Do You Recall? - (Part III)

History of the Hampton Fire Department

Courtesy of Atlantic News & Advertiser

January 10, 1984

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- SECTION 10 -

  • In January, 1974, voters approved a $21,268 appropriation for emergency ambulance service under the direction of the Hampton Fire Department at a special town meeting.
  • The Wiser residence at 5 Gray Avenue received extensive damage when a fire broke out during cold temperatures and high winds February 1972.
  • Hampton rented an ambulance from Northeast S&S Distributors of Cochituatem, Mass. prior to purchasing its first ambulance in 1972.
  • Controlled burning of the apartment house behind the Hampton Beach Fire Station was done during May as a training session which put the men through various phases of fire-fighting. The session was called to a halt after high winds whipped up.
  • August 19, 1972 members of the fire department rescued two boats from the choppy seas off Boar's Head.
  • In August 1972 the Board of Selectmen voted to provide "emergency" ambulance service to Hampton Falls residents.
  • September, 1972 Ronnie A. Fowler, 13, was presented an honorary membership in the Hampton Fire Department after discovering and reporting a fire at 186 Mill Road. He was delivering his newspapers when he discovered smoke. His quick action resuslted in minimum damage to the structure.
  • During the winter of 1975, Fire Chief Donald Lane appealed to local homeowners to dig out fire hydrants in the vicinity of their homes. Today (1984) on duty firefighters perform that task
  • In December 1975, efforts to tighten the budget were dealt a severe blow with the appointment of seven new firefighters at the cost of $80,000, including salaries and benefits. A major change in the department was a reduction of work hours from 56 to a 40 hour week. As time passed this 40 hour work week proved to be unsuccessful.
  • December 24, 1975, firefighters battled a three-alarm blaze as 15 residents were left homeless for the holidays. The fire occurred at 55 Ocean Blvd.
  • Chief Donald R. Matheson, Sr. was sworn in as Chief of the department after acting as Assistant Chief.
  • Construction of the up-town fire station on Winnacunnet Road broke ground in the fall of 1977.
  • The blizzard of 1978 forced the evacuation of Hampton Beach when floods destroyed many homes. The entire seacoast was disabled for many days.
  • On a cold evening in March, 1980, all the residents of the Seacoast Health Center, Tuck Road, were evacuated after a bomb threat. No bomb was found and all returned without incident.
  • A change in working conditions forced the hiring of four men July 1, 1981 and a 42 hour work week for the department.
  • In August 1981 a four alarm fire destroyed the Spindrift Motel on Ocean Blvd. in the early morning hours. This fire forced over 100 tourists to evacuate the burning building.
  • During the early part of 1982, the Hampton Fire Department took delivery of its new 100 foot Maxium Areial Ladder.
  • On February 13, 1982, hundreds of firefighters throughout the seacoast mourned the sudden death of Fire Chief Donald R. Matheson, Sr.
  • Deputy Chouinard served as acting Chief of the Hampton Fire Department from February 13, 1982 to June 21, 1982.
  • A two alarm fire struck the Cove Motel, 989 Ocean Blvd. at approximately 7:00 p.m., January 21, 1983. Two previous fires at the Cove were on December 6, 1974 and another two alarm in September, 1981.
  • In February, 1983, the Selectmen asked Police Chief Mark and Fire Chief Kuncho to study the possibllity of combining their respective dispatch centers into one dispatch center. This idea never developed.
  • In March, 1983, FF Kurt Mackle was recognized for certifying over 200 people on CPR.
  • April, 1983, all the firefighters began certification in Advanced Firefighting Training. This program involves over 250 hours of training per firefighter.
  • April 6, 1983 the Hampton Kiwanis Club presented the department with money to purchase new MAST Trousers for the ambulances. These trousers were placed in service in May.
  • Fire heavily damaged a house at 37 Ann's Lane April 10, 1983.
  • Another fire in April, 1983, was classified as arson at the Century House Motel (see also: Eagle House), 522 Ocean Blvd.
  • May 4, 1983, hundreds of friends of Lt. William Trofatter celebrated his retirement from the fire department after serving for 26 years.
  • Arson was the cause of a two alarm fire at Corinthian Pools, 892 Lafayette Road, June 11, 1983.
  • In June, 1983, the Hampton Beach Fire Station received a facelift with a new concrete floor costing $8,700, and an interior paint job for free by the firefighters.
  • Fire destroyed a home on Battcock Ave., June 4, 1983. Children playing with fireworks and a butane lighter was the cause.
  • A beach disaster was averted on June, 1983 at 24-26 K Street when firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze which was called arson.
  • July 2, 1983, a two alarm fire classified as arson struck the Vandemere Hotel, 341 Ocean Blvd. Twenty tourists escaped the fire which sent flames 30 feet into the sky.
  • July 17, 1983, a 132 year old barn was heavily damaged by fire at 416 Winnacunnet Road. Many antiques were destroyed. This barn was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
  • August 26, 1983 the Hampton Firefighters raised over $1500 for Muscular Dystrophy during their toll booth on Ocean Blvd.
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