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History of Georgetown, Connecticut Volunteer Fire Company- 1928 to 2003; From the 75th Anniversary Booklet  

The Georgetown Volunteer Fire Company was organized in May of 1928 by a group of men who realized the need for fire protection in the community.

The first Fire House was a converted horse barn that was given to the Volunteers by the Gilbert & Bennett Mfg. Co., and the fire fighting apparatus consisted of a Chevrolet Chemical Truck and a Peter Pirsh Pumper. In 1939 the Company acquired a second hand Sayer-Scoville ambulance. By obtaining this ambulance it became among the first volunteer fire companies to provide ambulance service in this area. This ambulance served the community until 1941 when the need was seen for the purchasing of a new Buick ambulance.

With the advent of World War II the company continued to operate with the equipment mentioned above. Many members saw service in the Armed Forces. Those who remained at home took active participation in Civil Defense programs such as: Air Raid Tests, First Aid, and many of the Volunteers were consistent blood donors.

On February 24, 1946, the Fire Company was struck a disastrous blow, when the Fire House and all of our apparatus and equipment was destroyed by fire.

This disaster created the immediate need of not only a new fire house but equipment and apparatus as well. Through the efforts of the members and the generosity of the people, the Fire Company was, within a few months, able to purchase an Army surplus fire truck. By October of 1946, a new Seagrave pumper was delivered and in July of 1947 a new Buick Ambulance was delivered and on August 4, 1947 the Company held its first meeting in the new fire house.

This did not end their work. Money loaned had to be repaid, mortgages and the cost of apparatus and equipment along with the expense of operating had to be paid also.

The public was asked for their support and through various means such as carnivals, raffles, the selling of fireworks and donations from the public, we were able to pay off our debts and burn our mortgage by 1952.

During the Flood of 1955 the Fire Company proved to be the major factor in the work of cleaning up, pumping out cellars and wells and many other things to help those who were in need. Many heroic acts were performed by the Volunteers on that night.

They did not stop. As the community continued to grow, so did the need for more and newer apparatus and equipment. In 1953 they purchased a 1000 gallon Maxim Tanker. In 1956 they purchased two-way radios for all apparatus and a base station in the Fire House. In 1959 a new ambulance replaced that one that was delivered after the fire. In 1962 the 1946 Seagrave Pumper was replaced with a new G.M.C. In 1963 they installed in the Fire House a 30KW automatic generator in order to continue to operate all of the electrical facilities in the event of a power failure. In 1963 they purchased "Home Alert" radios which sound a tone in the homes of fireman who live in areas where the siren cannot be heard at all times. Also in 1963 the need for more water at fires induced them to purchase another 1000 gallon tanker, this being a 1963 G.M.C.

In 1966 the Company purchased a four wheel drive 750gpm pumper tanker equipped mainly for grass fires. This truck replaced the 1946 Ford which had served the community since the old fire house had burned down. The same year because of the crowded conditions in the fire house and the prospects of additional equipment in the near future, a two-bay addition was added to the fire house. In 1969 they replaced a 1959 ambulance with a new one.

For 49 years the fire company was able to operate and purchase equipment by means of fund raising programs and donations from the residents of the community. However, with the ever increasing operation expense and cost of new equipment the Georgetown Volunteer Fire Company at the annual meeting in January of 1977 voted to ask the Georgetown Fire District to exercise its power and levy a fire tax.

In November of 1977 a new 1977 Maxim 1000 gallon pumper tanker was delivered. This new apparatus replaced the worn out 1953 Ford 1000 gallon pumper tanker and was the first fire truck purchased with moneys raised through a district fire tax. It is owned by the district but is operated and cared for by the volunteers.

By 1978, the 1969 ambulance had logged tens of thousands of miles and carried many patients, so it was replaced with a new one, and in 1981 the department received a used 1969 Amry Surplus 3/4 ton 4x4 truck which was placed in service after mounting a 10kw generator on the top.

