Then and Now: Fire Department
After a long time on Church Street, the department moved down the road.
In this Then and Now we take a glimpse into the history of the Wilmington Fire Department. Unlike the Police Department, the Fire Department stayed put for the most part.
In this Then photo, taken around 1906, you see one of the first photos of the department ever taken. The Wilmington Fire Department had just formed in 1903 after a Special Town Meeting was called to address the lack of firefighting equipment and abilities of the town.
In this meeting, the town voted to form a fire department and give them a house on Church Street, where the Post Office stands today and can be seen in this Now photo. There was also a barn and corral for the firemen's horses built a bit later on.
The original Fire Department consisted of 23 volunteer firemen, a chief and an assistant chief, a captain, two lieutenants and a clerk. The fire house was a wood building, but as the Fire Department expanded their needs became a bit more modern. The wooden house's floor was removed and replaced with a cement floor, a second story was added to the rear of the building and a bedroom for those on night-duty was also built.
The Fire Department moved from this building after it was condemned and a combined fire and police station was constructed in 1953 just down the road at the present Public Buildings location.
Historical information for this article was provided by Paul Chalifour, town museum curator Terry McDermott and Adele Passmore's book on the 250th Anniversary of the Town of Wilmington.