Fire department

  • Fire department
  • "The first recorded firefighting efforts in Wakefield occurred in the 1660s with the 'bucket brigade' method of fighting fires. Residents were required to have leather buckets to carry water from brooks, ponds, or wells, form a line and pass the buckets to the fire. This method sufficed until the first fire apparatus - a four wheel, hand-drawn, hand-pumped tub - was obtained, but the buckets were still required to fight the fires. The first official fire department in Wakefield was established by the state legislature in 1854. In 1868 when the town became known as Wakefield, the department's equipment grew to 3 hand-drawn apparatus. The Montrose Fire Company was established in 1871, followed by the Greenwood Company in 1886. Before the first fire hydrants were installed in 1883, water was obtained from reservoirs strategically located throughout the town. The next major step in fire fighting history occurred when the alarm system was installed in 1887. Wakefield's first permanent firefighter was hired in 1898 to care for the department's first horse. With the turn of the century, the department shed its hand-drawn apparatus for the new horse-drawn apparatus, including steam operated pumpers. Right on the heels of the horse-drawn apparatus came the motorized equipment. The first such apparataus was put into service in 1908 and by 1914, motorized fire apparatus had replaced the horse-drawn era of firefighting. Throughout the 1900s the Wakefield Fire Department has kept pace with the industry by employing the latest technology. Today, the Wakefield Fire Department has a full-time force of 52 officers and fire fighters. The equipment today includes five pumpers and an aerial truck which operate out of the town's two fire stations. Last year, the department responded to over 2000 calls, including all types of fire incidents, medical emergencies and public assistance calls." -- Text from calendar.;Captions: 1. The first motorized piece of fire apparatus in Wakefield, a 1908 Columbia hose car. -- 2. The Wakefield Fire Department, men and equipment, April 29, 1927. -- 3. One of Wakefield's first firefighting apparatus, a 1853 hand tub housed in a fire station on the Common.
  • Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 1987
  • [Wakefield, Mass.] : Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department


“Fire department,” Lucius Beebe Memorial Library, Wakefield, Mass., accessed May 16, 2021,


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