The Rush Fire District, located 12 miles south of the City of Rochester, covers 38 square miles including 7 miles of I-390 and the state correction facilities at Industry. It is bordered by the Towns of Henrietta on the north, Mendon on the East, Livingston Country. on the south and the Genesee River on the west. The district is the entire Town of Rush, New York. The buildings and Apparatus along with related equipment and reserve fund amount 5 million dollars. The 2018 cost to provide fire, rescue, ambulance & fire prevention services for the Rush Fire District was $ 350,000.
Dispatch: When phones were first place in town all you had to do is pick it up and tell the operator you had a fire. The operator located in West Henrietta would set off the siren and the fire fighter would pick up their phone and get the information. When dial came in we had a seven digit number that rang 5 phones in homes and businesses in town – the person who answered would set off the siren and wait for a firefighter to pick up the phone at the fire station and give them the information. Then the City of Rochester set up a county wide number for all fires in the county and had a system of tones that would set off the siren and open up the home monitors that were in the firefighters homes, they were the size of a bread box. We then got smaller radios and pagers as time went on. Today we are dispatched by Monroe County 911 in Rochester which is equipped with both ANI and ALI databases to get correct locations from callers on hard wire phones. The pagers are much smaller now and we also have some digital text paging equipment. Our calls are also sent to members cell phone as a back up to all our other alerting systems. The fire station is equipped with MDT (Mobile Data Terminals) and printer that give us the locations and information about the emergency call we are being dispatched to.
Insurance Rating of the Department (ISO): Our department is completely volunteer with 45 members. We have an ISO rating of 4 in the hydrant area (3/4 of the town). We have a 4X ISO rating in the dry area. In the non-hydrant area we have drafting sites and automatic mutual assistance with pumper/tankers from our neighbors for structure fires and type of fires unknown. We operate from two locations in the town.
EMS Calls: 70% of the calls for service are for EMS and Rescue. We operate a NYS DOH Certified Ambulance Service with 25% of the membership having NYSDOH CFR or EMT-B certification. 90% of the members are US DOT First Responders and CPR/AED certified. We have six defibrillators in service on equipment, including two in “first responder” EMS officers private vehicles. Advance life-support is supplied by Henrietta Vol. Ambulance, Honeoye-Falls-Mendon Ambulance or commercial services from Rochester. ALS is automatically dispatched by 911 based on the call priority. In 2018 we did a total of 428 calls of which 250 were ambulance calls. We responded to 40 vehicle crashes. Our heavy extrication equipment was used at 4 of these MVAs. A basic life support equipped “first responder” is on scene of 90% of the EMS calls within 6 minutes of dispatch.
History of the Rush Fire Department
December 4th, 1920 the fire department began. A model “T” Ford chemical fire truck was purchased and housed for $60.00 per year in John Behnks barn. In 1926 the Town of Rush gave $250 towards the fire department operation. In July 1930 the fire department became incorporated. In 1930 a model “A” Ford fire truck was bought. The fire house was part of the new town hall built for $10,000 in 1936. In 1937 the present carnival field was purchased for $550.00. In 1957 a two-bay garage was built on the that site by the fire department for the rescue truck and ambulance. It was used until 1971 when the Rush Fire District built the present station one at 1971 Rush-Mendon Road on land donated by the fire department. In 1998 a $400,000 addition was added to this station and the 45KW emergency generator was converted to natural gas. In 1964 the fire district constructed two-bay fire station at West Rush and East River roads. In 2000 this building was refurbished and a 10 KW emergency generator added. Both stations are fully alarmed and sprinkler protected.
In 1920 Rush Truck #1 was a Ford model “T” Chemical type apparatus. It had two 40 gal. tanks that worked like soda/acid fire extinguishers.
Rush Truck #2 was a Model “A” Ford with a 300 GPM pump & 200 gal. of water.
Truck #3 was built by Rush members from a wrecked 1931 Ford coal truck donated by Rush Oil Co. A 400 GPM front mounted pump and water tank was installed by RFD members.
In 1947 a Federal – Buffalo 500 GPM pumper with 400 gal. of water was put in service. We still have that truck today and use it in parades and antique musters.
