Celebrating 100 Years of Service to the Community on April 24, 2024!
Celebrating 100 Years of Service to the Community on April 24, 2024!
The population of the town of Cheektowaga had just started to grow in the early 1900's with the growth rate very high in the southern part of town. In order to decrease the fire insurance rates, the Clinton Gardens Taxpayers' Association began talking about the formation of another fire department in the Doyle Fire District. Doyle Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 located on William and Alaska Streets had already been effectively protecting the district since 1904.
The people of the Clinton Garden area, being very fire protection minded, felt we needed another fire company to offer the district more fire protection and lower fire insurance rates in the area. At the regular meeting of the taxpayers' association held at Mr. Joseph Galamb's Hall at 2070 Clinton Street, on February 24, 1924, a motion was made by Mr. Peter Kojm and seconded by Mr. Andrew Partacz to organize a fire department for the purpose of getting lower fire insurance rates in our section. Mr. Stephen Rogowski, President of the Clinton Garden Taxpayers' Association and the originator of Doyle No. 2appointed Mr. Peter Kojm to serve as organizer of the fire company. This was the beginning of the "Doyle Volunteer Hose Company No. 2," whose original me was Doyle Fire Hose Co. No 2.
The company was founded on April 10, 1924 with the following men joining: Peter Kojm, Stephen Rogowski, Gust Kalwicki, and Joseph Galamb, Albert Krawczyk, Ambrose Cegielski, Adam Strauch, Michael Nikel, Stanley Michalski, Herbert Hunsinger, Louis Lubecki, Valentine Stachowski, John Krinke, Frank Tokasz, Frank Witkowski, Casimir Witkowski and Edward Witkowski.
A total of 17 men joined and elected the following men to serve as the first officers of Doyle Hose Company No. 2: Frank Witkowski, President; Herbert Hunsinger, Vice President; Edward Witkowski, Recording Secretary; Michael Nickel, Financial Secretary, Frank Tokasz Treasurer and Peter Kojm as Chief.
Without a treasury, fire truck or firehouse, the company was at an obvious disadvantage. However, the men displayed a great deal of spirit and enthusiasm. Five hundred application blanks were printed, but there was no money in the treasury to pay for the printing. To get some money in the treasury all members paid $2.50 as an initiation fee to get the treasury started. A two wheel cart and 400 feet of hosewere obtained from the fire commissioners this year. The fire commissioners at that time were Andrew Napieralski, John Rohr and Albert Pratt. Two more were added after we were incorporated.
This two-wheel cart was put in Mr. Partacz's chicken coop on Pleasant Parkway. There it stayed until Mr. Partacz had to make room for some more chickens. From there the cart was moved to Mr. Frank Tokasz's garage. It stayed until Mr. Tokasz rented out his garage. From there it was moved to Mr. Herbert Hunsinger's garage.
We ran our first dance on June 19, 1924 at the oldparish hall located on Willowlawn near Clinton Street and showed a net profit of $79.85. All the members were dressed in blue shirts and white neck ties. Mr. Frank Witkowski made the first badges for this company. They were made out of old automobile plates and looked similar to the Maltese Cross. Mr. Gust Kalwicki soldered the pins on these badges. With the money made from the first dance the men were spurred to greater ambitions - a firehouse. Mr. Frank Witkowski gave the company a lease of his lot for three years free of charge. This lot was on the corner of Willowlawn and Griswold Streets where the present firehouse stands. The fire house was built out of box car doors at cost of $85.56 for lumber and materials with all the work done by the members. The firehouse measured 18 feet by 22 feet, half was used to house the two wheel cart and the other half was the company meeting room.
The alarm system at this time consisted of a steel rim from a locomotive. This rim was hanging on a tree in back of the firehouse and was used to call the men to fire calls.
The two wheel cart gave way to a four wheel horse drawn wagon. However, it was used for only a short time. Mr. Peter Kojm was authorized to purchase a motorized truck, so Mr. Kojm bought a Reo dump truck at a cost of $170.00. By removing the dump body, and replacing it with the body from the old four wheel fire wagon, a serviceable motorized fire truck was becoming a reality. All the members again put forth their efforts to work on the truck. Mr. John Krinke made a loan to the company of $50.00 for parts and paint. Mr. Albert Krawczyk did the painting of the fire truck. In order to pay for the truck all the men made a loan of $ 10.00 to $20.00 each. The truck was used for about two years and sold for $225 .00 and the loans from the members were all paid back. From this time on the fire company went under the fire district's expense-The Doyle Fire District No.1.