The Ridgefield Fire Department had purchased a new ladder truck and they decided to donate their old 1963 ladder truck to Georgetown. It proved to be a great asset, as it has been used successfully at numerous incidents since that time.

In 1985 a new Pierce pumper that would carry 3000 feet of 5 inch or large diameter hose arrived. The new pumper/hose truck was delivered to replace the old GMC truck, which held special significance since the firefighters had spent many hours in building it it from the frame up.

In 1988 the new Pierce-Lance pumper was delivered to replace the 1963 GMC pumper/tanker. This new truck featured the latest technology in fire fighting, and was literally self sustaining at any emergency incident, and included jump seats for the firefighters, on board deck guns, and incline firefighting foam capabilities. The members of the fire committee spent many hours determining the specifications of this truck, knowing that this particular vehicle would be the lead truck and would be the "heartbeat" at all emergency incidents.

After years of consideration, the Department finally decided that the fire chief should have a command vehicle and this became a reality in mid-1989. This vehicle is equipped with the latest communications equipment and is able to handle certain types of incidents until assistance arrives.

In November of 1989 the 1978 Chevrolet ambulance was involved in a motor vehicle accident during an emergency transport to Danbury Hospital. Three volumteers were injured, though not seriously, in that accident. A new ambulance was ordered, but with a delivery date of July 1990, a used 1983 Ford ambulance was purchased for interim service several days after the accident and was used until the new Chevy arrived in October of 1990.

That same year the State mandated implementation of 911 Emergency Telephone Systems. After many years of being dispatched by the Ridgefield Fire Department, the Georgetown Fire Department joined with the West Redding Fire Department and Redding Ridge Fire Departments and the Redding Police Department to create one central dispatching office located in a new addition to the Redding Police Department.

By this time, the GVFC had grown so much that it became clear that the fire station would need to be expanded. Since the firehouse is located such that this expansion would be a one-time opportunity, the new addition was designed with great care to attempt to address the future needs of the Fire Company as well as its immediate needs. The Gilbert and Bennett Manufacturing Company generously provided architectural services, enabling the Building Committee to propose a design for the addition. Ultimately, it became clear that the Fire Company could not accomplish its goal without the assistance of the Fire District. Fortunately, the Fire District officials were extremely receptive as they were experiencing "growing pains" of thier own. The Fire District joined the Fire company in its efforts, and the addition was completed in May, 1991. The dedication ceremony took place in July, 1991.

In 1998, the new Pierce-Saber pumper was delivered to replace the 1966 pumper. The Pierce-Saber is an all-wheel drive on demand unit with a totally enclosed cab for firefighter safety and rehabilitation. This was the company's first two-stage pumper. The same year, the outdated 1969 Amry surplus brush truck was replaced with a 1996 Ford pick up outfitted with a new pump and water tank, along with tools required to help fight brush fires. The department also purchased a used delivery truck and modified it to become a support vehicle, containing equipment for hazardous materials incidents; traffic control; mass casualty, and a secondary command post.

In 2002, after many years of service, the 1990 Chevrolet ambulance was replaced with a new four wheel drive Ford rig with all the latest equipment. In order to better serve the community, the company acquired and trained with a automatic defibrillator, providing yet another tool in lifesaving. A thermal imaging camera was added to the arsenal of tools in fire fighting, enabling the firefighters to see in the dark.

The twenty first century started with plans to replace the aging 65-foot Seagaves ladder truck. This 1963 vehicle was given to the Company by the Town of Ridgefield in 1985. Planning lasted for almost 2 years, culminating in the purchase of a 70 plus foot tower truck from Sutphen Corporation, a leader in manufacturing fire apparatus.

Good equipment and apparatus are important to serving the community but they are of no use without someone operating them. This is why the GVFC has maintained a regular training program to educate it's firefighters and EMS staff about the latest techniques and equipment.

