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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

Last week, County Executive Ed Mangano declared amnesty for all speed camera tickets issued this summer.

Drivers across Nassau County were up in arms due to the recent implementation of the school zone cameras, which had issued numerous violations since they were installed just weeks ago. The source of residents anger with the county’s speed cameras stems from lack of  warning and the cameras issuing speed violations even when school wasn’t in session.

The 7th annual Parish of the Holy Family Festival went off without a hitch and lit up the night sky on Fordham Avenue in Hicksville last week. Thousands of community members came and joined in the festivities.  

This year’s theme was the 1964-1965 World’s Fair that took place in Queens. Volunteer coordinator and 28-year member of the congregation Mary White said “We are having this festival to raise money and to offset the expenditures of the school and the church. Last year we had a record breaking 10,000 people attend and while all the numbers are not in yet, we are doing very well this time around too. The turnout has been great because the weather has been so cooperative.”


Sports

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its fourth tournament on Thursday Aug. 7. We had 33 golfers and a record 8 who scored under 40. Low overall score was won by newcomer Ed Hyne with an impressive 33, his second low net in a row. Charlie Acerra scored a solid 35, and won low overall net with a 26; his best score in 4 years.

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 % 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. The league meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m., but the formal tournament dates are only the first and third Thursday of the month through late October. We will have a final luncheon with prizes on our last meeting.

The fields of Kevin Kolm Memorial Park were filled with nearly 200 soccer players on Saturday for the annual ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event. The event was put together by the Mastermind Unit in sponsor of the Michael Magro Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting pediatric patients with cancer and their families.

“The Mastermind Unit is a non-profit organization that was founded by a group of guys who grew up playing soccer together in Hicksville,” said co-founder Bryan Alcantara. “This is our seventh annual  ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event at Memorial Park.”


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



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
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