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Posted on: June 29, 2023

NRFD Celebrates Station 2 Centennial with Ceremony, Block Party

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The New Rochelle Fire Department welcomed the community to celebrate the milestone centennial Anniversary of Fire Station 2 at 170 Webster Avenue on Sunday, June 25. The event featured remarks by Fire Chief & Commissioner Andy Sandor, Station 2 Captain Thomas Moriarty, and former Fire Commissioner Raymond “Doc” Kiernan, sharing their experiences and paying tribute to the dedicated members of this firehouse that have served the community throughout the decades. Following the ceremony, hundreds of neighbors enjoyed a block party with station tours, equipment demos, live rescue simulations, music, food, and more.  

Fire Chief Andy Sandor noted, “Just about 100 years ago, New Rochelle was experiencing tremendous development and expansion, and a new Station 2 firehouse was part of the City’s fire protection upgrade during that time.  Just as their fellow firefighters did back then, today’s Station 2 members are proudly serving not only the West End but all of New Rochelle, as well as our neighboring communities through mutual aid.  Long live ‘The Rock’!”   

“This celebration pays tribute to those firefighters who served this community and the City of New Rochelle for 100 years with courage, honor and pride. It reflects on their dedication to service and looks to the future with the next generation of firefighters to serve and protect our residents,” said Station 2 Captain Thomas Moriarty.   

“Our Fire Department is known for its skill, service and professionalism, and the members of Station 2 are appreciated and respected within and beyond the local neighborhood they serve. We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone anniversary,” said City Manager Kathleen Gill. 

District 1 Councilmember Martha Lopez said, “It is an honor to celebrate this very special anniversary with Station 2. The “Rock” has been a staple in our community and we are so grateful for their care for us in the surrounding neighborhoods and their professional service to the whole City.”  

In 2018-19, Fire Station 2 was rededicated after receiving a major $1.9 million reconstruction that included a new roof and brick face siding, a widened bay door, new basement slab and footings, updated stairwells, new heating, ventilation and electrical systems and a renovation of kitchen and living quarters.  

History from Station 2 

For 100 years, the firehouse located at 170 Webster Avenue has been serving the City of New Rochelle 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Construction of Station No. 2, informally known as “The Rock”, would be completed in 1923 by local master builders M. Barnett & Sons with designs by famed architect Frederick Winter using the “Mission Revival” style, which was popular in early 1900’s architecture. 

Station No. 2 sits on an important site which was formerly the hub of “Dutch Hill” where the New Rochelle Brewery, Brewery Hotel and Brewery Park thrived during the mid to late 1800’s. The brewery, owned by George Schaefer, began here in 1853, employing immigrants who had fled Germany following the 1848 uprising. It was the 8th largest brewery in the state, but would close its doors in the 1890’s when the springs that fed the brewery dried up.  

With a surge in New Rochelle’s population around the time of World War 1, a demand for more public services was created. Station No. 2 would replace the original Union Engine Company founded in 1901 only a few blocks away on the corner of Union Avenue & 2nd Street and which still stands today. Our growing city would undergo many changes, and so would the fire department that served it. During this time, New Rochelle’s first paid Fire Chief, James Ross approached the then Board of Trade, seeking funding to bring the fire department into the modern era and Station No. 2 would benefit from the $50,000 that was appropriated unanimously by the board.   

Originally, Station No.2 was adorned with two arched openings that were trimmed with limestone. These were replaced with a larger single door during renovations that took place between 2018-2019. Attention to detail is evident in the building, from the ornately carved keystones, to the belt course of limestone emblazoned with Engine No. 5 and Truck No. 2, to the barrel copper overhang which protects a copper façade, stamped with its year of completion, 1923. The Rock sits atop one of the higher points of the City’s West End, proving to be a challenge for the heavy, horse-drawn pumper wagons that were used by the Union Engine Company. This would ultimately lead to Station No. 2 becoming New Rochelle’s first firehouse specifically designed to quarter motorized apparatus. Currently, the apparatus quartered here are known as Engine Co. 22, Ladder Co. 12 and SSU-2 (a specialized HAZ-MAT response team). Engine Co. 22 and Ladder Co.12 are also the City’s primary mutual aid companies, responding to fires and other emergency incidents in neighboring communities.  

Lovingly referred to as “The Rock”, Station No. 2 gets its name from a combination of its geographical location at the top of the west, a lack of grass, and as some past members would say, it had certain similarities to the penitentiary Alcatraz, which was known as The Rock. Station No. 2 continues to be a beacon of pride in the New Rochelle Fire Department from gleaming polished brass, photographs of fires, citations for meritorious acts and especially their company emblem- all signs of how the firefighters assigned to Station No. 2 take great pride in this house which is steeped in tradition. It has been noted that both Engine Co. 22 and Ladder Co. 12 are renowned for their high level of professionalism, skill and bravery not only while serving New Rochelle, but also while aiding our neighboring communities.

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