was for fire apparatus and equipment to be mounted on the above chassis. John Bean Division of Lansing, Michigan submitted a bid in the amount of $8,474, and the General Fire Truck Company of Detroit, Michigan submitted a second bid in the amount of $9,577.59. The bids were tabled for review by the village board and the fire chief.
After a study of the bids received, the village board awarded the bid for the chassis to Brownie’s Garage and Service Station for (1) two and one half ton G.M.C. Model HCV 453 chassis to be purchased and delivered to the John Bean Division, Lansing, Michigan at the expense of the Village of Depew.
The second part of the bid was awarded to the John Bean Division for a 500 G.P.M. front mounted High Pressure pump to be mounted on the chassis supplied by the Village of Depew per the conditions as set forth in the specifications.
On August 20, 1951, Fire Chief Norman Kirchofer reported to the village board that the new Aetna truck was nearing completion and would be ready for delivery to the Village of Depew. At a special meeting of the village board on August 31, 1951, the following members of the Aetna Hose Company namely, Chief Norman Kirchofer, John F. Bauer, Roy Capers, and Theodore Stein were granted permission to travel to the John Bean factory in Lansing, Michigan for the purpose of taking a train the trainer course in the operation of the new High-Pressure Pump. Upon completion of the training, they were to return to the Village of Depew with the new truck and train the company members in the use of the new pump.
After the new truck was put into service, the village board held a public auction on November 19th in order to sell the 1928 Seagrave pumper now taken out of service. One bid in the amount of $400 was received from Lewiston Fire Company # 2, Incorporated of Lewiston, New York. The village board accepted the bid as is with no guarantee offered as to the condition or operation of the truck.
Twelve years later in October 1963, James Saia, a member of the Hutchison Hose Company of Williamsville, New York, purchased the 1928 Seagrave pumper from the Lewiston Fire Company, which had de-commissioned the engine on October 1, 1963.
The truck was purchased for Mr. Saia’s personal collection and after thirty-five years of service had only four thousand road miles showing. The truck was considered a rarity in that it was chain-driven, right-hand drive with cast iron wheels, brass fittings, and a hand-cranked engine, which was fired up by a triple spark plug system. The cost of the engine when purchased by Mr. Saia was $450.
In his budget request in 1956, Fire Chief Edward Tetnowski, a member of the Hook and Ladder Company, asked the village board for the approval to purchase an aerial ladder truck for the Hook and Ladder Company and a new pumping engine for Hose Company Number One. The request for a new ladder truck was deferred by the village board, as there was a desperate need to update the pumping capacity of the fire department.
On August 20, 1956, a communication was sent to the village board from Hose Company Number One, requesting the purchase of a new fire truck for the company. The request was referred to the committee of the whole. The company was then authorized to form a truck committee to put together a set of specifications for a new engine.
In mid-January 1957, the village board was invited to meet with the Number One’s truck committee for a demonstration and inspection of equipment at the Young Fire Equipment Corporation.
By early March 1957, Fire Chief Carl Branden, a member of Hose Company One, reported to the village board that a set of specifications had been prepared and requested the fire and water committee to meet at the Number One’s fire station on March 10th. The meeting yielded no positive results so on May 6, 1957, a delegation of members of Hose Company Number One appeared before the village board, stressing the urgent need to replace the existing 1938 G.M.C. engine.
The arguments presented by the committee must have convinced the village fathers for the need to purchase a new engine. On May 20, 1957, Trustees Edward Wojtkowiak and Henry Wienckowski sponsored a resolution to authorize the necessary bond resolution for purchase of a 750 G.P.M. pumping engine, to be used by the Hose Company Number One of the Depew Fire Department, the cost of which is not to exceed $20,000. At the next meeting, Fire Chief Carl Branden presented the completed set of specifications for a new fire truck, which were accepted by the village board.
On June 24th, the village clerk was directed to advertise in the official newspaper for sealed proposals to be received and opened on July 15, 1957, for (1) new automotive fire apparatus to be used by Hose Company Number One of the Depew Fire Department.
The bid of $19,926.54 by the Ward LaFrance Fire Department Sales Company, Incorporated, to furnish (1) Ward LaFrance Model No. 183-T, 750 G.P.M. Triple Combination Pumper, be accepted as this truck comes closest to meeting the specifications as outlined in the bid. On September 3rd, Mayor John Domino was authorized to sign the contract to furnish the Ward LaFrance Fire Engine.
Also in September, Chief Branden prepared specifications for optional equipment to complement the new truck ordered from Ward LaFrance. On December 16th, an additional bid of $1,183.20 was awarded to Fire Equipment Sales for additional tools, equipment and hose to be mounted on the Number One’s truck at the Ward LaFrance factory in Elmira Heights, New York.
On February 28, 1958, Ward LaFrance delivered the new engine to the Village of Depew and was accepted on March 3rd, pending the running of the three-hour Acceptance Test conducted for the New York Fire Insurance Rating Organization. Village officials and fire department officials witnessed the test at the Symington-Gould Plant by drafting from the plant’s cooling pond. During the test, the engine and pump delivered 1000 G.P.M., far above it’s rated capacity of 750 G.P.M.
On February 14, 1958, Hook and Ladder Company President John Meister appointed a truck committee headed by Ted Oleksy for the purpose of purchasing a new ladder truck. The other members appointed to the truck committee were; Matt Kocialski, Albin Slagor, Past Chief Edward Tetnowski, Edward Polniaszek, Frank Tetnowski, Richard Dombrowski, Past Chief John Meister and Chief John Forys. The village board at this time, while in sympathy with the committee’s plea for a new ladder truck, felt that they were not in a position to purchase one at the time.
It should be noted here that, Mayor John Domino and the village board were in the process of negotiating with the J.W. Clement Company to relocate their printing plant operations from the City of Buffalo to a site on George Urban Boulevard and the decision to purchase a new aerial ladder truck was dependant on the village board’s success in attracting the new manufacturing facility to build in Depew.