On April 14, 1926 Doyle Volunteer Hose Company No. 2 became incorporated under the laws of the State of New York. The fee for the county attorney was $2.50 and $30 .00 was paid to the State of New York. Attorney William Brennan, Jr. rendered his services free. On June 23, 1926 the Board of Fire Commissioners bought the lots that our present firehouse stands on. In early 1926, Doyle No. 1 received a new American LaFrance fire truck. Their old Hahn pumper was then turned over to Doyle No. 2. There were 26 fire alarms that year. Of these 12 were false and one tragic fire in West Seneca took the lives of two children. Realizing that rescue operations were of prime importance in everyday lives, the men enlisted the aid of the American Red Cross to teach them first aid and life saving techniques.
The year 1929 saw the start of the mutual aid system between Doyle No. 2, Doyle No. 1 and Sloan. An agreement was made between these three companies that whenever any one of these sirens blew the other two companies would also respond. There was no radio communication in those days so the trucks had to respond to the firehouse and hoped someone stayed behind to give them the location of the fire. The other alternative would be for the men to just look for smoke on the horizon.
The thirties, the years of depression and prohibition proved to be a very tiring time for the men of Doyle No. 2, but the hard times brought the company working together. In the winter months there were numerous barn fires, mostly on Cayuga Creek Road. At one particular fire it was so cold that hot water had to be poured on the buckles of the raincoats so that they could be opened. There were numerous still fires in the area as a result of the prohibition era. In 1931 our first softball team was organized and two years later they won the league championship. A strong mounting force in the softball championship years were that Steve Basinski offered a gallon of wine to any man who hit a homer.
In 1932 practice was changed from Wednesday to Friday; each man had to attend two a month or pay a 25 cent fine. In 1933 the first man under 21 joined Doyle No. 2, this was a special exception, with no more after this for some time to follow. In June of 1934 Doyle No. 2 held their first of many field days which were held on company grounds. At the July meeting of 1936 Mrs. Kankiewicz and Mrs. Kojm were present and asked if they could use the company's name to form a Ladies' Auxiliary. January of the following year, a special meeting was held, the reason was to organize a First Aid Committee to cope with the problem of answering more and more first aid calls in the area.
In April of 1937 we received our first brand new truck. The pride of the community, our new Buffalo Fire Engine was purchased from the Buffalo Fire Equipment & Sales Corp., with 300 gallons in the booster tank and a 750- gallon per minute pumping capacity.
Late in 1939 our company set up a first aid team consisting of eight men, with the company purchasing the necessary equipment to run the team effectively. The war years of the 40's were very critical and lean times as far as manpower was concerned.
There was trouble getting men to answer alarms during the daylight hours because what was left of our manpower worked in defense oriented plants. In fact, the daytime shortage was so critical that Leonard Kojma Sloan High School student, not even 18 years old was authorized to answer calls during school hours. Whenever the siren blew he would go to the alarm and return to school afterwards. Many times the truck would go out with only one man, the driver. If it was a large fire, passers-by would be recruited to help man the hose lines.
When the war in Europe was in full swing the home defense movement started throughout the entire United States and this included the Doyle Fire District, for all members were on fire watch. There had to be a man stationed in the fire hall twenty-four hours a day, each remaining member took his turn, no one was exempt.
Bunks were installed at the firehouse, so that those who came in from work could catch up on some sleep while another man stood watch. A total of 24 active men from Doyle No. 2 were in the service of our country, which only left 16 mento take care of the fire company.
During the war there were two men from our group that made the supreme sacrifice in giving their lives for the country they loved - ADA M STRAUCH and WALTER LISOWSKI.
After the war years, in January of 1946 things started to move again - Doyle No. 2. Ed Kankiewicz, John Hyzy, Ed Witkowski and Joe Maciejewski were appointed to a committee to look into a new firehouse or extension which we finally got in 1955. Also in this year Joe Korona and Joe Maciejewski were put on a committee to get some recreational facilities which were scarce in the Town of Cheektowaga. They were successful in getting a playground erected on the Grover Cleveland school grounds. This included a ball diamond which was the home field of our softball team for some time.
