Piermont's Forgotten Fallen Firefighter Thomas Pomplin
Piermont's Empire Hose Company #1 is raising funds for a memorial for our past member Thomas Pomplin, and awareness to recognize his 1854 death as the first Line of Duty Death in the fire service in Rockland county. Research done by Ex Chief Dan Goswick has shown that his untimely passing was directly as a result of his response to a fire in Nyack, but his death was never recorded as a LODD. We are working to fix that by getting this hero from our history officially recognized, and building a memorial to his selfless sacrifice that his descendants can visit. Your donation will help us give him, and his ultimate sacrifice, the long overdue recognition it deserves.
You can check out the whole story here: NyackNewsAndViews
Thomas (Pomp) Pomplin 1826 to 1854
From Ex Chief Dan Goswick:
I have been researching the line of duty death of Empire Hose Company #1 member Thomas (Pomp) Pomplin. Tom was born in 1826 to Mary Pomplin and lived on south Piermont Avenue, in the Village of Piermont. The data that I have compiled is in the document below.
The Depew family of Nyack owned much of the property in the vicinity of 147 Piermont Avenue in the Village of Nyack. In the early 18th century they established a 70 acre farm along the banks of the Hudson River. They had green houses on the upper plateau, which is the current site of Memorial Park. On the lower shoreline a red sandstone gristmill was erected along what is now called Nyack Brook, which was at the south end of their property. By 1800 the gristmill had been converted into a sulfur match factory. In 1850 the match factory was converted into Storm's Cedar Tub and Pail Factory. The Storms brothers, Arthur and Henry operated a wooden factory using water power to produce products to be sold throughout the United States and Europe. Their cedar pail factory employed seven men, and the Storms brothers were becoming quite successful until a fire devastated their factory.
On Saturday, July 29, 1854 it was a typical warm summer day, and the Storms brothers decided to close the factory a bit early. About 7pm smoke and flames were discovered coming from the south side of the main building. The call for fire was heard and soon members from Orangetown and Mazzepa Fire Companies responded. As the Nyack fire fighters set up their hand drawn engines to fight the massive fire, it was determined that much of the entire building was enveloped in fire. With soaring summer heat and the dry condition of the building and its contents, it made the fire advance with incredible speed. While the Nyack fire fighters directed their efforts toward saving the brick building opposite the main Storms structure which encompassed the finishing processes, a man upon a horse was dispatched to Piermont for mutual aid.
While the blaze was at its height, the Empire Hose Company and Protection Engine Company arrived from Piermont to assist in the firefighting efforts. In the 1800's Piermont fire fighters pulled and pushed their engines with manpower, covering the 3 mile distance from Piermont to Memorial Park in just 50 minutes. Their arrival was cheered by the members of Orangetown and Mazeppa fire companies. The equipment and manpower helped prevent the further spread of fire to other buildings. By 9 pm that evening the main factory building had collapse into a pile of smoking ruble.
On that warm July summer evening, 28 year old Thomas Pomplin a member of the Empire Hose Company #1 (Piermont Fire Dept) responded to the Storm's Cedar and Pail Factory, to fight a major building fire side by side with his brother firemen. But the fire took its toll on firefighter Pomplin, and few days later on August 5, 1854 firefighter he had succumb to the effects of "overheating and exhaustion". In a Rockland County Journal, Volume IX, Number 2, 12 August 1854, the article reads "Died from the effects of overheating and exhaustion at the late fire in Nyack. - Tom (Pomp) Pomplin, the colored man who came with one of the Piermont Engines the night Storms' factory was burned, died last Friday, at Piermont, from the effects of getting overheated and exhausted that night."
Based on all the research that we have compiled, I believe Thomas "Pomp" Pomplin should be recognized as a line of duty death for the Rockland County fire service. I am also looking into a monument located in Flywheel Park and a headstone at his family plot, defining his heroism.
If anyone can find any additional information please feel free to add it.
Daniel Goswick Sr.
Ex Chief, Piermont Fire Department