Hampton Beach Fire Dept. History

History of the Hampton Fire Department

A tradition of service, courage and pride

Courtesy of Atlantic News & Advertiser

January 10, 1984

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The citizens of Hampton's Beach area gathered together in 1906 to draw up a petition to be presented to the General Court of the State of New Hampshire for the rights to form a precinct.

The main object for which was to have their own fire department. In 1907, the petition was granted. The department was then organized under the supervision of the Hampton Beach Fire Commissioners. The first fire-fighting equipment was purchased by the members of the department. The first major change was made in the Spring of 1916 after the citizens of the beach became alarmed after the serious fire which occurred Sept. 1915 on the corners of B Street and Ocean Boulevard which started in the afternoon and swept more than four blocks, doing thousands of dollars of damage. The local department at that time was not equipped to fight such a fire and help was called from nearby towns. So in the Spring of 1916, a reorganization was made and the commissioners appointed Alex H. Brown as the first permanent chief. They also ordered the first motor apparatus for the department which was a Keissiel combination hose and chemical truck. This was kept in the office building of the Casino garage. In 1917, the following year, a telegraph box system was purchased from Gamewell Underground Telegraph Company of Upper Newton Falls, Mass. This system was installed by Chief A. H. Brown under the supervision of the telegraph company. It consisted of 5 boxes initially and more than 32 on the entire beach thereafter.

In 1922, the first fire house was built also under the supervision of Chief A. H. Brown. In the same year, an Ahrens-Fox pump and ladder combination was put into use making two motor driven fire engines.

In 1923, the fire house was burned down. Immediately, the work was started to rebuild a fire station of modern design and soon there was a 2-story stone structure of a cement base and has capacity of housing 5 modern firetrucks with a three door run. It was built on the site of the first fire house on Marsh Avenue (now Ashworth Avenue), where it still stands today. In the month of March 1924, Chief A. H. Brown resigned his office after having been with the department for over 9 years of active service. The following month, Homer B. Whiting was appointed chief of the department. The same year the Town of Hampton purchased a Reo combination hose and chemical truck, after having been consolidated with Hampton Beach Precinct.

In 1925 the Hampton Beach fire commissioners purchased a White Ladder Truck city service type, also a Reo Touring car to be used by the chief for official business. In 1926 a Packard triple combination was also ordered and put into service. From then until 1929, nothing happened of any importance. When in 1930, a Chevrolet hose wagon was put into service which was later changed to a pumping engine. In 1932 the members of the fire department built a trailer type water tower which was used for high pressure work.

In 1934 the fire members of the department started construction of a drill tower which was 35 feet in height and was used to train members and practice in the use of fire fighting.

In 1935 a two wheel trailer portable forest fire pump was also built by the members of the department for the use of fighting forest fires. This was attached to the chief's car and carried to the scene of the fire from the road.

This is the progress and advancement over the past one-fourth of the development of the Hampton Beach Fire Department. Through today, 1983, the Hampton Fire Department stands out as one of the most efficient modern equipped, trained fire departments of any of its kind in New England. It consists of two fire stations, 14 pieces of apparatus, and 36 permanent members augmented with over 20 call personnel.

Early Photo of the Fire Station and crew
Early Photo of the Fire Station and crew.
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