In 1953 a GMC “Young” high-pressure (1,000 PSI van-pelt pump) pumper/tanker (1,000 gal. of water) was bought. Rush members installed a 500 GPM front mounted pump for drafting and moving more water.
1964 GMC 4×4 pickup was built by RFD members to be a grass fire truck and was used until 2004. It was also used to pull the 14′ rescue boat and ATV. This unit was sold by sealed bid to James Princehorn a Rush Firefighter. Cost $5,000
1964 Ford C-950 Cab-over “American Fire Apparatus” pumper was put in service. It was used it till 1995 and then sold to a department in Missouri.
1969 Ford C-950 Cab- over “American Fire Apparatus” pumper was then added to the fleet. This truck was replaced in 1992 and sold to Arkport FD.
In 1976 a Ford C-8000 “Sutphen” Pumper/tanker was purchased. This had a 750 GPM single stage “Hale” pump with 1000 gal. of water. It was our first diesel automatic unit. It was Lime-Yellow in color when delivered but painted red in 1988 when it was rebuilt by RD Murray in Buffalo. this pumper was purchased from the Rush Fire District by the Rush Fire Department and donated to the Birdsall FD in Allegany Co. in October of 2004. (Donated to Birdsall FD in 2004)
1992 a custom “Pierce-Dash” pumper/tanker was purchased to replace the 1969 Ford. This had a 1250 GPM “waterous” single stage pump with 1000 gal. of water. this unit also carries the portable pond & generator. 110V inverter, 1,300 ft. 5″ hose. (Refurbished in 2018) Equipped with a batt .”combo “Jaws of Life” tool.
In 1995 a Freightliner-Pierce foam pumper was placed in service to replace the 1964 Ford. It has a 1250 GPM single stage “waterous” pump with 750 Gal. of water in a poly-type tank. It has a 250 GPM foam system for both class A & B foam with 25 gal. foam tanks for each. Cost $ 165,000. (Sold to Gainsville FD in January of 2013).
For 20 years we operate a 1967 International (Ward-LaFrance) mini-pumper (750 GPM with 400 gal. of water) which is owned by the State of New York and housed at West Rush. It was returned to NYS in 2008 due to it becoming hard to maintain.
In March 2004 we took delivery of a 2004 HME-Smeal foam pumper/tanker, 1500 GPM (Waterous single stage pump), 1000 gal. of water (poly-tank) 1000 GPM “Hale” foam system w/ 40 gal. foam tank. Hydo-ladder rack, roll up doors and a 10KW built in generator. It is equipped with two sets of ground ladders and auto extrication equipment. 1,300 ft. 5″ hose. Cost $430,000
In September of 2004 we put in service a 2004 Ford F-350 4×4 Brush/Utility (Custom Built by RFD Members) 150 gal. water w/ Class A foam – 2500 watt inverter, 2 – 500 Watt Tele-lights front/rear mounted winch, slide out equipment tray. (Used to tow 14′ rescue boat and ATV on a trailer) Cost $ 35,000
April 2014 – 2014 Spartan Metro-Star/ Four Guys 6 man cab Quick Attack pumper. 470 HP motor, 5 speed automatic transmission, ABS brakes, Rollover prevention computer, Locking rear axle, 750 Gal. water tank, 40 gal. foam tank, 1500 GPM pump, Hale foam system, 2 sets of ladders, 1500 feet 5″ hose, 500 ft. 3″ hose, 250 ft. 2.5 inch hose hooked to a blitz fire nozzle. 2 reels to store attack lines and 2 1 3/4 attack lines. 12 volt LED 20,000 Lumen flood lights, roll up doors, TV monitor for right side and rear of truck with screens at pump panel and in cab. 5,000 Watt portable Generator. Cost $426,000
Rush Fire Department Rescue and Ambulance
The Ambulances: In 1939 the FD started the first ambulance service south of the city in Monroe County with a 1939 Chevrolet suburban that cost $790.00. In 1980, the Rush FD ambulance was the first fire department operated ambulance in Monroe County to be NYS certified. 20 years later ALL ambulances had to be NYS certified! Rush had one of the first radios in the ambulance that could contact the emergency rooms of area hospitals while in route with a patient. Since 1939 the fire department has purchased five more ambulances with money from fund drives, memorials and carnival profits.
