Kodak Park was often referred to as a "city within a city."
Every good city has a fire department.
Kodak was no exception.
Inside, Gene Preston's Greece basement, is a museum-of-sorts. There is old firefighting equipment, photographs, bells, and helmets.
Among the collection is hundreds of Kodak artifacts.
It includes a fire alarm that once went off inside one of Kodak's
"That's the box number, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5....and the gong would ring in the fire house," said Gene Preston, a former deputy fire chief for the Kodak Fire Department.
He worked there from 1960 until 1997, working his way up the ladder.
Preston was a "company man," who only missed four days of work.
"Here's a picture of Chief Donnelly and I in front of Kodak tower," said Preston, as he remembers a time when Kodak employees paraded through downtown Rochester.
When he started, there were two fire stations and about 60 firefighters, he said.
"Back then there were hazards all over the place," said Preston.
Kodak had its own acid plant and Preston says the dangers were always there for a fire.
Many of the fires he says started in labs during research.
But he says Kodak had an amazing sprinkler system and walls that contained possible fires.
And fire crews were always up-to-date in their training.
We always felt we were trained with equipment to deal with them[fires]," said Preston.
Preston says when an employee would retire, he would follow them to their desk or locker to collect whatever they wanted to throw out.
It included mementos like photographs, newspaper clippings, and posters.
In total, he has 9 volumes of Kodak memories.
"Call me the unofficial Kodak Fire Department historian," said Preston.
His collection included a picture from the start of the 20th century.
That's when he says regular Kodak employees were trained as firefighters and would respond if something happened.
They would use hand-drawn equipment.
Preston says Kodak's firefighting force grew to 4 stations and more than 100 firefighters during his tenure.
"That was at a time when Kodak was growing like crazy," said Preston.
Preston says that changed in the early 1990's.
Product lines changes and Kodak outsourced its chemicals.
All of that meant that a large fire department wasn't needed.
There was a reduction in staff and by 1997, one fire house had closed.
"That was not always to our liking, but management had to cut across the board. "
But through the changes, Preston says he is proud of his service and proud to say he is a Kodak retiree.
"They were very good to me which allowed me to be very good to my family. I'll never forget that," said Preston.
Kodak's fire department now has about a dozen people not enough to put out large fire, said Preston.
That's not enough people to put out a large fire, he said.
But it's history that will never burn out.