One summer evening in 1954, a group of citizens in Westville, New York began organizing the Westville Volunteer Fire Department. Up until its inception the Town of Westville was protected by the Fort Covington and Constable Fire Departments and by the Malone Callfiremen under subscription.
After many months of planning and obtaining donations, this small but dedicated group was able to purchase a 1940 Chevrolet tank truck from the Constable Fire Department and incorporated under the name "Westville Volunteer Firemen's Association, Inc." This was accomplished by 1956.
The first officers included Watson Fleury as Chief, Enrico Caruso as first assistant chief, Harold Brooks as President, Roger Avery as treasurer and Cecil Premo as secretary.
In 1957, a second-hand chassis was purchased and a body was built on it by the department. A portable pump was used to pump water off this unit which gave many years of service.
By 1958 the department swelled to 35 members and its first new pumper was purchased. This pumper, a 500 gallon-per-minute Seagrave on a Ford chassis.
When the Salmon River Central School District was formed, the Westville Fire Department was able to obtain the old District No. 3 school house which is located across from Heritage Woodworks today. The building served as a community center and a Town Hall for many years. It served as the department's meeting room while the equipment was housed in a barn on the Watson Fleury farm. In 1960, the department erected the fire station next to Avery Bros. store which had two truck bays and a storage bay for equipment.
In 1960, Joseph Gratton was elected Chief and served in that office until December, 1965. Under his leadership a 1965 American LaFrance 1000 gallon-per-minute pumper was added to the department's inventory.
Julius Greene served as Chief through 1966. By this time the membership had been set at 36 and the department boasted three pieces of fire equipment.
James Premo became Chief in 1967 and remained in that office until December, 1975. During his tenure as Chief, the department expanded its membership to 40 and in 1971, built and addition on to the fire station. This added badly needed space to the engine room in the rear of the building. A parcel of land was also purchased from the town in 1971 for use as a Field Day Grounds and a training area. Up until this time our well known field day was held on Watson Fleury's farm which, for a time, became Pine Ridge Park.
The present grounds also house the "Franklin County Drill Grounds Inc." This is an organization composed of most of the Franklin County Fire Departments for the purpose of firefighter training.
In 1976, John Buchanan became Chief and remained Chief until December 1979. During his time as Chief the fire department refurbished a 1973 International Loadstar Tanker that was involved in an accident in 1976. The tanker ID number was 17 TA 175. Since the incorporation of the department the department rolled over two tankers in auto accidents. After the refurb was complete the department changed the ID number to 17 TA 176 and oddly enough the department has never been in another accident with the tanker.
From 1980 to 1983 Bert Fleury took over the reigns of Chief. Under his leadership the department purchased a new American LaFrance 1000 gallon-per-minute pumper in 1980. This truck had the ID number of 17 E 172.
For the year of 1984, Arthur Miller was Chief of the department. While Chief, the department added on the back bay to the fire station which again added desperately needed room onto the fire station.
James Premo once again became Chief in 1985 and held that position until December, 1988. While under his leadership, the department began responding to EMS calls within the Town of Westville. Up until this time any medical emergency was handled by Malone, Constable or Fort Covington fire departments. In April, 1985 the fire department, started running EMS and also in April of that year they purchased their first ambulance. It was purchased second hand from the Malone Callfiremen. This units number was 17 A 177. On November 2, 1988, the department suffered it's first and only "line of duty" death of Past Chief Julius Greene. Chief Greene was fighting a house fire on State Route 122 and while pulling hose from the truck suffered a heart attack. He was rushed to Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, but never recovered from the attack.
From 1989 until 1990 David Greene held the post of Chief. Under his command, the department purchased a new Blue Star Ambulance in February, 1989. This units ID number was 17 A 177.
Jack Buchanan held the Chief's position from 1991 until 1993. In May of 1992, the department purchased a new E-One 1000 gallon-per-minute pumper for the cost of $120,000. The ID number for this truck is 17 E 171.
From 1994 until 1995 Clayton White was Chief of the department.
For the year of 1996, Scott Premo was Chief of the department. Under his leadership in April of 1996 a new 1800 gallon tanker was purchased from New Lexington Fire Equipment for the cost of $105,000. This units ID number is 17 TA 176.
For the year of 1997, Gregory Demarse held the post as Chief of the department.
From 1998 until 1999 John Buchanan was Chief of the department. In January, 1998 the North Country experienced an ice storm like no other. The entire area was crippled from ice accumulating in upwards of six inches. The department was fully manned for eight straight days and served as a shelter for some community residents.
Dave Loeb was chief of the department from January 2000 until June of 2000.
James Premo was elected Chief of the department in June of 2000 and held the position until December of 2001. In December of 2000, the department occupied a new station at 3891 State Route 37. It boasts six truck bays, a large meeting room, updated kitchen and facilities for the public and handicapped.
From 2002 until June 2005 Donald Gravell Sr. held office of Chief for the department. In July of 2003, the department acquired two more trucks to their inventory. A 1997 International School Bus was obtained from the Salmon River School District for the amount of $1. The unit was used for transporting breathing air and the cascade system to fire scenes. This units ID number was 17 M 178. Also, in July of 2003 the department acquired a pickup with a plow from the NYS Power Authority for the amount of $1. This unit is used to transport miscellaneous equipment back and forth to the fire ground and used during the winter months for snow removal at the fire station. This units ID number is 17 M 179. In October, 2003 the department purchased a secondhand ambulance from southern New York. It is a 1997 Braun Ambulance on a Ford E-450 chassis. This units ID number is 17 A 177. In May of 2004 with the assistance of the FEMA grant the department purchased its very first brush truck. It is a 2004 Ford F-350 with a 250 gallon-per-minute pump and a 200 gallon tank with dual booster reels. This units ID number is 17 M 378.
From June 2005 until December 2006, Donald Gravell Jr. held the position of Chief for the department. In October of 2006, under his watch, the department purchased a new E-One, 1250 gallon-per-minute pumper for the cost of $155,000. This replaced the 1980 American LaFrance pumper. This units ID number is 17 E 172.
From 2007 until 2010, Clayton White was Chief of the department. In October of 2008, under his command, the department purchased from the Champlain Fire Department a 1984 International Heavy Rescue. This unit replaced the bus. Also at the same time the heavy rescue is equipped with a 10,000 watt onboard generator and a set of "jaws" used for vehicle accidents. This is the first set of "jaws" owned by the department. The heavy rescue also carries air bags for heavy lifting, the cascade system, lighting system, refill station and breathing air. This units ID number is 17 R 377. On August 12, 2010 the department purchased a 2009 Horton Ambulance on an E-450 chassis from Emergency Mobile Technologies in Van Wert, Ohio. This unit was placed into service and was purchased for $79,000. This unit replaced the 1997 Braun Ambulance. This units ID number is 17 A 177.
From 2011 until present, Jamie Gratton is Chief of the department. In February of 2011, the Chief's Office underwent renovation. Two new workstations were incorporated into the office which enables the office to be used more efficiently as far as every day operations and a user friendly space for prolonged incidents if the fire house is used as a command post. In October of 2012, the WFD purchased and put into service a new 2012 Ford F-250 pickup. The purpose of this vehicle is to transport personnel for all fire department functions and will be used to back up the brush truck at wildland fires and also be used to plow the driveway. The truck was placed into service in October 2012 and dedicated in memory of past Chief, Jack Buchanan. This units ID number is 17-M-179.
Present day the department has 33 active members. Compared as small to other departments in the county, the department strives to stay up to date with training and keep a fleet of trucks ready to respond on a moments notice.