- 1939 Chevrolet Ambulance cost $790.00
- 1951 Chevrolet “Barnett” Ambulance Cost $4,100.00
- 1963 Pontiac “Superior” Ambulance Cost $10,900.00
- 1970 Pontiac “Hi-top Superior” Cost $14,000.00
- 1970 Pontiac sold to Watkins Glen Race track and used by them for 10 years.
- 1979 Ford Mini-Modular “EVI” Ambulance Cost $25,000.00
- 1991 Ford “Road Rescue” Type III Cost $115,000
- 1991 Ford was sold to the City of Celaya in Mexico and will use it as an ambulance. (Replaced a 1960 Ford Econoline Van)
- 2004 Ford “Lifeline” Type I Ambulance Cost $110,000
- 2010 Ford “Marquet” Type III Ambulance Cost $130,000
We are one of the last free BLS ambulance service with completely Volunteer staffing in Monroe County. We cover 80% of our requests for service. That other 20% we use mutual aid or commercial services. 90% of our advance life support is provided by CHS Mobile Integrated Healthcare and there is a fee. There are no free advance life support (ALS) services. 25% of our firefighter are EMT’s. Over the years many of our responders have received awards and recognition from the regional & NYS EMS Council and American Red Cross.
“Rescue One” In 1957 Rush put in service the first heavy rescue unit in Monroe County (Radio call letters were “R-1”). It was a 1957 Ford F350 with a “Reading Body”. It carried a 10 ton porto-power, 20 ton jack, heavy duty cutting torch, metal cutting saw, generator w/ flood lights, numerous tools, portable pump & hose, small ladder and first aid equipment. For several years this unit was “first in” for serious accidents on the NYS thruway and was called mutual aid to area towns quite frequently. It won numerous “Best Rescue” at parades for many years. Groveland FD bought it and used it for 10 years.
In 1974 a larger Ford-Welch (C950) 14′ steel body rescue truck was purchased for $25,000. All the above equipment was put on plus: Front mounted 8,000 Lb electric winch, 10KW built in generator with 6-500 watt flood lights, electric cord on reels, supply of air bottles, 4 – air packs, more ladders, foam equipment, tarps & salvage equipment and the first electric “Jaws of Life” in Monroe county. We used the truck for 17 years. In 1991 this rescue was sold to Ovid Fire Department for $7,500 who used it for another 10 years. This truck also won many awards at local parades.
1991 $200,000 custom “Pierce Lance” rescue truck: This truck has all of the above equipment plus compressed air system w/ 150 foot of air line, 120 ton air bag lifting system, full set of extrication equipment, First aid equipment w/ 6 backboards – trauma bag – AED “stokes” basket, water rescue equipment (suits-ropes-vests), high lift jacks, rescue-Q-jack stablizing system, 25KW generator with 250 foot of cord on a reel, air bottle filling cascade system w/ 15 spare air tanks, portable generator, front mounted winch and signs & cones to shut down the highway if needed. Cost $200,000. This truck was sold to the Rushville FD in June of 2010.
2010 HME / EVI 18′ Rescue: The unit has a 6 person A/C cab area, 370 HP motor with automatic transmission. Anti-lock brakes, rollover prevention computer, rear and side cameras and a12,000 lbs front mounted winch. Most of the equipment from the 1991 Rescue was put on in addition to a 9,000 watt telescoping light tower, 35 KW generator, 2- 2000 Watt portable combo flood lights with generators, 6,000 PSI cascade air filling system, 3 Hurst tool reels with 100′ of hoses for three extrication tools to be operated at the same time along with a portable power unit for back up. 1 – 300 PSI air line on a reel , 2 reels of 220V electric lines on each corner of the box. 1500 watt flood lights on the sides of the body and front and rear flood lights. Rescue Jacks, New High Pressure Air Bags and Struts Stabilization equipment. Slide out trays and drop down trays in the compartments. All compartments have roll up doors. The Rush Fire District paid for the Air system and the light tower ($35,000) The remaining $404,000 came from part of the receipts of 19 years of fund drive, memorials, carnival profit and the sale of the 1991 unit. This $ 440,000 truck should last us 25 years.
