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Mark you calendar for Port Jervis Fire Department's historic annual parade July 13, 2024

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.


Port Jervis Fire Department invites all to attend its Annual Inspection Day Parade to step off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 13. The route has been revised this year, and a map is attached for all who attend and wish to choose a great viewing location.

Below is a summary of the PJFD’s more than a century-and-a-half history of volunteer firefighting service, and an additional brief summary of the history of this year’s lead company, Howard Wheat Engine Co. No. 4.


Port Jervis Fire Department (1858)

Port Jervis Fire Department was officially established in 1858, five years after Port Jervis became a village.

Port Jervis Fire Department’s First Chief and Officers (1858)

PJFD’s first chief and officers were elected on May of 1858. This election was held at Port Jervis’ Delaware House on a Monday evening, May of 1858, with 120 votes cast for chief and the following results: Chief Engineer: Jacob Brandt (of No. 2) 83 votes -- S.J. Wood (of No. 3) 37 votes; First Assistant: Peter Mulhern (of No. 1) 78 votes, Thomas Holt (of No. 1) 41 votes; Second Assistant: J.M. Sutherland (of No. 3) 73 votes, P.H. Dearstine (of No. 3) 35 votes, Thomas Gross (of No. 3) 10 votes.

Port Jervis Fire Department’s First Official (Inaugural) Department Parade (1858)

Port Jervis Fire Department’s Inaugural Parade was held in 1858 (Thursday, November 4, 1858). Prior celebrations had been held, however, by companies that had formed before the department was officially established and chiefs and officers elected in 1858.

PJFD 2024 Parade Lead Company: Howard Wheat Engine Co. No. 4

Port Jervis Fire Department’s Lead Parade Company 2024 (July 13, 2024) is Howard Wheat Engine Co. No. 4. Historically, this company was next to last of the department’s companies to form – in 1877. It followed Neversink (1847), 2’s & 3’s (1857), Hook’s (1858), 5’s (1873), 4’s (1877), and 6’s (1890).

Past Chief Howard Wheat, of 4’s, remains the department’s longest serving Past Chief, having been elected in the fall of 1911 and serving from 1912 through 1937 as PJFD Chief.

1877    Port Jervis Hose Company No. 4 History Summary

In 1877, Port Jervis Hose Company No. 4 was founded. The company name changed after the death of Howard Wheat, a Hose 4 member and, through present, still-longest serving PJFD chief. Wheat served 25 consecutive years, from 1912-1937. Following the death of Howard Wheat, Hose Company No. 4 was rededicated with the name Howard Wheat Engine Company No. 4. It was formerly located on Seward Avenue, through 2024 has been housed at 31 Owen Street in the Fourth Ward section of the city. 

Among this company’s many interesting vehicles, and perhaps most unique, was the one received in 1976. It was a lime green/yellow-colored American LaFrance pumper with a “Squirt”, which is a large capacity nozzle on a top-mounted articulating boom. This was the first company in Orange County to utilize this specialized equipment. That vehicle was replaced with a 1999 American LaFrance pumper, a twin to the 1999 American LaFrance delivered to Neversink Engine Company No. 1. The significant different between the twin vehicles is that Howard Wheat Engine Company No. 4’s again featured a “Squirt” articulating boom.

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SHARON SIEGELSenior Correspondent

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