The Ellwood Volunteer Fire Company is 100% volunteer with no paid members. It protects what is known as the Ellwood Fire District No. 1. This area has also been known as North Bush and until 1912 was known as the Burlington District.
An incident which emphasizes the need for fire protection has been related by Edward Schaefer, an Ellwood Charter Member. During a fire at the Kenilworth Racetrack, which was located at Hawthorne, Kenilworth and University Avenues, barrels of water were hauled to the scene by a wagon and horses owned by the Zuege family of Englewood Ave. in the Ellwood Fire District. This was an early form of mutual aid which was a common thing with present-day fire companies.
In 1918 approximately thirty-one families occupied the area that now comprises the Ellwood Fire District. About that time some of the residents were approached by several real estate men regarding a decrease in fire insurance premiums. The only way to bring this about was to have local fire protection. A committee of three men attended a Tonawanda Town Board meeting and met with the Town attorney and Town Engineer regarding the location of a firehall. In 1921 the Ellwood Fire Company was formed consisting of 21 members.
In 1922 a charter was obtained and the Board of Fire Commissioners unanimously decided to purchase land at 1000 Englewood for the location of the firehall. The firehall was completed on March 1, 1924 and consisted of a two-story building to be used for the housing of apparatus and meeting rooms.
On February 1, 1924 a chemical truck was purchased from Buffalo Fire Appliance Corporation. The price was $3,250. In case of fire, the volunteers were summoned to the firehall by the sound of a rim from a locomotive being hit by a sledge hammer. This huge rim was set on a tripod in front of the hall and was used until money became available for the purchase of a siren.
At one point in the construction of the first firehall, the money allotted was depleted. In order to secure an extra five thousand dollars, each Fire Commissioner took out a one thousand dollar mortgage on his home. These dedicated men were the true pioneers of the Ellwood Fire District.
After the hall was finally completed, the Ellwood Improvement Association was formed. Through the efforts of this organization, water lines were laid and telephone service was obtained.
The original firehall served the community for many years but eventually it was condemned by State inspectors as being unsafe. It was replaced by a new and beautiful hall which was dedicated in 1968.
The men who had the foresight and initiative to start the Ellwood Volunteer Fire Company in the 1920's were Edward Bauman, H. Vernon Werner, William Henel, Arthur Doell, John Deering, Fred Zuege, Clarence Hirschbeck, T. Whitney Belcher, George Conover, Patrick Darragh, William Gilchrist, Burt Heath, Merle Heath, Albert Kagelmacher, John Mueller, Charles Rogers, Edward Schaefer, Richard Smith, Charles Zuege, Emil Zuege and Wilhelm Zuege.
The current members of Ellwood have created a memorial dedicated to the firefighters who went before them. The memorial monument lists all of the deceased members of Ellwood who served to protect the community since 1921. Click on this picture to see the memorial enlarged.
Interesting Web Site about Ellwood's History
Check out this interesting article by Robert Jumper who describes the Ellwood area during the 1930s.