2013 4×4 Kubota ATV with trailer put in service. Cost $15,000 – Tracks for this unit bought in 2014.
2014 – New double deck boat trailer for the two boats in service 2014.
The Rush Fire District
Formed in 1927, with a budget then of $1,300, this board consists of five town residents, elected by the registered voters (one each December for 5-year terms), to serve as fire commissioners. It is a volunteer position. Mandated by law, these commissioners oversee the tax money collected for fire services purposes by the town of Rush. The present rate is $1.15 per 1,000 of assessed valuation ($100,000 home pays $115.00 per year). The budget for 2020 is $360,000 .This included funds into an apparatus replacement reserve account and a building/maintenance reserve account. January 1, 2019 balance in these accounts will be $900,000 (Approx $ 280,000 was used for the new county wide “trunking” radio system that we have in place in 2020).
New York State Law – the Board of fire commissioners set policy for the fire department and ambulance service that operate in the town of Rush. The district provides the larger trucks, buildings, insurance, heat, lights and fuel, some training funds and most of the fire and rescue equipment. They also review and approve all operational procedures and SOP’s that the firefighters and officers use.
Open public meetings are held each month the third Tuesday at 7 pm at the main fire station. The present Chairman of the Board is Scott Goodman.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO THE FIRE DISTRICT FROM THE BEGINNING: Rush Fire District was formed in 1927. The fire department held annual fund drives and went door to door to raise money to operate the department at that time the district budget was $1,600. Very little tax money was available to run the operation. In the years that followed the district provided E-9 and TA18.
FD BUILT GARAGE FOR AMBULANCE & RESCUE TRUCK: In 1957 the Department built a small garage on their property at 1957 Rush-Mendon Road for the ambulance and rescue truck R-1 – Which was the FIRST rescue truck in Monroe Co.
FD DONATED LAND FOR STATION: In 1971 the Fire District built station #1 for a cost of $220,000 and made a deal with the Fire Department for them to pay the utilities for 10 years due to the low tax base for fire district operations. The Fire Department donated the land where the station one was built.
STATION ONE: When it was built the district did not have the fund to pay for the heat, lights and insurance so the FIRE DEPARTMENT agreed to pay those bill for TEN years.
FD PURCHASED GENERATOR: In 1977 after a major power outage in town the Fire Department purchased and installed a 45 KW Gas Generator for $10,000 – It was later converted to natural gas. In 1991 it ran for 4 days straight and we responded to over 400 calls that week…
FD MEMBERS CONTRIBUTIONS: Over the past years – the past officers and past member did a lot of the maintenance on the fire apparatus and buildings & ground which save the taxpayers tons of money. We are blessed with some very talented, handy and knowledgeable people.
FD PURCHASED & DONATIONS: Over the year the Fire Department & Ladies Aux has donated close to TWO MILLION $$$ for 8 Ambulances, 4 Rescue Trucks, 2 Brush Trucks, Boats & trailers along with radio, pagers, base stations, Jaws of Life , ambulance equipment and equipment too numerous to list. Many of these projects the district paid ½ and The FD paid ½ like for the sign out front of station one. These fund came from fund drives, carnival profits, memorials, tractor pulls, dog shows and other fund raising events.
OUR RELATIONSHIP: In 1927 the Budget was $1,600 and in 2020 it is $350,000. The Fire District & Fire Department has had relationship and cooperation together which is unheard of in most places. We are sure that this will continue and acknowledge the officer and members now and in the past that has made this possible. We can tell you that what we have here we take for granted and expect nothing less – because as AL SWEET has jokingly said “we have always done it that way” and in this area of cooperation and financial assistance he is 100% correct.
