About CVFD

Eighty-Nine Years of Volunteer Fire Protection and Service

CHARLTON NO. 1 1922 - 1997
The spark that created the need for the fire protection came from the fire that destroyed Mr. Daby's house (now Vernon Fobian). The violent wind carried burning embers through the village endangering the house of Henry Springer (now R. LeGere), and Mr. Henry Conde (now Ted Farrell). The wind was due east and did not endanger the houses south of the hamlet. The K. of P. Hall was not in danger as it had a slate roof. From the town records we learn that 116 land owners petitioned the Town Board to purchase two chemical fire engines in the year 1922. One to be housed in W. Charlton in Heckers barn and one to be housed at Henry Conde's garage in the Charlton Village.

Charlton Fire Department Mr. Harold Fobian as Master of the Charlton grange in 1922, circulated the petition to buy the fire engines. They were to be paid for by town taxes. At the same time Dr. A.M. Burt was circulating a similar petition that required a monetary donation. When the doctor realized the feasibility of Mr. Fobian's petition, he returned the money given to him by the signers of his petition. Each fire engine consisted of a 40 gallon water tank mounted on an axle and two wagons wheels. Baking soda was added to the water when filling the tank. Beside the tank was a lead container which contained sulfuric acid. This container was equipped with a loose fitting cover and when it was inverted by a lever, the acid and soda produced a chemical action which built up pressure within the tank and forced the water out of the tank hose under pressure.
When the chemical fire engines arrived Henry Conde donated the piece of ground that was situated to the rear of the present fire house. At the time he thought that it was in poor taste to have a garage close to the road. At the location he built a one car garage to house the fire engine. Fire calls were answered as far away as West Glenville. Mr. Fobian had a one ton cattle truck to transport the fire engine for calls outside the village.

Mr. Conde acted as Supervising Fire Chief until the company reorganized in 1927 and elected officers. After five years of protection by the chemical fire engine, the petitioners realized that it was inconvenient to transport.
In 1927 a Graham truck was purchased. Mr. Springer mounted two chemical tanks on the truck. The operation took more than a year to complete. As the years passed additional equipment was stored on the truck until it became over loaded. The older residents recall that they could walk faster than the over loaded truck when it started out in first gear. I recall that the truck clutch had its moments. If it was let out too quickly the front end would come off the ground.

The company records from 1930 to 1943 do not list the elected officers. As our knowledge has advanced over the years so too has the ability of the record keeping secretaries of the company. Today, we can be classed as a first class rural fire department with competent officers and men. Our success over the years can be contributed to the foresight of our capable fire commissioners.


Today, we can be classed as a first class rural fire department with competent officers and men. Our success over the years can be contributed to the foresight of our capable fire commissioners.

Excerpts from the Town Board Minutes

The following petition by 116 taxpayers of the town was presented to the board and placed on file, August 4, 1922.

Charlton August 4, 1922

To the Town Board:
We, the undersigned taxpayers, of the Town of Charlton appreciating the need of fire protection for our property are in favor of the Town purchasing two chemical fire engines of such capacity as is generally used in towns this size, and request that the Town Board take a favorable action on same at their first meeting. We also request that the Town Board designate the Village of Charlton and West Charlton as locations for the engines.

Motion made and duly seconded that the petition be placed on file.

Motion made and duly seconded that the town purchase two chemical fire engines from the O.J. Childs Co., Utica N.Y. at the price of $425.00 each F.O.B. Utica, less 2 percent for cash 10 days. Carried.
Motion made and duly seconded that the Supervisor and the Town Clerk be instructed to issue Certificates of Indebtedness for the purchase of said two fire engines in anticipation of taxes. Carried.

November 2, 1922

Motion made and duly seconded that the supervisor be empowered to purchase five charges and fifty feet of hose for each chemical fire engine. Carried.

December 30, 1922

Motion made and duly seconded, that the following roster of the Charlton Fire Co. be appointed as members of said company.

John A. Sanders
Joseph Zacker
William H. Marvin
Arthur C. Riley
Harold Foblan
Henry G. Miller
Thomas Noonan
George Briggs
Roy Buhrmaster
Herbert C. Ketchum
Lloyd Van Heusen

R. H. Claxon
Walter Bothamley
Harold S. Murray
Fred E. Myers
George Van Vorst
Harold Plummer
Russell C. Conde
Eugene C. Murray
W.S. Miller
Carey Decker
Benjamin T.D. Pashley

Charlton Fire Department #1

Founded: August 4, 1922

First Fire Chief: Henry Condee

First Fire Apparatus: 2 Childs Chemical Fire Engines

First Motorized Apparatus: 1927 Graham Truck, on display at the fire house

Apparatus (June 2002):

SOLD - 1964 Mack, 750 gpm pump, 1600 gallon tanker

SOLD - 1975 Mack, 750 gpm pumper

1988 Mack, 1500 gpm pump, 1500 gallon tanker (ETA-181)

2000 HME (Rescue)(R-184) 2001 HME (ETA-182) 2002 Ford F-350 (EMS response truck)(U-183)

2002 Chevy Blazer (Chief) (Car-18)

Today (August 4, 2011): Charlton Fire Department #1 can be classed as a first class rural fire department with 30+ members, and a Board of Fire Commissioners with 5 members.