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Hopewell Fire Department: Making a difference for 60 years

The Hopewell Fire Department is celebrating its six decades of history by hosting a blood drive this Saturday, another way to save lives and make a difference in the community.

The department traces its origin to a fire in 1952, which destroyed a house on County Road 46, County House Road — and ignited interest in the town of Hopewell in forming a volunteer fire department.

Early in 1952, George VanTroost’s house caught on fire. The Canandaigua Fire Department was called and several Hopewell residents started calling neighbors — and phones with 10 to 15 people on a party line allowed the word to spread fast. The neighbors started emptying out the house while the Canandaigua pumper was on the way. This was a long run, in unfamiliar area, for Canandaigua’s fire truck.

The pumper arrived and house stripping continued. Firefighters had trouble getting water out of the truck. The stripping now included plumbing fixtures and the house was nearly emptied. Needless to say, the fire was gaining all the while, even after they started pumping water on the fire as availability of water was limited. The house burned to the ground.

Following the fire, residents at a Hopewell Grange meeting, felt it was a shame Hopewell did not have a fire department, as possibly the house could have been saved. Support grew at a subsequent Grange meeting for the establishment of a volunteer fire company. The people interested in taking part in forming a fire department met at the Grange on July 29, 1958 — which led to the incorporation of the Hopewell Fire Department the folowing year.

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