The Rush Fire Department and Ambulance Operation
Who provides the service? In the Town of Rush the Rush Fire Department, Inc. provides the personnel to operate the ambulance, fire and rescue equipment. All the officers and members are volunteers – not one our members are paid! The fire department also provides fire prevention activities and for over 78 years have sponsored a cub scout pack, boy scout troop and since 1976 a firematic explorer post for the youth of Rush. Since 1960 the department has provided the “Al Mack” memorial scout building for the troop 134 activities. In 2003 we took on the sponsorship of a girl scouting program – “Daisy Troop 710” is our troop. The FD has an annual fund drive and carnival to raise fund for the FIRE DEPARTMENT operation. All the fund drive money goes toward new and replacement equipment, training, seminars and replacement funds over the years for 7 ambulances, 4 rescue truck and 2 four wheel drive brush unit. 2 ATVs, 2 Boats w/ trailer. 90% of the ambulance operation is funded by the Fire Department NOT THE FIRE DISTRICT TAXPAYERS.
Water Rescue Team
Rush is part of the fifth battalion Water Rescue Team which is made up of Rush, Honeoye Falls, Scottsville, Henrietta and West Brighton FDs. We have a boat and related water rescue equipment including $6,000 worth of ice rescue suits. It is an optional squad of firefighters who train every month for those type situations involving water rescue. In 2004 4 Rush FD members of this team and the participating FDs received Monroe Counties Highest “Lifesaving Award” for the year for a rescue at the Rush dam in May 2004. In 2005 these four members received the FASNY (Firemens Association of the State of NY) highest life-saving award for New York State.
The Rush FD Ladies Auxiliary
Formed in 1948, these ladies assist the firefighters at emergency scenes and also provide other services to the community. (Children’s Christmas party, Easter egg hunt, Carnival Kiddie Parade, Halloween Party, Spring Chicken & Biscuit dinner and Election day dinner) They run the food building at the carnival, dog shoe and fall festival. They sponsor an annual “Betty Wilkins” memorial college scholarship. They have donated thousands of dollars toward new fire, rescue truck and ambulance equipment and the up grades made at the carnival field. In 2003 they purchased 3 defribrillators at a cost of $6,000. A new building on the carnival field was completed in 1998 and cost over $40,000. ($4,000 a year from carnival profit for 9 years and $ 4,000 from the ladies paid for the building).
Rush Explorer Post 634
The Rush FD sponsors a fire/rescue & EMS explorer post. Boys and girls age 14 thru 21 can join. These youth are trained in fire, rescue and first aid (CPR) and drill with the active firefighters. They ride the equipment when it responds in the non-emergency mode (no lights or siren). They have meeting and drills and also fun activities during the year. The Rush FD has sponsored this post since 1976.
A very active fire prevention program is provided by the fire prevention committee. Working with the Leary School and the Rush Public Library, the results have been no child related fires or false alarms in over 25 years! $200 is awarded annually to the 8 fire prevention poster winners in the fourth grade. An annual essay contest is also conducted with three cash prizes (total $150.00) and a plaque for “First Place”. A “stories & sirens” program is put on for the younger residents each May with over 100 children and parents attending. Many other programs are conducted during the school year.
Line of Duty Deaths
Two Rush firefighters have given their lives in the service of others as volunteer firefighter for the Rush Fire Department.
Asst. Chief Albert Mack was electrocuted on December 29, 1959 in front of the Rush Methodist Church during an ice storm on a wires down call.
Fire Police Officer and Town of Rush Judge Oscar Dell died from a heart attack on January 7, 1988 while assisting at a working house fire on Pinnacle Road.
Past Chiefs Officers
- John Behnk Sr. 1920-1927
- Frank Sherman 1927-1931
- Edwin Behnk 1931-1937
- Vincent Behnk 1937-1944
- Clarence Futter 1944-1946
- James Leary 1946-1947
- Vincent Behnk 1947-1958
- Leslie Faugh 1958-1967
- Alvin Sweet 1967-1974
- Anthony Rossi 1975-1976
- Robert Faugh 1977-1981
- Richard Wheeler 1982-1985
- Ronald Faugh 1986-1988
- Paul Sheppard 1989-1990
- Mike Terzo 1991-2000
- Dale Sweet 2000-2008
- James Bucci Jr. 2009-2016
- James McNeil 2017-2018
- Jamesd Bucci Jr. 2019-2019
- Jonathan Faugh 2019 – Present