History of the Knapp Creek Fire Department

Organized August 29,1946

Knapp Creek New York, home of the Knapp Creek Volunteer Fire Department located in the southwest part of the township of Allegany, New York, has played an important part in the development of the oil industry in our country. The first oil well was drilled about 1878.

About one hundred and ten years prior to the organization of the fire dept, a narrow gauge railroad puffed its way over these hills from Olean, NY to Bradford, Pa and return. Knapp Creek, then a frontier town in the pioneer oil days with a population of about 1500 people, 13 saloons, Chinese laundry, no churches, and no fire protection.

Thirteen was an unlucky number in about the year 1890. Over one-third of the town was destroyed by fire.

August 29,1946, Knapp Creek organized its Volunteer fire company. An organizing committee composed of Richard Nenno, James Dorsey, Stewart Greely, Henri Staley and Harold Tapp called a meeting of about sixty people in the local schoolhouse of Knapp Creek. Officers elected were as follows.

  • Richard Nenno - President
  • James Dorsey - Fire Chief
  • Robert Pepperdine – 1st Asst. Fire Chief
  • James Brahaney - 2ndAsst. Fire Chief
  • Harold Tapp - Secretary
  • Roland Smith - Treasure

Knapp Creek Fire Department was incorporated on May 19,1948 after purchasing an Army surplus 4-wheel drive with a 500 gallon tank and a front mounted pump.

Until June 15, 1955, an old barn located in the center of town had been used as a firehouse, which was replaced by a cement block building large enough to house the old truck and a 1500-gallon tanker.

Knapp Creek was one of the first to organize in the rural area between Olean, NY and Bradford, Pa. October of 1958, a Buick ambulance was added to the Department. June of 1962, the Fire Department acquired the local schoolhouse, which was remodeled to accommodate the fire equipment. Shortly thereafter, bingo was added a major fundraiser.

In 1966, a new American La France mid-ship pumper with a 750 G.P.M. pump and a 1000-gallon booster tank was purchased. In 1968, a new bay was added to the Fire House and a 1968 G.M.C. Tanker was added with a 1500-gallon tank with a 250 G.P.M. P.T.O. driven pump was added to the fleet. 1972, the 1946 Army surplus pumper was replaced with a 1972 G.M.C. 4 wheel drive brush truck with a 250-gallon booster tank along with a 90 G.P.M. P.T.O. driven pump. 1976 a Chevrolet Step Van added to the fleet to carry firefighters and equipment. The 1950 ambulance has been replaced 5 times with current ambulance being a 1993 Ford F-350 with a wheeled coach ambulance body.

All of our Fire apparatus was purchased with cash by various fundraisers until 1990 when the Board Of Fire Commissioners was formed in the Town of Allegany. We now contract with them for fire and ambulance protection in the southwestern portion of the township. Since the inception of the Fire Commissioners, we have had and wish to continue a good working relationship with them.