The department’s first call in 1887 was from the Perry Knitting Company on August 16. It turned out to be slight and was reported out before the arrival of the fire department.
The Perry Fire Department’s big moment came on May 18, 1891 that left property loss of $100,000.00 to several Main Street businesses. Perry’s greatest conflagration occurred when fire broke out and consumed all buildings between the present M & T Bank north to Lake Street. The Wallace Hose Co. of Castile, McNair Hose Co. of Warsaw and the Hornell Steamer Co. of Hornellsville came to help, with men and equipment being rushed to Perry on railroad flat cars.
Two companies were formed in 1890, the Citizens Chemical Company and the Active Hose Co. later to become the I.S. Robinson hose Co.
The T.H. Bussey Protective Company was organized on August 29, 1902 succeeding Engine Company No. 1. and provided the department’s last hand or horse drawn hose cart.
In April 1913, the most ever number of companies in the department which was six, held their annual meetings and officers were chosen to represent their respective companies, which made up the body of the Perry Fire Department. The companies were as follows; Citizens Chemical Company, Traver Hose Co., C.A. Toan Hose Co., Robeson Hose Co., M.H. Olin Hook & Ladder Co., and the Bussy Protectives. Today the Citizens Chemical Company is still active in the department along with the City Protective Company which was organized in 1922.
In July 1915, the department received its first motorized equipment. It was a 1915 American LaFrance Type 10 chain drive Triple Combination Chemical Engine / Hose Car. Bright red in color and with this speedier apparatus firemen began answering rural alarms for the first time.
One of the longest distance assists given by the department was in 1919 when Perry went to Bliss New York to help fight a fire that all but wiped out the business section. In 1921 a run was made to Arcade New York to help battle a warehouse fire, but in 1894 Perry reciprocated Warsaw’s run to Perry of 1891 by going there for one of its big fires. The Perry firemen loaded their chemical cart, hose cart and hand engine on a flat car, were sent to Warsaw, unloaded and were set up for action just 45 minutes after they had received the call in Perry.
A second fire truck was added to the department’s firefighting capability in 1924. On March 26th a 45 foot Ladder-Chemical truck was put into service, with “White” being the manufacturer and it was built on a bus chassis.
In 1937 another American LaFrance pumper was put into service which was a Series 400 Metropolitan powered by a 754 cubic inch V-12 engine. Also in 1937 a used / refurbished 1915 American LaFrance was put into service, with a 500 gallon per minute rotary gear pump, powered with a 580 cubic inch 4 cylinder engine, which replaced the original 1915 that was traded back to be salvaged. This truck was considered ideal for out-of-town fires for it was shorter than the Metropolitan and it had large capacity pumping equipment. Today this truck remains in the possession of the Perry Fire Department with plans to return it to its original condition.
In 1946 the volunteers provided funds with which to purchase an emergency or all purpose truck which was a 1946 Ford-Mercury / American LaFrance truck powered with a 239 cubic inch “ L “ head Ford V-8 engine. This truck was unique that it could be driven and could pump water at the same time.
A year later in 1947 the department received the “ Invader “ model by American LaFrance, a pumper-tanker to be used as the country truck which replaced the second 1915 model. Today, this Series 700 is owned by the Albion Fire Department and is used as their “ Convention “ Truck.
1951 witnessed the beginning of the Mutual Aid System of firefighting and in 1952 the Village Of Perry took delivery of a 65’ Maxim Hydraulic Aerial Ladder truck which replaced the 1924 model.
February 10, 1964 was the date when the Perry Volunteer Exempt Firemen’s Benevolent Association was chartered and October 29th was the in service date for the new American LaFrance Series 900 Pumper-Tanker powered by a 820 cubic inch six cylinder engine, thus giving the Village and fire district the luxury of having a reserve pumper which the 1937 provided. This Series 900 later went onto Rossburg Fire Department for service and then later ended up in the Jim Gerrard collection of Warsaw, New York.
In 1967, the Perry Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary was organized and in 1972 a new Ford Van with a Welch Rescue Body was put into service to replace the 1946 Ford-Mercury / American LaFrance emergency truck.
On June 23, 1977 a new American LaFrance Pioneer III Pumper-Tanker was put into service powered by a 6V-53N 216 horse powered V-6 engine. This new pumper replaced the 1947 Invader Model and this modern truck is still in service today.
During recent years, three major fires have occurred. Two were set and one was accidental. All were on the 28th day of the month, with close to two million dollars worth of damage. The Perry Knitting Company-building started on January 27, 1978 and burned into the 28th. The Dolbeer Building fire at Main and Dolbeer was June 28, 1980 with these two being arson and on January 28, 1983 the Town Hall on Main Street in the center of the Village Of Perry was destroyed by fire from an electrical cause.
In the spring of 1979 a 1966 R E O 6X6 tanker with a 2000 gallon capacity ”Kaustine” style tank was completely refurbished by Perry Fire Department members. This truck was powered with a 427 Multi-Fuel engine.
In the spring of 1984 a new American LaFrance Century Pumper-Tanker was commissioned which was powered with a 6-71T 6 cylinder engine and with a 1500 Gallon Per Minute pump. This truck is still in service today which replaced the 1964 model.
The spring of 1988 saw a used 1980 International 4000 gallon stainless steel bulk milk hauler refurbished to be used for hauling water to a fire scene. Powered by a 290 Big-Cam engine and could dump up to 2800 gallons per minute. This truck replaced the 1966 R E O model.
At over 100 years old, the department has been under the direction of fifty- five chief’s and has answered over 7000 fire calls. Since the beginning of the Perry Fire Department there have been many serious barn, business and house fires and in modern times automobile accidents which on April 13, 1990 the most violent motor vehicle crash of modern times in the Village Of Perry occurred on the corner of North Main and Gardeau streets resulting in three fatalities.
May 1995 saw the replacement of the 1951 Maxim ladder with a 1975 Pierce 85’ L T I Platform type aerial from the Tri-State Fire District of Darien Illinois and on May 1, 2000 a 1995 3300 gallon Freightliner Tanker-Pumper purchased from the “ Patchin Fire Department “ of Boston New York was put into service equipped with a 1250 gallon per minute pump.
Throughout the years the department has cooperated in providing first aid equipment, annual Halloween parties for the youngsters, sponsored fund-raising carnivals, built facilities at the Village Park and purchased land to develop their grounds adjacent to the Lake Street Park.
The two present companies consisting of the Citizens Chemical Company and the City Protective Company maintain a stable membership of about 70 members which also include today a Training Company that a volunteer must complete before being accepted into either company,and at which time training continues after be accepted.
On May 1, 1888 at a regular meeting of the Perry Fire Department a motion was made and carried that the motto “ OUR DEEDS OUR REWARDS “ be adopted by the department This department shall endeavor to maintain the high standard that is required of us and continue to be a credit to the Village Of Perry as a body and the members as individuals.