Thanks to a $2,400 appropriation in 1861 by the village fathers, New Rochelle's first fire company -- known as the Enterprise Hook and Ladder and Bucket Company No. 1 -- was organized. Half the money paid for a hook and ladder, $400 for other equipment, and $800 for a firehouse. Shortly after, another group of citizens began to organize an independent fire company known as Huguenot Company No. 1, which became the first company to get its apparatus ahead of Enterprise.

With this, the history of the New Rochelle Fire Department began, but the early days of fire fighting were not easy. Both companies had ladders, but no hoses. Neither had an engine to pump water. And, access to water was scarce.

The late 1800s saw many other volunteer fire companies form as well the introduction of a hand pumping fire engine formerly used by the New York City Fire Department. In effect, this was the dawn of the modern era of fighting fires.

Shortly after the turn of the century, $50,000 was appropriated to fully modernize the department and set in motion the transition from a volunteer force to a paid 1. The monies were used for new a fire headquarters and the hiring of the first 2 paid firemen to drive the new equipment.

The late '20s saw the last of the volunteer firemen and by 1929, there were 99 paid firemen in the department.

The '30s, '40s and '50s were marked by continued modernization, but just as importantly, the department focused on fire prevention and received national recognition for its efforts. In the midst of all this, the department had to reach back to the days of volunteers. With the outbreak of World War II, many of the men who served in the department went to fight, and many of the positions in the department were filled by an auxiliary force.

The '60s and '70s saw the creation of the Emergency Reporting System, the movement of the fire headquarters to City Hall, the replacement of all of the City's fire apparatus, and heavy emphasis on mobile inspections and fire prevention. The early '80s were marked by major steps in the emergency medical field with the introduction of EMT classes for firefighters and great improvement in the medical equipment on fire apparatus.

Today's Fire Department is a full service department, capable of handling fires, rescues, extrications, and hazardous material incidents. The department aggressively pursues fire prevention and code enforcement programs, and is responsible for plan reviews, underground tank installations, and control of all places of public assembly. The department also issues licenses and permits in an effort to control potentially hazardous or even dangerous situations.

Keeping buildings and other living areas in good, safe condition is a major responsibility of the department. By controlling illegal, dangerous occupancies and tenant overcrowding residents are kept safe.

The New Rochelle Fire Department is known as the premiere fire department in the area because of its wide range of services and its professionally trained staff. And, with 5 fire houses strategically stationed through out the City, when a fire breaks out, or if there's a medical emergency or disaster, help is only a short distance away.

See our history from 1861 to 1961: Red Shirt, Blue Shirt (NRFD 1861-1961)