In 1947 we went all out to prepare our men for the future. We saw the need for a well-organized first aid squad. Putting our point across to the Board of Fire Commissioners, they responded in purchasing the company an inhalator. Two weeks after we received it the life of Bill Chmielewski was saved when he was overcome by fumes from a gas heater in the bathroom of his parents' home.
With the veterans returning and many new men joining, we contacted Erie County to send us an instructor. Our first instructor was Al Clothier who, to this very day (1973), has been instructing us in firefighting techniques.
On April 24, 1949 we celebrated our 25th Anniversary with a gala banquet at Our Lady of Czestochowa church Hall. Twenty-five years ago in 1924 there were 17 men at the first meeting on April 10th. In 1949 there were only 4 men left – Frank Tokasz, Peter Koim, John (Gust) Kalicki and Edward Witkowski. These men were honored at the banquet, each man received a ring, watch and certificates from the Board of Fire Commissioners and a standing ovation. All active men were present this day, along with t own and county officials, for this was a memorable occasion for all the men that attended.
Also in 1954 the commissioners purchased a new GMC pumper for Doyle No. 2 with a pumping capacity of 750 gallons per minute and this truck was still in service until March of 1974. This year we were once again champs in softball and bowling. The years 1956 and 1957 were active years as the membership took charge in transforming a storeroom into a company club room as we presently know it today. Once again we were champs in softball and bowling.
Our first company chaplain was John Darlak hen was appointed ion 1961. Also in this year the company purchased the lot on the corner of Griswold and the Ladies Auxiliary celebrated their 25th Anniversary. The next year we held our first annual Polish Festival Ball at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church Hall; this was the first of many successful Polish Festival Dances.
1964 was a year of change concerning our fund raising activities because a motion was made and carried to drop our yearly field days that originated in 1934 and proceed with Doyle No. 1 on a district-wide coin card collection. The coin card distribution and collection actually started the following year and was considered a success.
In 1966 we had four large fires -a house on Colton Street, a room at the Holiday Inn, the Jolly Roger, and Rays Supper Club on Broadway. The men of our company are highly dedicated to fire fighting. This was emphasized when Ed Spiewak missed the fire truck and hitch-hiked to the fire with his equipment to Broadway and Harlem (Rays Supper Club).
We all know the amount of work that goes into preparing the trucks and equipment for Inspection Day. In 1967 after everything was all set for inspection following Friday night practice, we received an alarm of fire on Cayuga Creek Road. A trailer load of tires were being dumped behind 707 Cayuga Creek Road and they caught fire. The men were out until the early hours of the morning fighting the stubborn blaze that could be seen as far away as East Aurora. With the inspection the next day the men had to clean and polish all the equipment over again and not a trace of the fire was anywhere to be found come inspection time -another example of highly dedicated men.
In September of this year the Firemen's Memorial Monument in Town Park was erected and dedicated. The man mainly responsible for its existence was our own member -Joseph Fox, who was honored the day of dedication. 1967 also was the beginning of a county-wide water ball and efficiency run in which we took first place in Erie County Competition.
The International Fertilizer fire on William Street in Sloan was the large fire of the year with the whole complex going up at once. The sky was filled with sparks and debris. Police and firemen were dispatched to wake up the neighbors and alert them to the danger of their houses being ignited. A major catastrophe was averted because many of these people were using garden hoses to wet their roofs down.
In the year 1968 the Valu Discount Store on Clinton and Rossler Streets was hit by a major fire after being open only four days. A total of 150 firemen battled the large destructive blaze.
The next year saw James Takac, a member of Doyle No. 2, receive an award from the Empire St ale First Aid and Rescue Association for saving the life of a Pennsylvania man at the Holiday Inn. Jim gave the man heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and for his efforts he was honored by the association at their annual convention which was held in Canada.
On July 18, 1971 the Erie County Fire Training Academy which is located in the town of Cheektowaga was dedicated. The tower is used by all volunteer fire companies in the county and the Buffalo Fire Department. Doyle No. 2 has been cited for using the tower more than any other company in the county.
The Southwestern Convention was held in the Town of Cheektowaga In 1971 with William J. Mackey a member of Doyle No. 2, being honored as fireman of the year. Bill, a Buffalo firefighter, was honored for his rescue of two children from a burning home on Plymouth Avenue in the city of Buffalo.
