"No flames, just snow and water. Engine Company No. 4 of the New York World's Fair Fire Department holsd a hose drill in the theme Center after the first heavy snowfall since the big exposition was opened. The boys get their apperatus out regularly to see that all is in prober working condition. The are looking forward to May 11, 1940 ... the reopenng date ... because they are kind of lonely. ... LAP 12-30-39"
Gary Urbanowicz, a New York City Fire Department Historian has sent in some photos of both Fire Trucks and the Ambulance that were assigned to the New York World's Fair.
Gary Pinkham, president of the Connecticut Firemen's Historical Society has given permission to use the image of the badge from the Society's collection.
Initially, the New York World's Fair Corporation planned to establish its own fire department at the fairgrounds in Flushing Meadow Park. They hired Thomas F. Dougherty to lead this department. Dougherty, a member of the FDNY from 1888 through 1932, was a former Assistant Chief, a Bennett Medal Winner, and the namesake of an FDNY valor medal. The Corporation purchased five pumpers from the Ahrens-Fox company. At some point, the New York World's Fair Corporation decided not to man the equipment with its own firefighters. In September 1938, the FDNY 55th Battalion was formed and stationed at the Fair to man the apparatus. It included three Battalion Chiefs, fourteen company officers, and seventy firemen manning one double and two single engine companies. In addition, sixty-five "Fire Guards" were organized under the direction of Chief Dougherty.
The Fire Guard was a private force of retired FDNY members hired by the New York World's Fair Corporation. They operated in a fire prevention capacity, inspecting buildings and patrolling the grounds during the hours that the Fair was open to the public. The Battalion and the Fire Guard were disbanded in 1940 shortly after the close of the Fair. The apparatus was given to the FDNY.
For the only time in FDNY history, the emblem of a private entity was affixed to the uniform of firefighters. Men assigned to the companies stationed at the World's Fair worn the distinctive Trylon and Perisphere on the left arm of their dress blues. FDNY Commissioner McElligott opposed this embellishment but at some point he relented.
Record of The 55th Battalion
Thanks again to Gary Urbanowicz his contribution. Click here to read the article on "Record of the 55th Battalion".
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