Briarcliff Manor Hook & Ladder Company
Although the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department had been using a ladder truck for many years, at a special meeting in 1936 the Village Board agreed with the members of the Briarcliff Fire Company that the department needed to expand. Together they determined that a third company – a ladder company – should be added to the department next to the Fire Company and the Scarborough Company.
The Briarcliff Manor Hook & Ladder Company was organized on October 6, 1936 with Charles Matthes as Chairman, Irving Monahan as Secretary, William Bevier as Captain. Lawrence Reilly was appointed as Lieutenant. His two sons Lawrence Jr. and Timothy would later go on to be Chiefs of the department.
The new company was given the 1930 American LaFrance which the village had previously purchased for $9,500. The company became an active part of the Fire Department and was incorporated in 1938. The official designation of “Ladder 40” happened in February of 1942 and is still used to this day.
During World War II, the company mourned the loss of Paul Hazelton, Charles Matthes Jr., and George H. Fountain. The names of these firefighters are remembered to this day as they are used on Streets in the Village.
In 1954 the company began the process of writing the specifications for a new Ladder Truck and the Village approved a referendum which was held in June of 1955. Although the bids for the new Ladder came in over the amount the Village had allotted, the committee was able to delete some items to come within the guidelines. The $40,000 bid was awarded to Mack Trucks for the 75’ aerial ladder with a 150 gallon booster tank. The Ladder was delivered and placed in service in December of 1956.
On September 16, 1961 the Company celebrated its 25th anniversary with a dinner dance. In those 25 years the company had become an integral part of the department and contributed at numerous fires and with several members serving as Chief of the Department. In the early 1960s as the Village and the department continued to grow, the need for a new building was recognized and in 1963 the Company moved into the new firehouse along with the Briarcliff Fire Company and the Ambulance.
In 1980 it was time to replace the Mack Ladder and a bid was awarded to Seagrave Fire Apparatus for a 100’ rear mount ladder truck. The vehicle was delivered and placed into service in time for the major fire at several stores in the center of the village in January of 1982. This apparatus would serve the village well. It was replaced in 2005 by our current KME mid-mount 95’ Tower ladder.
On May 16, 2007, following a day of numerous calls from storms in the area, Ladder Company Member and Deputy Chief Joseph Piazzi felt ill and later in the day suffered a heart attack and died. He became the first member of the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department to die in the line of duty. The department has memorialized Deputy Chief Piazzi by naming the apparatus bay at headquarters after him.
With over 75 years of service as a company, today’s members are equally dedicated to the training and service needed in order meet modern firematic challenges.