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Fire Department’s History Detailed

It was an interesting meeting of the Hicksville Historical Society on Wednesday, May 29, as Hicksville Fire Department’s Ex-Chief Owen Magee discussed the department’s 100-plus year history. Magee, a 57-year member of the department, gave a talk describing the history, establishment and operations.

“Pretty much my whole family has been involved with the Hicksville Fire Department,” said Magee who joined the ranks in 1957. “My father, brother, brother-in-law and my son who is now a federal firefighter at West Point has all held rank in the department at one time or another.”

The Hicksville Fire Department is a total volunteer group that was organized in 1868 with one fire company and later became a department in 1893. It has been served by 59 past chief officers and is made up of 298 men and women from the local community.

The department’s inception began in 1893 after a joint meeting was held to incorporate three existing fire companies, Protection Hook & Ladder 1, Independent Engine & Hose 2 and Citizens Engine 3. The purpose of the meeting was also to elect a fire chief to oversee affairs of the fires. That man was Arnold G. Heitz, who was elected the first chief of the Hicksville Fire Department. He received 32 of 51 votes cast and Harry Nichols was elected Heitz’s assistant chief.

It didn’t take long for the department to battle their first blaze. Three days after Heitz was elected, on Feb. 18 at 11:40 a.m, a cry went out at MA Lauck’s building on Broadway and seven wells were emptied before the fire was put out.

As the Town of Hicksville continued to expand so did the need for another fire company. On Jan. 8, 1904, 19 men formed Volunteer Hose Company Four. In November of that year, the Hicksville Fire District put forth a vote to the community for a proposition to appropriate $6,000 for the building of a firehouse on Mary St.

The vote was 60 in favor and 42 against. A special ceremony was held in the towns hamlet with many prominent citizens attending as the cornerstone of the new firehouse was laid. The firehouse opened with a celebration on May 30,1906 bringing the four fire companies into one house.

“The original firehouse still stands today across from the present headquarters,” said Magee. “It stands on the same location as Peppercorns Restaurant.”

The first fire of any magnitude hit Hicksville in 1937, causing over $150,000 in damage. It destroyed a whole row of stores on Broadway.

Other memorable fires included the Capstone Paper Company fire in 1963 that caused $250,000 worth of damage, the Mid Island Shopping Plaza fire in 1972 that caused $250,000 worth of damage and most recently the 1985 fire at Agway on West John Street that caused $500,000 worth of damage. Chief Magee used five mutual aid departments in that blaze which injured 12 firefighters.

“This was a very interesting historical account about our Hicksville Fire Department,” said Historical Society President Michael Christodoulou. “It is a great thing to know the history of every facet of our wonderful town.”

News

There’s a lot you can do in 99 minutes. You could cook dinner, play a non-stop soccer game, watch a romantic comedy or hang out with Odysseus, Achilles and Hercules. If you chose the last option, Hicksville High School’s upcoming theatre production of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less  is the place for you.

The mouthful of a title says it all. The cast will take on over 80 characters as they speed through all of Greek mythology, including popular tales such as The Iliad and The Odyssey, in a little over an hour and a half.

Due to what appears to be a colossal error on the part of the Nassau County Assessor’s office, or perhaps an errant interpretation of state law, more than 600 military veterans and Gold Star families in Hicksville will have to wait for their tax break until next year.

Hicksville is one of several local school districts that recently approved resolutions extending the exemption to local veterans, even though budgets and Albany’s tax cap make it a tough choice. On Feb. 26, with a contingency of veterans in the audience, the board voted to provide a school tax exemption for veterans living in the district, starting with the 2014-15 school year.


Sports

Vito Sciascia was recently named Hicksville Soccer Club’s Volunteer of the Year at the 2014 Long Island Junior Soccer League 2014 Kick-off Convention.

Sciascia started coaching travel soccer in 1998 for a boys team, the Flash, who later changed their names to the Muddogs. He could always be found at various sporting fields trying to recruit new soccer players. He would make each of these boys feel important and there was always room for another player. He tried to never turn a child away and when other coaches were having trouble with a boy he would take them on his team, no one was ever too much for him. Sciascia found the good in all those boys and they in return respected him. He took them to many tournaments and solicited enough sponsorship so that it was never a financial burden on their families.

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its first tournament on Thursday April 4. Twenty golfers came out on on a crisp but sunny morning. Charlie Hong was the only man to score under a 40, with a 38 and won for low overall score. Jim O’ Brien  scored a 41, and won low overall net in a tie-breaker with Mike Guerriero.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 percent handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season.


Calendar

American Legion Meeting

April 21

HS Theater in the Round

April 24-26

Science Fair

April 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com