Firefighters past and present of EC 282 and Ladder 148 joined together with family and friends to celebrate the firehouse's centennial.
The mood of the ceremony was at times silly, as past and present firefighters joked about shared memories, and at times somber, such as when current captain of Ladder 148 Michael Doda remembered those who have lost their lives in service.
“I often reflect on friends we’ve lost,” Doda said. “However, there’s no greater tribute to their memories than to assemble here and reflect on our history. Our hearts swell with pride to see friends, retired and former members, all gathered here with our current firefighters.”
Doda gave a brief history of Engine 282 and Ladder 148. Hook and Ladder 148 was organized on May 15, 1914, under the command of Captain David O’Keefe. Engine 282 was then added, and two lieutenants and 100 firefighters were assembled from neighboring companies.
He reflected on the similarities that have persisted throughout 100 years of the firehouse's history.
“There’s an old proverb: ‘The more things change, the more things stay the same,’” Doda said. “This will always ring true for the New York City Fire Department. If Captain O’Keefe walked through those doors today, the changes to the neighborhood, the fire service, the world may be unimaginable to him. But the one constant is the perpetual brotherhood.
“Today, much like Captain O’Keefe in 1914, I find myself surrounded by hardworking firefighters dedicated to making this house the best we have to offer,” he added.
Retired members who played a large role in that history enjoyed the celebration as well, such as John LeVine, a former captain of Engine 282 who retired in 1977.
“It’s great to be with the guys again,” LeVine said. “A couple of these guys really helped me with my transition from lieutenant to captain. And it wasn’t easy, but it worked out good. I mean, I enjoyed it very much. It was a pleasure.”
When asked how it felt to put his uniform back on, 89-year-old LeVine said it was “a little loose!”
“It’s great,” he said. “It’s like being reborn.”