In March of 1972 a fire heavily damaged the sacristies of Our Lady of Czestochowa Church. The fast action and response of the firemen was credited in controlling the fire to the sacristy area only. The same year saw such major fires as the Super Duper on William Street, a large explosion rocked Anchor Concrete, an apartment complex on Clinton and Rossler was leveled and finally the Tops Market fire where four other stores on Clinton near Harlem Road were damaged extensively by fire. It can be said 1972 was a year of major fires for the Doyle Fire District. '72 also was the year we actually started our fire prevention program on a larger scale under the direction of Chief Ray Nowak. This year our efforts took third place in the Southwestern Convent ion and fourth place in the Western Convention in fire prevention competition.
The next year our fire prevention efforts were greater. We received first place trophies in the Western and Southwestern Conventions and we received the results of the national contest response by the National Fire Protection Association. We placed third in New York State, with the distinction of being the top volunteer company in New York State.
On October 25, 1973 Doyle Volunteer Hose Company No. 2 lost its oldest active member - John (Gust) Kalwicki. Gust, as we all knew him, an organizer, former chief and commissioner, will be greatly missed by all members of our fire company.
On April 27, 1974 we celebrated our 50th Anniversary Party at the Marigold Manor. Over 300 people attended. The David Cheskin Orchestra played for the affair. That year we started our 30 Week Club (25 week, 300 Club, it was known by various names) and that ran for approximately 23 years and was a major fundraiser for the company at the time. In June of 1974 the Thorofare Market on Harlem and Clinton burned to the ground. We placed first again in the Western and Southwestern Fire Prevention Contest. In the Southwestern we retired the Chris Becker Fire Prevention Trophy which in order to retire it you have to win it three years in a row. This was the first time since the trophy's inception in 1958 that it was retired. We also won the Erie County Water ball trophy in 1974.
In 1975 we placed first in Fire Prevention at the Western and Southwestern Conventions. Governor Hugh Carey called Chief Mike Lisowski to Albany for a proclamation to our company on our fire prevention achievements. Al Clothier, a fire instructor from the Blasdell Fire Company who had been coming to Doyle No. 2 since 1947 as an instructor, was awarded the first life membership in Doyle No. 2. 1976 saw us retire another Chris Becker Memorial Trophy in Fire Prevention after winning the contest three years in a row. We also won the Western Fire Prevention Contest. This was the country's Bicentennial year and we had our Engine Room door painted to celebrate the occasion.
The Blizzard of 1977 was the highlight early in the year. Western New York was declared a disaster area. Thousands of people were stranded over 100 of them at our hall for several days. We once again took the first place trophies in Fire Prevention at the Southwestern and Western Conventions.
1978 saw an annual election year for 1st Assistant Chief - the candidates were Joe Rydzynski and Len Szymanski. The results ended up tied at a regular meeting. It went to the Board of Directors who also tied the vote. It then went back to the membership at a special meeting and came back tied again. Finally it went back to the Board of Directors again who just had its seventh member elected and the tie was it went to the Board of Directors who also tied the vote. It then went back to the membership at a special meeting and came back tied again. Finally it went back to the Board of Directors again who just had its seventh member elected and the tie was broken. The new engine room doors were installed. They were all glass and showed off both trucks more appropriately.
March of 1979 saw the Forks Lumber fire, all town companies were called in along with several from West Seneca. We were there all night. The Ladies Auxiliary and the Salvation Army served coffee and donuts. Greg Burke received an award from the Southwestern and Erie County Associations in the Fireman of the Year program - 5 years and under category.
1980 was the first year in the Western and Southwestern First Aid Competition. We took fourth place at the Western and first & second in the A & B divisions at the Southwestern. Tom Krawczyk received the South Western's President's Award. The Doyle Fire District took first place trophies in fire prevention at the Western and Southwestern.
Both companies combined their fire prevention efforts from this day forward. First and Second place trophies were won in 1981 for the Fire Prevention contest and First Aid Contests at both competitions.
In February of 1992 there was a large barn fire on Cayuga Creek, the barn was a total loss, the paint on our pumper blistered from the intense heat. In November the Immaculate Heart of Mary Children’s Home on William Street burned. This was the largest fine ever fought in this district. It took ten hours to bring the fire under control. Companies from Cheektowaga, Depew, West Seneca, Sloan, Amherst, Elma, and Lancaster responded to the call. A total of 27 companies with 52 pieces of apparatus were at the scene.
