Campbell Hall Fire Department
Orange County, NY

History Of The Campbell Hall Fire Department:

The Otterkill Engine Company was organized November 4, 1914.  From the original minutes of the occasion it is recorded that "about sixty men, residents of the village of Campbell Hall, gathered in the Town Hall at Campbell Hall for the purpose of organizing a fire company."

John L.  Stillman was chosen chairman of the meeting and Elmer F. Markey, Clerk.  No record has since been discovered of whom these sixty men were, but the election of some of them as officers establishes the identity of a few.  These members were:

Edward B. Kuhl-President
Carl P. Cross-Vice President
Elmer F. Markey-Secretary
Albert R. Gurnee-Treasurer
Cornelius Martinson-Chief
Elliott Mc Clung-Foreman
John A. Bedell-First Assistant Foreman
Lester Tremper-Second Assistant Foreman
George B. Alexander-Trustee
George W. Crist-Trustee
William Gurnee-Trustee
Charles O. Campp-Fire Police
Cornelius Weaver-Fire Police

It would not be historically accurate if due credit was not given to Albert R. Gurnee also affectionately know as "Pop", who was the chief instrumental in organizing the company and through whose untiring efforts a sufficient sum of money was subscribed with which the original fire apparatus was purchased.

There is a list in a book of transcriptions of the original minutes of the meetings of the company containing the names of a considerable number of townsfolk and others who subscribed a total of $330.00 toward the purchase of the original fire apparatus which consisted of a two-wheeled, hand-propelled cart equipped with a chemical tank, hose, axe, bar, and a coil of rope with which the men towed the mechanism.  There is another list under a date of September 6, 1916 wherein a smaller group is credited with having contributed a sum of $300.00 toward the purchase of a motor driven apparatus which was delivered in 1916 by he American-LaFrance Company.  This equipment consisted of two chemical tanks mounted upon a Ford Model-T chassis and is still in the possession of the company.  In 1931 the Fire District purchased what is know as a "Triple-Combination", comprising a motor driven pump of high capacity and a hose body and ladder rack.  This was a Sanford pumper.  At that time, the Ford chemical truck was retired and while it has since become obsolete it is occasionally driven in parades.  In 1954 the Sanford pumper was traded in for a Ford-LaFrance which is at present in use.  In 1960 the District purchased a Ford H. & H. tank truck with a capacity of 1500 gallons.

The Ford apparatus and the original firehouse together with all of the other equipment of the company were acquired by the newly established fires district in 1918.  Charles H. Cornell, Sanford P. Watkins and Harold Benedict were elected Fire Commissioners.

It was through the efforts of Harold Benedict who was treasurer of the company from 1916-1920 that the Fire District of the Town of Hamptonburgh was established and the department organized under Supervisor Henry V. Clark.

The company has responded to 700 general alarms between December 7, 1916 and April 1, 1969.

Since its foundation 249 men have been elected to membership and at the end of 1968 there were 65 members on the active roll.  There were fifty-six charter members.

Eleven of the charter members were in the Armed services during the First World War and forty-three active members served in World War II.  Other active members have served in Korea and Vietnam.