In The Line Of Duty......
In the early mourning hours of Sunday, July 11, 1926, tragedy struck
the Westbury Fire Department.
At approximately 2:25 am, the sirens sounded in Westbury for fire at the
Lords estate in the Wheatley Hills area of Old Westbury. Firefighters
Thomas Malaney and Chief Tom Walsh ran to the quarters of Hose Company
No 1, as they had done for years.
As the Company 1's LaFrance engine rumbled out of the firehouse, Tom
Malaney jumped aboard the rear step. Joe Krupp was operating the
apparatus, with Bill Hoffman riding in the passenger's side. Chief Walsh
was riding alongside the driver on the running board.
The pumper was responding east on Maple Avenue, when the accelerator
on the engine became stuck. The driver Joe Krupp, worked frantically in
an attempt to release the accelerator. The traffic device at the
intersection of School Street, known as the "dummy cop," was directly in
the path of the fire truck. The roads were wet and slippery from rain.
"Steady fellows!" shouted the driver, I can clear the front wheels, hold
The pumper skidded into the "silent cop," the left rear wheel of the
engine striking the base of the traffic signal. The engine leaped into
the air, landing at a right angle some twenty-feet away. At the moment
of the collision, Firefighter Malaney, had one arm through his turnout
coat, and, was attempting to put his other arm into the coat. The force
of the collision threw firefighter Malaney up and over the side of the
pumper, where he struck his head.
Chief Walsh was also thrown from the pumper and when Joe Krupp and Bill
Hoffman ran to his aid, he shouted "Tom Malaney was on the rear step!"
Firefighter William Knoller found Tom and rushed him to the Nassau
County Hospital in the Lincoln Hose Cart, where firefighter Malaney was
pronounced dead on arrival.
On Wednesday July 14, 1926, a Mass was held for Firefighter Malaney
at St. Bridgid's Church. The church was filled to capacity, with the
entire department in attendance, as well as members from the surrounding
towns. Following the services, Firefighter Malaney's body was laid to
rest in the cemetery on the Church's grounds.
A plaque in honor of Firefighter Malaney's supreme sacrifice was
dedicated on December 13, 1926, with funds donated by Mr. Lord. The
plaque depicted below, as it appears in fire headquarters today.
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