On April 29, 1993 the taxpayer s of the district voted to award Doyle No. 1 and 2 our own Length of Service Award program "LOSAP." A total of 75% of the voters voted yes. The program began in January of 1995 and provided a financial award program based on earning 50 required point• annually. George Lewis received the Erie County Chiefs Fire Service Award for 10 years or less At the Southwestern Convention in Andover Don Cialone and Dean Lauber received the association's Firefighter of the Year Award for rescuing eight seniors from the Williamstown Apartment fire. They also received the Erie County Chiefs Award for Firemen of the Year. In February, there was a fi re at Suburban Collision on William Street. We assisted Sloan with Rescue 7. In September 1993 Dan Miller was sworn in as our company's first fourth generation member.
In April 1994 we had a house fire on Cochrane Street. There was extensive damage to the house. Seven mutual aid companies responded. At the Erie County Fair Brent Sala was awarded the Erie County Volunteer Fireman’s Association's Fireman of the Year Award for his action at an auto accident at William and Richard Streets. In July, Fontana’s Restaurant burned and caused damage to China Buffet and Car Quest in the Valu Plaza. A total of 11 companies from Cheektowaga, Depew, and West Seneca responded to the call.
In 1995 we responded to 2 general alarm fires with U-Crest. In August, we responded to arson fire at the Holiday Inn on Genesee Street and in October, we responded to a fire at the old Westinghouse plant. We also responded on a mutual aid to Sloan for a fire at Greg’s Auto Parts on William Street that year.
November of 1995 saw the bids go out for our building expansion which had to be built before our new truck came in. On the day of the Holiday Inn fire the softball team won the town championship.
In December a record snowfall of 37" hit the area, 42 people from the Thruway were stranded at the hall. We were alerted to the bad weather in the middle of the night with a car fire at William and Richard. It was handled by Buffalo FD Engine 28 after Engine 3 became disabled. A standby was then ordered by Chief Burdzy. We had an apartment fire on William and Harlem where an ambulance crew rescued three occupants by driving their ambulance onto the sidewalk and guiding them to the roof of the ambulance and down the windshield. The Holiday Inn on Genesee Street was the site of a mutual aid arson f ire with U-Crest. Ten town fire companies were on the scene.
November of 1995 saw the bids go out for our building expansion which had to be built before our new truck came in. On the day of the Holiday Inn fire the softball team won the town championship. In December a record snowfall of 37" hit the area, 42 people from the Thruway were stranded at the hall. We were alerted to the bad weather in the middle of the night with a car fire at William and Richard. It was handled by Buffalo FD Engine 28 after Engine 3 became disabled. A standby as then ordered by Chief Burdzy. We had an apartment fire on William and Harlem where an ambulance crew rescued three occupants by driving their ambulance onto the sidewalk and guiding them to the roof of the ambulance and down the windshield.
The Holiday Inn on Genesee Street was the site of a mutual aid arson f ire with U-Crest. Ten town fire companies were on the scene. May of 1996 witnessed the foundation being dug for the building extension and our new pumper arrived from RD Murray in November.
In December, the new truck and building extension were dedicated at a party attended by chiefs and commissioners from all over town. In August, Tom Morris received the Erie County Volunteer Fireman's Association Fire Service Award in the 15 years and under category at the Erie County Fair.
In 1997 Dan Nash was elected President of the Cheektowaga Volunteer Fireman's Softball League. Tom Krawczyk was appointed Treasurer of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York. In August, Doyle No. 2's softball team won the championship again.
In November 1997 we had a house fire on Cass Avenue. Four mutual aid companies assisted.
December the fire company donated $100 to the family of six so they could get Christmas gifts for the kids.
In April of 1998 we responded to a fatal car accident where the 18 year old driver was killed and 3 passengers were seriously injured.
In August, we responded to a mutual with Sloan to Trio's Bar for a fire. Buffalo FD happened by the fire on the way back from training and knocked most of the fire down prior to our arrival.
In December we responded to a Crisfield Avenue residence for a garage fire which was fully involved upon our arrival and damaged two bother garages, Sloan was called in for mutual aid.
*You can view our complete history by clicking on the "Doyle 2 Historical Timeline" download button in our Download Section of this website!