The Montauk Fire Department began its celebration of its 75th anniversary on Sunday with an ecumenical memorial service at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church honoring all those who have served the department who have since died. A roll call of the deceased firemen and ladies auxiliary members was read, with the church bell rung after each name.
As members of the New York City police band played bagpipes and drums, department members were led into the church by Dutch Riege and Vinnie Franzone, assistant fire chiefs. The chief, Joe Lenahan, was tending to his ailing mother, who has since died, and was unable to attend.
Essex Street was lined with firefighting apparatus, including antique engines. After the ceremony, the participants gathered at the Montauk Firehouse for a buffet.
According to Eddie Ecker, the former East Hampton Town police chief who is acting as spokesman for the Fire Department, the celebration will continue through the coming months, culminating in a three-day event on Columbus Day weekend. “There is going to be a cocktail party Saturday, June 7. We’ll have a tent set right in front of the firehouse in the grassy area,” he said.
A parade down the hamlet’s Main Street on Columbus Day will coincide with the annual fireworks display. The October weekend will also feature the annual inspection dinner at Gurney’s Inn and an open house at the fire station. Additional events are still being planned, Mr. Ecker said.