Raquette Lake Fire Department Celebrates 75 Years

75 years of Raquette

After the disastrous fire in February 1927, residents of Raquette Lake decided it was time to establish their own fire protection. In March of 1936 a petition and hearing was held to create the Raquette Lake Fire District #2. In order to cover a larger area and to get the fire company going, the Fire District #2 was dissolved, and the Raquette Lake Fire District #3 was formed in 1947.


In November 1947 the Raquette Lake Fire Department was organized. The first fire engine was built by “Bing” Aldous from used and donated parts. Until the fire house was built in 1950 it was stored in Bing’s Garaage.


In 1948 the fire district purchased its first official fire truck and it is currently being refurbished.

The Raquette Lake Ladies Auxiliary was organized in 1953 and holds fundraisers to support the on-going efforts to fund the new building which is being constructed across route 28 from the location of the current fire house. Over one million dollars has been raised to fund the new Fire Department building with the new construction slated to be completed in 2023.

By Lorraine Esposito

For the Adirondack Express

This year, the Raquette Lake Fire Department is celebrating 75 years of service.

The members of the Raquette Lake Fire Department would like to honor those who came before them, recognize all who are currently serving, and express appreciation for those who will carry on the legacy into the future. We would like to give thanks to the countless volunteers and the support of our community. All residents are invited to celebrate 75 years of volunteer fire fighting with the Raquette Lake Fire Department on September 5, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the Village Green.

The day will be filled with fun for the whole family. We will begin the day at 8 a.m. with music by Ryan Leddick and free coffee and donuts sponsored by Stewart’s Shops. At 11:30 a.m. there will be a parade which will showcase equipment used in firefighting including various engines and tankers. The parade route will begin at the Raquette Lake School and conclude at the Village Green where the day’s events will be taking place.

Admission is free. There will be food, games and races, a bounce house, family activities, raffle baskets, costumed characters, antique firefighting equipment and historical displays and more.  The Fire Department will be serving hot dogs, hamburgers, deep fried turkey sandwiches and Steamship Round beef sandwiches. At 1 p.m., Mitch Frasier will be performing on the green. At 6 p.m., Michelle Howland and Tyler Peter will be performing and the long awaited boat raffle winner will be drawn. Be sure to get your last minute tickets at the event for a Qwest 18 foot triple tube pontoon boat with Suzuki 115 HP 4 stroke outboard engine with a genesis trailer.

All proceeds will go to continuing the mission of the Raquette Lake Fire Department as we begin the move into our new firehouse.

Special pictorial postmark cancellation on September 2

The past and present officers and members of the Raquette Lake Fire Department would like to extend our appreciation for all the help and support we have received in the past 75 years. We would like to commemorate this special event with a pictorial postmark cancellation. This will take place on Friday, September 2 at the Raquette Lake Post Office from 1-3 p.m. Anyone wishing to join, donate, or wish additional information are asked to call (315) 354-4644.

A bit of history

The Raquette Lake Fire Department was organized in November of 1947.

The first fire engine was built by “Bing” Aldous from used and/or donated parts. The fire truck was stored in Bing’s garage.

A fire house was built around 1950 with land donated by Laurine and Bert Gardner. Materials were gathered from donations, and volunteers donated their time to build the fire house on its present location on Rt. 28.

Today’s squad

Currently, the Raquette Lake Fire Department is made up of 67 Members, two fire trucks, a fire boat, a rescue snowmobile, and an ambulance. The department provides fire protection, including emergency medical service calls, fire calls, hazardous condition calls, technical rescue calls, and other calls such as assisting the public or false alarms.  Be it on shore, on the lake, across the lake, in the woods, or on a mountain, the RLFD is available for any and all emergencies.

Over the past years they have responded to medical and trauma emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, boating accidents, water and ice rescues, search and rescues, as well as the more common structure, chimney, car and forest fires.  They are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  

Raquette Lake Ambulance Squad is a part of the all-volunteer Raquette Lake Fire Department. Its 76-mile ambulance transport to Utica is the longest in NY State. The fire department and ambulance squad participate in mutual aid and 911 Dispatch by Herkimer County. We would not be able to do the job without mutual aid from crews along our hospital route. Advanced life support providers from Inlet, Old Forge and Woodgate regularly hop on our “rig” to assist. We sincerely appreciate the efforts of the EMS squads in our neighboring communities.

The Auxiliary

Supported by the RLFD Ladies Auxiliary (organized in 1953) The Ladies Auxiliary holds numerous fund raising functions to support the ongoing maintenance on the fire house, apparatus, and equipment. Some of these fundraisers include the Strawberry festival, pancake breakfast, hunters dinner and spaghetti and meatball dinner. The Ladies Auxiliary currently has 17 members.

The Big Auction is one of the events that pull in hundreds of supporters. This year’s auction raised $38,042 with two anonymous matching donors to support the fire department.


Esposito, Lorraine, (2022.08.26). Day of Festivities Set for September 5th, Adirondack Express, accessed 8/29/2 https://www.adirondackexpress.com/raquette-lake-fire-department-to-celebrate-75-years/ accessed 8/29/22

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