Beginnings & First Equipment
Around 1900 the town of Longmeadow started to lay water mains through the town to supply residents with water for human use and for fire protection. The town also purchased its first pieces of fire apparatus about this same time. The first apparatus was in the form of hose reels. As the name implied these reels carried only hose, 2 play pipes, for directing water onto a fire and a couple of axes and some miscellaneous tools.
The Use of Hose Reels
From 1900 to 1907 the town purchased about seven of these reels and placed them around town in some of the townspeople’s barns. When a fire was discovered those who were near the locations of the hose reels would either pull by hand or hitch to a wagon and take it to the scene of the fire. The only supply of water at this time was from the fire hydrants along the streets. The period between 1907 to 1917 were uneventful except for routine fire department business
In 1917 the fire department received money to purchase a motorized piece of fire apparatus. It bought a Federal cab and chassis for the price of $1,885 and they bought a fire truck body for $1,350. On this piece of equipment was a 35-gallon chemical tank, a couple of small fire extinguishers, some hose and some small hand tools.
In June of 1923 the Longmeadow Volunteer Fire Department was formally organized. The sum of $1,300 was appropriated to pay the men for their services through the year.
The Chief Engineer was appointed by the Selectmen as were the Fire Engineers. The Chief Engineer was Cliff Graves and the Fire Engineers were:
Robert Breck (Captain)
Ralph Smead (Lieutenant)
James Ward (Clerk)
Engine men on reserve were:
In 1924 Robert Breck was appointed Chief.
New Truck Added
In 1925 the second truck was added to the department’s equipment. It was a 450-gallon Triple Combination Pumper made by Maxim Motors Company of Middleboro, Massachusetts. It worked out satisfactorily in every way. Also, during this year the old Federal Truck, which was nine years old, was completely rebuilt by installing a new power plant.
Fire Alarm Installed
In 1926 the first outside fire alarm was installed. It was a wailing type siren that would sound a high shrill noise and then stop abruptly. A special code was set up to designate certain areas of the town which resulted in faster response to fires.