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Department History

The Town of Newington was established in 1871, and up to 1917 it relied on neighboring towns for fire protection. A meeting was held on October 2nd, 1916, to discuss fire protection. The decision made was to continue to consult different options.

On April 4th, 1917, 30 residents took upon themselves the task of organizing a volunteer fire department. On May 11, 1917, a committee was formed to raise money for a fire truck. Through many fundraisers. they eventually raised $500. In March of 2018, the town voted to spend $2,750.00 for a 1918 REO Chemical Tank Truck. Without a firehouse, the truck was stored in garages and barns around the center of town. In the early 1920's, enough money was raised to purchase land for the original Company 1 at Main and Garfield Street.

In December of 1928, a committee was formed to assess the future of the town's fire protection. The Board of Fire Commissioners was then established which led to the reorganization of the department in 1929. In addition to Company 1, Company 2 was built on Maple Hill, and Company 3 on Chapman Street. Each of these companies were given a 1929 Buffalo Fire Engine for $6,300 each. Sirens were installed on top of each fire house and were activated when a fire call came in.

In 1938, the department purchased it's first ladder truck from the Onset, Massachusetts Fire Department for $600. This truck carried ladders up to 50 feet in length. The department's first Fire Prevention Week occurred in 1945. This demonstration included rescue techniques and the usage of a life net. The first self contained breathing apparatus was purchased in 1946.

In October of 1952, Newington established an emergency dispatch center. Also during this year, the Board of Fire Commissioners discussed with the town that a fourth firehouse was needed in town. Company 4 was constructed for $15,000, and had it's first company meeting on May 8th, 1954. During this time, the REO Chemical Truck and the Buffalo Fire Engines were replaced with three Maxim Fire Engine and a Maxim Ladder Truck. In 1959, department drills began to ensure all 4 companies worked together well.

On June 5, 1962, Engine 1 was returning from a fire call when it was involved in a motor vehicle accident and overturned. Firefighter Francis Kochanowicz tragically succumbed to his injuries. This section of New Britain Avenue is now named the "Francis Kochanowicz Memorial Highway" in his honor.

On December 26, 1964, Firefighter Jay Cole was responding in his personal vehicle to an overturned vehicle and fuel leak at East Robbins Avenue and the Berlin Turnpike. While responding, Firefighter Cole was involved in an accident at the intersection of Willard Avenue and Louis Street, and later succumbed to his injuries.

Amidst these tragedies, several advancements occurred during the 60's. All personnel were issued fire monitors to be placed in their homes to receive radio dispatches of fire calls. In 1965, a Mack Fire Truck, with a 1,000 gallon-per-minute pump and 300 gallon tank was purchased for $28,198. In 1967, the new Company 1 and Headquarters was built on Main Street adjacent to Walsh Avenue.

In the 1970's, personnel began carrying personal pagers to alert them of fire calls. In 1977, Company 2 was moved from Maple Hill to Richard Street. Company 3 was moved from Chapman Street to West Hill Road. In 1979, the Cadet Division was founded to train 16-17 year olds on the fire service to prepare them on entering at the age of 18. To this day, they use the old Company 2 on Maple Hill Avenue.

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