The East Hampton Fire Department was formed in the latter half of the 19th Century by a group of local businessmen who recognized the need for organized fire protection.
Charles Everest, a local carpenter who specialized in wagon building and cabinetry, created the first piece of fire apparatus around 1880. It was a four-wheel hand-drawn wagon equipped with ladders, axes and a number of leather buckets. The design was copied from an apparatus made by the Peter Pirch and Sons Company of Kenosha, Wisconsin - the most noted builders of high quality fire apparatus at the time. At its completion, it was housed in a barn behind the Odd Fellows Hall on Newtown Lane.
In 1886, town meetings resolved that each household was to donate $5 for the purpose of supporting a Fire Department, and a committee was appointed to oversee the purchase of additional fire equipment. By 1890 a series of by-laws had been drafted and 28 charter members had formed the Village’s first Fire Company, Volunteer Hook & Ladder Company No. 1. In September of that year the nascent department held its first annual Ball at Clinton Hall on Main Street. Over 150 people attended and it was deemed both a social and financial success.
On April 26, 1891 Company 1 saw its first major fire. It began in the woods near Sag Harbor and burned its way to Toilsome Lane in East Hampton. Smoke and ash reached as far as Buell and Newtown Lanes. The members of Company 1 fought and saved Dayton’s barn at Hardscrabble and W.E. Wheelock’s house.
In the last years of the 19th Century, the need for additional fire companies and the establishment of an official fire district were recognized. At the turn of the Century, with the formation of the Maidstone Fire District and Chemical Co. 2, Hose Co. 3 and Engine Co. 4, the East Hampton Fire Department came of age.
With the purchase of its first mechanical fire truck (1900), the construction of the first Fire House on Newtown Lane (1917) and the incorporation of the Village of East Hampton (1921), the foundation of today’s 145 member volunteer department had been firmly established.