Ladder Co #2
By the spring of 1956, Chief Dominick Santoro could see a transformation taking place in East Meadow. What was once a patchwork of farms was now blossoming into Nassau County’s largest suburban community. He convinced the Board of Fire Commissioners that an additional fire company was needed on the north side of the district to protect the volume of new homes, and he had just the place to put it.
A newly erected two-bay firehouse, on Newbridge Road in Levittown, the northern edge of the East Meadow Fire District, would do just ﬁne. On March 22, at 8:40 p.m., Chief Santoro presided over the ﬁrst meeting of the newly formed Ladder Company Two.
Captain Jeremiah Soper took command of the 13-member company, distributing second-hand coats, boots and helmets to the new ﬁreﬁghters. The new ladder company was assigned a hand-me-down 1937 Buffalo pumper, which was eventually replaced with a hand-me-down 1950 Ward LaFrance truck, known as the “Quad” for its multifunction capabilities. In 1971, Ladder Two received its ﬁrst new truck, an 85-foot Snorkel.
The new company gelled quickly. Its ﬁrst major commercial fire came on January 27, 1958, at Shoe King Sam, on Hempstead Turnpike. Over the next ten years, the department’s newest company would also become known for its dedication to training and innovation on the fireground and in emergency medical services. Through the 1960s and 70s, Ladder 2 members were promoted to the rank of Chief, elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners, and appointed to the Nassau County Fire Service Academy. As their knowledge and experience were brought back to the company, it propelled newer ﬁreﬁghters to excel even further. A number of these members were appointed to the FDNY and NYPD, as well as to the Nassau and Suffolk police departments, and the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Ofﬁce. Many received medals and citations for life-saving and acts of bravery.
During the next 64 years, Ladder Company Two, now proudly known as “The Newbridge Express,” evolved from a group of volunteers with nothing but second-hand equipment and a love of community service to a highly professional and well-respected ladder company – trained, equipped and ready to respond to any emergency.