Founded in 1646, Yonkers’ earliest form of firefighting was no different than any other village of the time. A group of neighbors pitching in however they could by filling buckets with water and throwing it on an inflicting blaze. Years passed, communities grew, and the necessity for a more formal way of firefighting was required. It wasn’t until after the Mill Street Fire in 1852, that the first organized fire service was born in Yonkers by Robert Getty, with the formation of Protection Engine Co 1. Shortly after in 1853, the Engine company was joined by the first Ladder Company, Hope Hook and Ladder Co. 1.
Over the next few decades, the village would see a rise in industry as manufacturing plants began to dominate the workforce, also creating a rise in the population. The results would eventually change Yonkers from a once farming town into an influential city in 1872. The impact over these years would again demand a change in the efficiency of fire protection for the many thriving neighborhoods that made up the city. Residents from neighborhoods such as Nodine Hill, Sherwood Park, Armour Villa, Lowerre, Nepera Park and many others would begin to form their own private fire companies that would ensure a more direct level of protection for their own homes and properties. In 1855, the village authorities would allocate funds to purchase these private companies to create a more unified system.
After the Dock Street fire of 1893, the city realized that it could no longer rely on the capacity of the volunteer services. In 1895, a board of fire commissioners was formed, and funds were appropriated, and in August of 1896, the professional Yonkers Fire Department was established. Three paid firefighters would be assigned to Lady Washington Hose company and three more to Hope Hook and Ladder, both located at the Palisade Avenue firehouse. It wasn’t long for them to be put to the test, having their first major fire just 5 days after being sworn in.