In the early part of 1940, two men felt there was a strong need for fire protection in the Town of Ulster. These two men were Albert Montavani and John Osterhoudt. With only their drive and determination to help them, they each set forth to make this dream a reality.

In the beginning, finding local residents to commit to this new endevor were difficult. Trying to convince someone to get out of bed, during the worst weather and at all hours of the night was not easy, but within a short time Mr. Montavani and Osterhoudt had twelve local men prepared to make this sacrifice. A meeting was held at the Lincoln Park Inn to discuss the future of the Ulster Hose Fire Department. Here is a list of the first group of men who helped establish the Ulster Hose Fire Department; Albert Montavani, John W. Osterhoudt, William J. Williams Sr., Donald F. Hopper, Edward B. Avery, Frank Avery, Chuck Hummer, Bud Rappleyea, Joe McNierney, Charles Thiel, Bill Harbig, Bill Pieper, Al Kiersted Sr., James Krom, Charles Rose, Dick Lamb, Ralph Hayner Sr., Jack Kolts, Halsey Bulivant, Charles Mueller and Harold Macholdt. These 21 men were the original “Pride of the Avenue”.

The first vehicle that was used by these men was Mr. Osterhoudt’s own Packer which he donated to the cause. The vehicle was equipped with rakes, brooms, fire extinguishers and a first aid kit. A button had been installed on a pole in front of Mr. Osterhoudt’s home, that when pushed would activate a siren. Upon hearing the siren, the men would rush out to the street and wait to be picked up by Mr. Osterhoudt on his way to the call.

At the end of 1941, the country had entered World War II, making the need for the fire department and even greater one. It was at this time that we entered into the Civilian Defense Program which was led by James Krom.

During 1942 and 1943, the men struggled to provide a service to the residents. Money and equipment were in short supply. Fund raisers were set up and petitions were circulated in hopes to bring about the birth of the department.

Finally, after four years of hard work on March 9, 1944 the first recorded meeting of the Ulster Hose Fire Department was held. Elections were held resulting in the following;

President – John Osterhoudt

Vice President – Albert Montavani

Secretary / Treasurer – James Lanigan

Chief – Albert Montavani

Assistant Chief – William Williams Sr.

1st Station DedicationAlso at this time, six men were named as Fire Commissioners, they were; Charles Thiel (Chairman), William Pratt (Treasurer), A.H. Chambers, Charles Bevorant, Ben Ashton and Fred Gildersleeve.

On January 6, 1945 a 1936 Chevy Truck was purchased from Phelan & Cahill for $200.00. A 275 gallon oil tank had been cleaned up and mounted on the truck along with a portable pump and several lengths of 1 1/2 hose. This would be the departments first official fire engine. In May of 1945, the first meeting of the Ladies Auxiliary was held.

On December 5, 1945 “official” maps of the new fire district along with the legal papers showing the formation of the Ulster Hose Fire Department were sent to the underwriters and were accepted. The men of the Ulster Hose Fire Department continued to provide fire and medical service to the residents with one fire engine, out of Mr. Osterhoudt’s home until November 1946 when a committee was formed to begin the plans to build a new fire house. Planning and construction of the new building would take until February 1948.

In August 1947, the Fire District purchased a new Mack Truck with a 500 gallon tank and pump. The first meeting in the new building was held on February 3, 1948 and an Open House was held to show the community our new building. The next change to occur would be in September 1952 when an addition would be added to the building to handle the departments growing needs. Over the past several years, the department had purchased newer and larger equipment to meet the needs of the growing community. Changes would continue to take place to the building, with the last construction project finishing in 1969.

Old StationBy 1972 all the fire phones in the district had been replaced with County Wide dispatching. The number of calls responded to in 1979 was 363. By 1982 the department had a certified dive team. In November of 1986 a vote passed to build a new fire station. In April of 1987 the old station is sold to the Kerhonkson Tire Company. In September 1987, a dedication was held for the new fire station on Ulster Avenue. At the end of 1992 the department had responded to 805 calls. 1993 did not slow down, we ended the year with a record 973 calls.

In 2017, an addition was put onto headquarters on Ulster Avenue, expanding the space necessary by the growth of the department to meet the demand of a growing district and expanded responsibilities by the members. Ulster Hose is present at numerous community events, fundraisers, and wakes/funerals, continually striving to give back to the people who have always supported us.

The department has evolved from a one vehicle department to its current fleet of more than 15 vehicles.  The men and women of the Ulster Hose Fire Department are proud of their history and look forward to many, many years of dedicated service to the community.

Recent Yearly Call History:

Year Number of Calls
2023 1,587
2022 1,827
2021 1,539
2020 1,386
2019 1,434
2018 1,590
2017 1,573
2016 1,494
2015 1,414
2014 1,203
2013 1,226
Totals: 16,273
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