The department's first call came on August 16, 1887 and from the Perry Knitting Company. It turned out to be slight and was reported out before the arrival of the fire department.
On May 1, 1888 at a meeting of the Perry Fire Department a motion was made and carried to adopt the motto "OUR DEEDS OUR REWARDS". It was resolved that the department shall always endeavor to maintain the high standard that is required [of us] and to be a credit to the Village of Perry as a body and the members as individuals.
Two fire companies were formed in 1890, the Citizens Chemical Company and the Active Hose Company, which was later to become the I.S. Robinson Hose Company.
On May 18, 1891 a fire which consumed all of the buildings between the present location of M&T Bank, looking North to Lake Street. The Wallace Hose Company of Castile, the McNair Hose Company of Warsaw and the Hornell Steamer Company of Hornellsville came to help, with men and equipment being rushed to Perry on flat railroad cars. That fire left property loss of $100,000.00 to several businesses on Main Street, it was Perry's greatest conflagration and a significant moment for the Perry Fire Department.
In 1894 Perry reciprocated Warsaw's 1891 run to Perry by going to Warsaw for one of its big fires. Just 45 minutes after they received the call in Perry, the Perry firemen had loaded their chemical cart, hose cart and hand engine on a flat railroad car, traveled to Warsaw, unloaded and were set up for action. The distance between Perry and Warsaw is about ten miles which takes a minimum of about fifteen minutes to drive in a modern car.
The T.H. Bussey Protective Company was organized on August 29, 1902. It succeeded Engine Company No. 1 and provided the department's last hand or horse drawn hose cart.
In 1913, the department had six companies (Citizens Chemical Company, Traver Hose Company, C.A. Toan Hose Co., Robeson Hose Co., M.H. Olin Hook & Ladder Co., and the Bussey Protectives), the greatest number of companies that it has ever had. At their annual company meetings in April, officers were chosen to represent their respective companies. 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, a bright red 1915 American LaFrance Type 10 chain drive Triple Combination Chemical Engine/Hose Car. Perry's firemen were able to use this speedier apparatus to answer rural alarms for the first time.
Four years later, in 1919, Perry's fire department made one of its longest distance assists when they went to Bliss New York (about twenty miles) to help fight a fire that all but wiped out the business section of Bliss. In 1921, they made a run to Arcade New York (about thirty miles) to help battle a warehouse fire.
A second fire truck was added to the department's firefighting capability in 1924. On March 26th of that year, a forty-five foot Ladder-Chemical truck built on a bus chassis manufactured by 'White' was put into service.
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 by 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, because it was shorter than the Metropolitan and it had large capacity pumping equipment. This truck remains in the possession of the Perry Fire Department, which 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, in that it could be driven and could pump water at the same time.
A year later, in 1947, the department received the American LaFrance "Invader", a series 700 pumper-tanker model to be used as the country truck which replaced the second 1915 model. Today, this very truck 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 more recent times, 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. Both of these two were caused by arson. On January 28, 1983 the Town Hall on Main Street in the center of the Village Of Perry was destroyed by fire that started from an electrical cause.
In the spring of 1979 a 1966 REO 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, it 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 REO model.
At over 100 years old, the department has been under the direction of fifty-five chiefs 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 the department has responded to. The most violent of these motor vehicle crash accidents of modern times occurred on April 13, 1990 in the Village of Perry 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' LTI Platform type aerial from the Tri-State Fire District of Darien Illinois. 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 youngsters, sponsored fund-raising carnivals, built facilities at the Village Park and purchased land to develop their grounds adjacent to the Village Park on Lake Street.