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Lakewood VFD Celebrates 180 Years With Open

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In conjunction with celebrating its 180th anniversary, the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department will be holding an open house at the station Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.,

Chief Kurt Hallberg said at 1 p.m. there will be brief remarks with demonstrations to follow including a car extrication, a car fire, and truck rides. There will be educational stations including practice with fire extinguishers, hose line advancement and Emergency Medical Services. The station is located at 37 J.W. Packard Blvd.

“There will be a car demonstration which will involve the Hurst (Jaws of Life) tool, cutting the car apart like at an accident scene, and burning it (the car) in a controlled atmosphere,” Hallberg said.

According to the village website, lakewoodny.com, prior to the incorporation of the Village of Lakewood, there was a portion of the lake shore area known as Beachwood. In the interest of public safety, local volunteers formed the Beachwood Bucket Brigade. Today’s Lakewood Fire Volunteer Department grew from that strong tradition of neighbors committed to public service. It was James Ward Packard of the Packard Motor Car Company who, together with a group of fellow entrepreneurs, actually laid out the street plans and developed the village that became incorporated in 1893. At that point, “Beechwood” was dropped and the Lakewood Hose Company was formed. The hand drawn hose cart below was THE piece of fire apparatus and was stored under the front porch of the local Odd Fellows Hall. In 1915 when Packard donated a corner of one of his orchards and the $1,500 required to build a new state-of-the-art fire station for the newly formed Lakewood Hose Company. He also donated the 1915 Hallock Machine Company (Of Cleveland) Ford chemical fire truck which was the first motorized fire apparatus in Chautauqua County and is still the pride of the fleet. The VFD went from hand-drawn to motorized without the use of horses.

Hallberg has been chief for 13 years and has been with the department for about 28 years. He said because his father Richard Hallberg was a former Post-Journal photograher, Kurt grew up going to fire scenes with his father.

“He took me to everything,” Kurt said.

Kurt’s son, Alex, is also a firefighter with the Jamestown Fire Department. Kurt said he likes being involved as a chief and firefighter, and being able to help people who are experiencing problems.

Currently, Kurt said, the department is at 46 members, and could always use more people. To be a volunteer firefighter in Lakewood, Kurt said, a person has to fill out an application, go through a background check, and then get voted in to the department. Once voted in, the person has to take a basic fire course.

“Fortunately, in Lakewood, we have some long-term, life members that are still active. They realize that when the siren goes (off), it’s their job to respond, and they do it well,” Kurt said.

Source: The Post Journal

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