On May 23, 1898, a group of businessmen from Despatch (as East Rochester was known until 1906) met at Branshaud’s Hall on East Commercial Street to set up the first fire department. On May 29th, the first official meeting was held, and the Despatch Fire District was formed. During subsequent meetings committees were formed to find estimates for needed equipment, as well as for property and a fire hall. It was determined that $1800.00 was the amount needed to outfit this first department. Equipment included: one dozen rubber coats, boots, and helmets, a hose cart, an alarm bell, a ladder truck, and three chemical carts. Needless to say, the first fire trucks were either pulled by horses or pulled by hand.
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