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Department History

History of the Department from 1938 to 1988

Company 1 iconThe South Windsor Volunteer Fire Department, Company No. 1, was organized and established on March 7, 1938. C. Vinton Benjamin, then the Town's First Selectman, was consulted on the feasibility of establishing a volunteer fire company. A committee headed by Mr. Benjamin canvassed the Town and raised $1,000 to purchase equipment.

On March 7, 1938, a Town meeting was held where the Town voted to appropriate an additional $4,000 towards the purchase of a fire truck and $3,500 towards the building of a firehouse and garage. Mr. Benjamin, H.E. Bentley, Harold M. Newberry, Emil E. Goehring, and Chief George Enes were assigned to the purchasing committee. After careful consideration the Committee decided to purchase a Diamond-T Maxim fire truck (pictured below), which was delivered on July 31, 1938.

E 1

During the regular meeting of the newly formed fire company in June 1938, the company decided to incorporate. In July, it drew up a charter consisting of 65 firemen. The following persons were duly elected as the first officers and commissioners for the Department:

Chief George F. Enes
1st Deputy Chief H.F. Bentley
2nd Deputy Chief Frank J. Ident
Secretary Carl A. Magnuson
Treasurer Emil E. Goehring
Commissioners C. Vinton Benjamin
Harold M. Newberry
Norman E. Reynolds
Joseph A. Krawski
Frank E. House

Charter members iconOn July 8, 1939, the Department held its First Annual Field Day at Station 31 on Main Street. The event consisted of a parade of 36 companies comprising of 1,000 men, a 100-yard dash, hose laying contests, and a tug of war.

In 1944, the department purchased a 1931 Model A truck with a 500-gallon tank. This truck was used to shuttle water when a water supply was not available. In 1945, the Board of Finance approved $2,600 for the purchase of a Federal Fire Alarm System. Prior to the installation of the new horns, members of the Department were notified of a fire by a chain of telephone calls by members wives.

E 2 1947 iconIn 1948, the Town approved money for the purchase of the second major piece of apparatus. Engine 2 (pictured at right) was a 1948 Diamond-T Maxim with a 500 gallon-per-minute pump and a 1,000 gallon tank.

In 1952, the Department converted a 1948 1-ton Chevy pick-up truck into a rescue vehicle.

In 1953, George Enes retired as Chief after 14 years of service. Richard P. Jones was promoted from Deputy Chief to Chief on November 4, 1953.

OldE 3 iconThe Department purchased its next piece of fire apparatus in 1958. Engine 3 (pictured at left) was a 1958 American LaFrance with a 750 gallon-per-minute pump. It was housed at Company 1 until 1965, when it moved to the newly constructed Company 3 on Sullivan Avenue.

In 1962, Richard Jones retired as Chief and Raymond M. Ellison was appointed Chief of the Department.

plectron r20In 1962, the Department purchased Engine 4, a 1,000 gallon-per-minute pumper. The Department also purchased four Plectrons that year. A Plectron (pictured at right) is a specialized VHF/UHF single-channel, emergency alerting radio receiver used to alert firefighters of a fire. The four firefighters who had the Plectrons would then call other firefighters.

In 1963, the Department celebrated its 25th anniversary. During that year the Department also started planning for the construction of a third firehouse, Company 3 on Sullivan Avenue.

In 1964, Chief Raymond Ellison turned the position of Chief over to Philip E. Crombie, Sr.

Old R 5 1965 iconIn 1965, the Department purchased a new rescue truck. The Department was cited nationally as an example of excellent planning due to its purchase of Rescue 5 (pictured at right), a light-duty rescue and squad vehicle.

In 1966, the Department reduced the minimum recruitment age from 21 to 18 to attract new members.

truck 7In 1966, the original Engine 2 was modified into the Department's first ladder truck. The truck served as a temporary ladder truck while plans were made to purchase a new ladder truck. The Department also took possession of a new Maxim 1,000 gallon-per-minute pumper. Engine 6 was housed at Company 2 on Foster Road.

In June 1969, the Department took delivery of an American LaFrance 80-foot elevating platform. Truck 7 (pictured at left) was housed at Company 3, where the Department constructed a training tower to train firefighters in using the new aerial.

In 1969, the Department formed a firefighting explorer troop for boys ages 14 to 18. Members of Explorer Post 838 assist firefighters at alarms and have many of the same duties and responsibilities as adult firefighters. Many members of the Explorer program later became volunteer firefighters for the Department or full-time firefighters for paid departments throughout the State.

The Town built a new public safety dispatch center in the newly constructed Town Hall on Sullivan Avenue in 1970. This new facility marked the end of many years of faithful service by part-time dispatchers.

In 1971, the Town established the paid position of full-time Fire Marshal. Then Deputy Chief William Lanning filled the position and became the Town's first Fire Marshal.
hurstIn 1972, the Town purchased a new pumper to replace the 1948 Engine 2. New Engine 2 was a 1972 Ward LaFrance with a 1,250 gallon-per-minute pump and a 1,000 gallon tank.

In 1977, the South Windsor Rotary Club donated a Hurst Tool to the Department. Also known as the "Jaws of Life," this hydraulic scissor-like spreader tool is used to assist in the extrication of passengers from a vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident by forcing crushed metal away from trapped victims. Before receiving the Hurst tool, the Department relied on manual hand-tools and cutting saws or called for mutual aid from a surrounding town that had a Hurst tool.

E 8 1978 iconIn 1978, the Town purchased a 1978 American LaFrance pumper. Engine 8 (pictured at left) had a 1,250 gallon-per-minute pump and a 1,000 gallon tank and was housed a Company 3. It was the Department's first (and last) lime green apparatus. In that year the members of Company 1 moved from the original firehouse on Ellington Road into the newly built Fire Headquarters across the street.

In 1982, the Department retired its original rescue truck and placed into service a 1982 GMC rescue truck custom built by Emergency One.
In 1986, the Department retired Truck 7 due to the estimated cost of extensive, but necessary repairs. Truck 7 was replaced by Ladder 7, a 1986 Emergency One with a 1,500 gallon-per-minute pump and an 80-foot ladder. Ladder 7 (pictured below) was housed at Company 1.

Ladder 7 icon

In 1987, Chief Philip E. Crombie, Sr. retired after 23 years of service. The Board of Fire Commissioners appointed then Deputy Chief and Fire Marshal William Lanning as the new Chief.

In 1987, the Department purchased an Emergency One pumper to replace Engine 3. The new Engine 3 is equipped with a 1,500 gallon-per-minute pump and is housed at Company 3.

In 1988, the Department purchased an Emergency One pumper to replace Engine 6. The new Engine 6 was equipped with a 1,500 gallon-per-minute pump and was housed at Company 2.

The Department celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1988.

(More to Come)

(If there are pictures or Department history you would like to see
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patch transSouth Windsor Volunteer Fire Department

1175 Ellington Road
South Windsor, CT 06074


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