History

In 1886, the Village of Alfred did not have a fire department. The traditional bucket brigade common to that era was the only response Alfred could muster when a fire destroyed the Alfred Hotel on Main Street. The complete devastation of this hotel resulted in a group of local men forming Alfred's first fire company in 1887. This company was eventually named the A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Company in honor of Almond E. Crandall. Crandall was a local businessman who gave strong financial support to the company in those early years. He himself was not a firefighter. Milo Greene acted as the first chief of the Audemars Piguet Replica Watches company.

A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Company was incorporated in 1890. In this year construction was started on a fire hall on West University Street; this building is still standing today and used for the village offices. The building was built almost completely by volunteer labor. The second floor housed an auditorium which was used to stage fund raising events to help pay for the fire hall and the fire equipment. Community social events were often held in the auditorium. In 1898, a 36-inch bell was installed in the tower to summon the firefighters when there was an emergency. Although the bell is still in the tower, a siren replaced its use in 1928.

Purchased in 1897, The first fire truck was a used truck and it was originally listed as a chemical truck. This truck had likely used an acid-bicarbonate mixture for forcing water through the hoses. A ladder was later added to this man drawn vehicle. Sometime around 1910, a two-wheel hose cart was purchased and stored in a shed where the McLane Center currently stands. Although referred to as the Garrione Hose Company, it was part of the A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Company. The company's first ambulance was a white Chevrolet truck style vehicle purchased in 1940. In 1968, the Crandall Hooks purchased its first aerial ladder, a Seagraves with a 75-foot ladder.

In 1968, the fire company voted in its first female member; a real rarity anywhere in New York State at the time. Today over one third of the membership is female.
As the village grew, so did the needs of the fire company for new equipment and facilities to house it. In 1972, a six bay fire hall was constructed to the rear of the 1890 hall. Again, much of the labor was done by volunteer firefighters themselves.

On May 24, 1987 over 200 members and guests gathered at Ade Hall on the Alfred University campus to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Company. The guest speaker of the evening was State Assemblyman John Hasper, a strong supporter of rural volunteer fire companies. He noted that Alfred's fire service has been "exemplary" and that its emergency medical services were "the pace-setter for the region." His assessment cannot be disputed by anyone who has ever been a member.

Early morning on October 29, 2009 a fire spread through Alfred’s business district. The fire left thirteen Alfred students homeless and many businesses destroyed. The call came in around 6:30 in the morning. The structure at Three North Main Street was hit the hardest. The early 19th century wooden structure helped fuel the massive blaze. The building was mostly destroyed by 7:30 in the morning. However work continued throughout most of the day. Thanks to the amzing work from the Firefighters from all over Allegany County came to our aid most of the block was saved. We greatly appreciate their help.

Things have changed dramatically from those early days when six men pulled the fire apparatus to the scene.Our goal has remained the same, providing the best fire and emergency medical service protection for the village and town of Alfred.