Flanders Fire Department leads its 75th anniversary parade on Flanders Road Sept. 30, 2023. Courtesy photo: Westhampton Beach Fire Department

Flanders Fire Department celebrated its 75th anniversary Saturday with a parade on Flanders Road from fire department headquarters to Flanders Men’s Club, where firefighters, their families, friends and supporters gathered for food, refreshments and music.

Fire departments from across the region participated in the parade, which stepped off at 3 p.m. under overcast and occasionally drizzling skies.

A proclamation from Assembly Member Jodi Giglio, commemorating the Flanders Fire Department milestone, was presented to the department by her legislative aide, Mark McLaughlin.

Until the Flanders Fire Department was formed in 1948, the Hampton Bays Fire Department covered the Flanders area. The organization of the department was spurred by a fatal fire on Bay Avenue in December 1947 that claimed the lives of a woman and her two children, according to the Flanders Fire Department’s website.

By 1949, the department had its first fire truck, a 1931 Brockway Pumper donated by Fox’s Salvage Yard on Flanders Road.

In 1950, land where department headquarters would be built was donated by the owner of a local duck farm, Ted Havens, and construction of the firehouse by fire department members got underway. It was completed three years later.

The Flanders Fire Department was funded solely by contributions for its first 10 years of existence, until the formation in 1958 of the Flanders Fire District, which is empowered to levy taxes to fund firefighting operations.

The department today protects about 2,500 homes and about 2,000 year-round residents. About 68 percent of the land in the district is publicly owned parkland, most of which is pine barrens. For that reason, the department is known as “Keepers of the Pine Barrens.”

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Ken Rubino

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.