Engine Company #4
In 1951, the East Meadow Fire Department had just opened a new ﬁrehouse on Newbridge Road in response to the rapid growth of residential construction in Levittown. As completion of the new suburb drew near, builders Levitt & Sons looked to the west, developing the Bowling Green section of Westbury. With several hundred additional homes now included in the district, ﬁre ofﬁcials recognized that another ﬁrehouse would now be necessary.
They selected a site at Carman Avenue and Salisbury Park Drive, and began construction on a station to house a new ﬁre company. Dave Galvin was named as the company’s ﬁrst captain. Dave was an experienced U.S. Navy ﬁreﬁghter. He had previously served as a captain in the Newbridge Road station. His new task was to recruit and train a dozen men to become the founding members of Engine Company 4, which went into service on January 1, 1953 with a surplus 1937 Buffalo 500-gallon-per-minute engine.
Over the next two decades, the firehouse was home to a 1954 Ford engine and a 1964 Mack pumper. In 1970, the small outpost was extended to make room for larger, more modern apparatus, including a 1974 Ward and a 1500-gallon-per-minute 1989 Pierce.
Through the 1960s and ’70s, Engine Company 4 served the community well. Nine of their members serve as chief of department, one was elected as commissioner, while another became East Meadow’s ﬁrst female captain. Two of their members, Fireﬁghter Walter Ernst and Chief Robert Reed, gave their lives in service to the community, becoming the Department’s second and third line-of-duty deaths.
Through the 1980s and ’90s, the demands on the department continued to increase, not only for ﬁre calls, but also for emergency medical service response. When additional EMS calls placed a strain on the department’s only Rescue Company, the members of Engine Company 4 stepped up, successfully lobbying for a North-side ambulance.
In addition to their fire duties, the volunteers took extensive training courses to become EMTs and paramedics, and began responding to EMS calls with a spare GMC panel truck, which was outﬁtted as an ambulance and nicknamed the “bread truck” for its boxy appearance.
Today, in place of the original Buffalo and bread truck is a fully equipped Pierce pumper and a state-of-the-art Advanced Life Support ambulance. And the men and woman of Engine 4 are still rising to the challenge, dedicated to serving the community with professional fire, EMS and emergency rescue services.