BELMONT CHEMICAL, ENGINE & HOSE CO. 1 (701)
LOCATED: 96 Gotham Avenue
"Dancing with the Devil"
Belmont Chemical Engine and Hose Company ( Engine 1) was organized on January 5, 1922 due to the need for fire protection at Belmont Racetrack and the increasing population in the surrounding neighborhood. The new fire company started out in a garage on Hempstead Turnpike and Biltmore Avenue. The owner of the garage was a member of the company and the very first Chief of the Department, John (J.P.) Lehrer. To this day members of the Lehrer family still belong to Engine 1. Local horse racing tycoon August Belmont, Jr., helped fund the company and its first fire truck a 1922 Packard Motor Truck. Engine 1 was the third fire company to be organized in Elmont. It was a "neighborhood fire company" which operated independently, as did the other two companies at the time.
Engine Company # 1 operated at J.P. Lehrer's garage until June of 1924, when they relocated to a rented building on Biltmore Avenue. They remained at that location until 1934 when Engine 1 moved to its current location on Gotham Avenue. Members used their own money to help build the new firehouse.
In 1950, the Elmont Fire Department purchased its first ambulance which was housed at the Gotham Avenue firehouse for 20 years. In 1979 Engine 1 was one of the first companies on Long Island to be equipped with a five-inch supply hose on their apparatus. This resulted in many requests for mutual aid assistance from other area fire departments.
Engine 1 has had several members who have served for 50 years or more. They include Ex-Chief and Commissioner Joseph Leher, Ex-Chief and Commissioner Robert L. Conti, and Honorary Chiefs Mel Triola and "Joe Joe" Nocella.
Today Engine 1 proudly maintains its volunteer spirit, providing emergency and fire services to the westernmost section of Elmont (boardering Queens) as well as the rest of the Elmont Fire District.