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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 tight!"

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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