Way Back When ... 1893
The Fairfield Museum’s new “Local Heroes: What’s Your Emergency?” exhibition is a delightful look at how the town’s first responders help the community during emergencies. With interactive play stations and dress-up areas, this is a wonderful family-friendly show. In addition, it features historical photos and information about the history of emergencies in Fairfield. Here’s a quick look at the founding of Fairfield’s Fire Departments.
In response to two church fires, the town’s first volunteer fire department (Company No. 1, Fairfield Hook &Ladder) was organized on September 11, 1893. This group also build the first firehouse on Sherman Green (no longer standing). This new department used Bridgeport’s firefighting organization as its model. Fairfield’s Company No. 1 had the town’s first career firefighters, who were hired in 1928, and its first career chief, in 1957.
As the town grew, people came together and formed additional fire companies in different sections of town. Some of these continue to serve the community today, staffed with both paid and some volunteer firefighters. In 1895, after three fires in Southport, two competing fire companies (Southport “Kid Gloves” and Pequot) formed, and built firehouses across the street from each other on Station Street, joining together to fight fires when needed. The Southport departments eventually merged to form Company No. 4.
The Tunxis Hill department, Company No. 2, was founded in 1913. The Stratfield department, Company No. 3, was organized in 1918 by the Stratfield Improvement Association, whose members were deeply concerned about the community’s distance from other Fairfield fire companies. Church bells and an aold tire gong were originally used to summon the volunteer firefighters.
The Greenfield Hill department, Company No. 5, was formed in 1933 by the neighborhood association, also because of their concern about the geographic distance from the other departments. A pumper, purchased from the main fire department, was kept in a barn on the corner of Hillside and Old Academy Roads.
After the hurricane of 1942, the Pine Creek department, Company No. 6, was organized by residents who were concerned that trucks from other departments would have trouble getting to the beach. The firehouse was built with salvaged lumber, and served as a gathering place for the neighborhood. It merged with Company No. 1 in 1958.
The exhibition is generously sponsored by NorcomCT and Fairfield Rotary. Learn more about the Local Heroes: What’s Your Emergency? exhibition at Fairfieldhistory.org.
The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum Shop, located at 370 Beach Road, is open seven days a week, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Members of the Museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or visit Fairfieldhistory.org.