Do You Recall? - (Part II)

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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  • In January 1968, the worst icing conditions since 1958 left 1400 customers without power after ice-damaged power lines dropped across the marsh. These severe ice conditions encased the electric lines with 2 to 3 inches of ice making them sag to the point that the gusting wind broke the hi-line from Hampton to Hampton Beach.
  • A one-and-a-half story home on Heather Lane was severely damaged by fire at 2:03 a.m. January 22, 1968. Estimated damage was $25,000. The home was unoccupied at the time of the fire.
  • On January 13, 1968, the Downer's Appliance Store went up in smoke with damage estimated at $31,500 for loss of equipment and building. Two Firemen were hurt battling the blaze.
  • Friday evening April 19, 1968, fire totally destroyed the House of the Seven Gables Motel on Ocean Blvd.
  • In October 1968, twelve thousand feet of cable was delivered to the Hampton Beach Fire Station, along with 37,000 feet of creosote soaked boards. This material was used on the first phase of a five year program designed to install Hampton Fire Alarm systems underground.
  • A fire started in the basement of the Sea Spray Hotel on Ocean Blvd. which almost destroyed the three story wood frame building in 1968. Estimated damage was at $40,000.
  • Two boys were hospitalized and family left homeless as a result of an explosion and fire that demolished the Charles Pollard home March 24, 1969.
  • A fast moving fire, contained within the structure because of metal siding and a slate roof, gutted the interior of the Hotel Allen at Hampton Beach in March 1969. The building was a landmark on Ocean Boulevard, at least 100 years old.
  • The Hampton Beach party boat Gannet was badly damaged and its captain injured when an explosion occurred as gas was being loaded into the boat's tank at the pier.
  • Robert W. Fitz was named Deputy Chief of the Hampton Fire Department. He began work August 1, 1969 at a salary of $150 per week.
  • One person was injured when the kitchen of the Tastee Tower restaurant at Hampton Beach collapsed, sending stoves, cans of soft drinks and trays of food into a pile centered at the collapse point.
  • Purchased through Civil Defense, the Hampton Beach Precinct Fire Dept. received two new vehicles. A 1953 four-wheel drive Willeys Jeep and a 1969 Chevrolet for a fire chief's car.
  • Working during their off time, firefighters completed two fire alarm response boards, one for each station. Those boards are still used today.
  • The Chisholm Homestead, an old town landmark at the corner of Tide Mill and Landing Roads was sgutted by fire. The fire started in the ground floor kitchen and quickly spread through the more than 200 year-old building.
  • The firefighters spent many months rebuilding the motor of Engine 2. During the work the engine of the 1941 Seagraves pumper has been completely overhauled at a cost of less than $1,000. A savings for the town of more than $2,500.
  • In October 1969 the firefighters requested that their work week be reduced to 56 hours from the current 72 hour work week.
  • Fifty guests were present at the retirement testimonial held for three retiring members of the fire department: Capt. Harold C. Felch, 61 year member; Capt. William P. Stickney, 56 years; & Harold G. Perkins, 45 years.
  • In March 1970, Capt. Frederick C. Clews was presented a helmet by the members of the Permanent Firefighters Association in appreciate of Clews' many kindnesses to the department.
  • A new "cascading" system for filling oxygen tanks was installed at the beach station in 1972.
  • Approximately 55 firemen attended from all over New England to a Fire Alarm School held April 10, 1970 at the Hampton Beach Fire Station.
  • A new and up-to-date directory of all accepted and unaccepted streets within the town was prepared by members of the Permanent Firefighters Association. The directory was made available to all residents at the Town Meeting in 1970.
  • Zero degree cold and strong wind were added hazards while fighting a fire which caused extensive damage at a home at 45 High Street. Damages were assessed at $10,700.
  • The men of the fire department believed in keeping its mascot warm. They dressed the mack dog on Engine 4 with a sweater knitted by Mrs. Palazzo, and a dog license was attributed to keeping within the dog law.
  • Low bidder for the new 1250 gallon pumper purchased in 1971 was Mack, Inc. of Manchester, NH. The new Engine cost $39,890.
  • In July 1971, the department received its rescue boat. The 17-foot, 60 horse power boat cost $3,300.
  • July 14, 1971, Hampton mourned the passing of retired Fire Chief Perley George. Services were held at the Sturgis Funeral Home.
  • October 20, 1971 Hampton Fire Department became the first department in New Hampshire to put its members through driving school with the fire apparatus.
  • Board of Selectmen sent a letter to Firefighter Fitz and Lt. William Sullivan for the rescuing of 9 year old Joyce E. Hickey from a back bedroom of the family trailer which was on fire.
  • When water was pumped into the southwest corner of the Municipal Parking Lot on Ashworth Ave. It was done to convert nearly a quarter of the lot into an ice skating rink for residents of Hampton Beach Precinct.
(Continued in Part III)

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