"In verbo veritatis" (2 Cor 6:7)

May 13, 2013

Nanuet Fire Siren 1953-1954

During the last year of the Korean War (1953-1954), my father, Joseph B. Komonchak, edited a newsletter for members of the Nanuet Fire Department and other citizens of the hamlet who were serving in the military to keep them informed about doings in the Fire Department and elsewhere in Nanuet and indeed in Rockland County, N.Y. I have copied and scanned the issues of the newsletter, which provide a series of snapshots of local history in the early 1950’s. Most of them are easily legible, but some issues were mimeographed on colored paper and are more difficult to read.

NFS – 1 – February 1953

NFS – 2 – March 1953

NFS – 3 – April 1953

NFS – 4 – May 1953

NFS – 5 – June 1953

NFS – 6 – July 1953

NFS – 7 – August 1953

NFS – 8 – September 1953

NFS – 9 – October 1953

NFS – 10 – November 1953

NFS – 11 – Christmas 1953

NFS – 12 – January 1954

NFS – 13 – February 1954

NFS – 14 – March 1954



  1. Hello, Fr. Komonchak. I have been reading the Nanuet Fire Siren and just found the West Nyack edition from earlier years. I’d love to share them on the Facebook page, Rockland County, back in the Day. What a joy it would be to many of my age, Class of ’58, to read about the events/births/deaths/other right from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. May I post the links to them?
    Judy Martin

    Comment by judygermaine — August 1, 2017 @ 3:28 pm

    • Yes, Judy, feel free to supply links to the two newsletters my father edited. I would be happy also if people wanted to send comments about them here, to my blog.

      Comment by komonchak — August 1, 2017 @ 3:56 pm

      • Hi Fr. Komonchak. I posted both of your SIRENS on Rockland County Back in the Day. If you are on Facebook you can check out the comments. I mentioned the fact that you’d not mind have comments posted here, but I think many people don’t take the time unless it’s right in front of them. Sad, but that’s the nature of the social media age.

        Comment by judygermaine — June 18, 2018 @ 2:55 pm

        • Thanks, Judy, for spreading the word about the “Sirens.” I’m not on Facebook so I won’t see any comments there. Has there been much interest.

          I took down a box the other day and found in it a whole bunch of letters written around the Christmas of 1944 from servicemen. I’ve got other responses sent to my father from the boys in service thanking him for the newsletter. I think their descendants would be interested in these messages, but I haven’t figured out yet how to bring them to people’s attention. And I probably shouldn’t do that until I’ve saved or scanned them all.

          But thanks again for the interest.

          Comment by komonchak — June 23, 2018 @ 12:59 pm

  2. I have lived in Rockland County my whole life, 84 years next month. What changes we have seen! All the lovely farms are gone! My parents knew your parents very well! They were Martha and Henry Reuben. We lived in Oakbrook. I taught in Clarkstown and was a principal as well, 34 years altogether. Your sister also taught in Clarkstown. I remember all the places that are listed.

    Comment by Ruth Hess — November 17, 2017 @ 4:54 pm

    • Ruth: Thank you so much for commenting on the “Nanuet Fire Siren.” I’m glad that it brought back pleasant memories. Have you seen the one for the West Nyack Fire Company?

      It was my sister Bernadette who taught for a while at the Chestnut Ridge school. She is now retired from the University of New Hampshire and lives in Durham, NH.

      Comment by komonchak — November 18, 2017 @ 9:51 am

      • No, I have not seen West Nyack info.
        Bernadette taught at Chestnut Grove School, from which I graduated. I remember she date Connie Christos for awhile. He was a psychologist in
        Clarkstown, and I went to Spring Valley High School
        with him. He was a year older than I.
        My father, Henry Reuben, developed the original
        codes for Nanuet Fire Department. He died when I
        was 14, but I remember when the siren went off,
        he knew the codes and went to the fires. He also
        did the electrical work for the servicemen’s honor
        roll in Nanuet. He was a licensed electrician in NYC.

        Comment by Ruth Hess — November 18, 2017 @ 7:36 pm

  3. Hi Mr. Komonchak. My name Matthew Bowler I’m the current President of the Nanuet Fire Engine Co.. Our records indicate that your father Joseph was president back in 1950. In the Fire House we have pictures of all the past presidents of the fire company. Unfortunately we do not have one of your father.
    I’m wondering if you have a picture of him during that time or picture you would like us to display of him. Please contact me through my email President@nanuetfd.org
    Thank you.

    Comment by Matthew Bowler — July 1, 2018 @ 2:09 pm

    • Dear Mr. Bowler:

      I’ve seen your comment on my blog with regard to my father’s monthly newsletter for the men serving in the Korean War. I’m sure that somewhere we have a photo of him in his president’s uniform, and I’ll go looking for it. Thanks for wanting to include a photo of him. My mother also served in the Ladies Auxiliary.

      Meantime, may I ask if any interest has been shown in my father’s newsletter? I find them very illuminating for catching a glimpse of what life was like in Nanuet back in the early 1950s, and especially what was going on with the Nanuet Fire Department and in other firemanic activities in Rockland County. I also personally remember many of the men whose activities he described and the Nanuet families they served. But I don’t receive many comments about the newsletters.

      Comment by komonchak — July 1, 2018 @ 3:51 pm

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