Engine Company #3
In the fall of 1948, Levitt and Sons had just completed building their sprawling suburban community, now named Levittown, on the farmland to the eastern side of East Meadow. On the evening of October 29, the newly appointed captain of Company 3 was meeting with prospective members, who, a few weeks later, would be sworn into the department as the first members of company.
Company 3 was formed to meet the needs of the new influx of homeowners to the bustling suburb. Developers Levitt & Sons donated a parcel of land at Newbridge Road and Carnation Road to the East Meadow Fire Department. When a bond issue for a new firehouse that had been proposed for the donated land was defeated, the fire district purchased a surplus WWII Quonset hut, which the volunteer firefighters assembled themselves. The makeshift building was completed by the summer of 1951, and became the new home of Company 3, along with its first truck – a 1947 Ward La France. In 1956, the Quonset hut was replaced with a two-bay-capacity building, and Company 3 was renamed, as Engine Company 3. Engine Company 3 currently functions with a 2019 1500 GPM Pierce pumper. They celebrated their “50th Birthday” in 1998 and look forward to celebrating their 75th Anniversary in 2023.
The new Station 3 was named in memory of George Leggio, a member of Engine 3 and the first member of the East Meadow Fire Department to die in the line of duty. Firefighter Leggio was thrown from the rear of the engine while responding to a fire, on May 21, 1952.
The contributions of Engine 3 members go far beyond the company. Ten members went on to serve the department as fire chief, and five have served as fire commissioner. Others have paved the way for generations of firefighters. Elmer “Bud” Chapman, now deceased, wrote the manual for high-rise- firefighting operations as a deputy chief with the Fire Department of New York. Firefighter Ray Pfiefer, before his death this year from the cancer caused by his work at Ground Zero, fought tirelessly for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. Ray championed the bill, which designates $1.8 billion in federal funding to cover healthcare costs for 9-11 responders, by getting it signed into law.
After six decades of service, there are 41 active members in Engine 3. “The Pride of the Meadow,” as they are known, are proudly serving the community, while carrying on the memory and causes of their legendary members.