It has been 75 years since the volunteer fire department of Georgetown was founded. Congratulations to all the men and women serving our community- we cannot thank you enough.


List of Fire Chiefs

S. Harold Samuelson 1928-29, Arthur A. Smith 1930-32, Harry V. Lindstrom 1933, David Wahlquist 1934-36, Albert R. Berger 1937-53, Earl H. Tarrant 1954-55, Stanley Mendick 1956, Wendall R. Keeler 1957-61, George W. Heibeck Jr 1962-69, Albert P. Mecozzi 1970-71, Donald E. Heibeck 1972-1978, Jack Sundlof 1979-1984, Mike Heibeck

List of Presidents

William H. Hunter 1935-39, James C. Driscoll Sr. 1940, Harold Connery 1941-42, 1945, Elmer Mayer 1943, 1946-52, Frank O'Neil 1944, Joseph Ellis 1946, I.J. Bonsignore 1947, Robert Anderson 1948, Arthur Carlson 1949, Adolph Mayer 1950, Jasper Bonsignore 1951, Herbert A. Kearns, Jr. 1953, Charles Nessel Sr. 1954, Louis Nazzaro 1955, C. Bertil Rosendahl 1956, Peter Driscoll 1957, Harry L. Colley 1958, Floyd J. Bouton 1959, George Boete 1960-64, Robert Lanehart 1965, Melvin Redmond 1966-68, Bruce Davis 1969-1970, Walter F. Okarmus 1971-1975, Earl H. Tarrant 1976, John Palmieri 1977, Bob Mecozzi

Ladies Auxilary 1978

Dorethy Farrell, President; Wanda Mardin, Vice President; Verna Barrett, Secretary; Bonny Palmieri, Treasurer; Kay Conley, Barbara Heibeck, Dolores Mecozzi, Betty Robinson, Bea Mills, Helen Sabilia

Ladies Auxilary 2003

Joyce Johnson, Terry Soares, Delores Johnson, Cindy Zap, Hazel Heibeck, Linda Fleming, Verna Barrett, Cheryl Muniz, Terry Lepoutre, Alison Heibeck, Mary Lynch, Jane Stern, Helen Sabila, Joan Sundlof

Charter Members

Abbott, A.G.; Ancona, Joseph; Anderson, Teofif; Banks, Benjamin B.; Barbour, Harold; Barrett, James; Bartram, Bradley H.; Bartram, Charles; Batterson, Wilkie; Bennett, H. Clinton; Bennett, Lansing; Berger, Albert R.; Berglund, David; Berglund, Juluis; Berglund, Paul; Berglund, Ruben; Bergstone, Ragnar; Bouton, Floyd B.; Bouton, Harry; Briggs, Charles; Butler, Charles; Carlson, Arthur; Carlson, Harold; Carlson, Hjalmar; Carlson, Victor; Castle, Howard V.; Churchill, Augustus; Colley, Everett ; Connery, Harold; Connery, James; Connery, Michael; Drew, George; Driscoll, James C. Sr.; Durgy, Archie; Englund, Eugene; Flood, Thomas; Fox, Richard; Fox, Stanley Sr.; Frishman, Paul; Glans, Charles; Glans, David; Hamalainen, V.; Hansen, Nils; Hill, R.H.; Hoffman, Henry; Holmes, Harry; Hughes, Wilfred; Hunter, William H.; Jaderlund, Howard; Jansen, H.; Jennings, Floyd C.; Johnson, Axel E.; Johnson, Ivan; Johnson, Otto; Keeler, Hawley; Kenney, Edward; Koltz, Everett; Lent, Gordon; Leiberg, Eric; Lindstrom, Harry V.; Locke, Joseph; Lorenson, Hiram; Mayer, Edward Sr.; Meyer, Lawis; Miller, Louis P.; Miller, Samuel J.; Mills, Clifford J. Sr.; McIIwain, Ralph; Nordlund, Paul; Obie, Edjar; O'Neill, Frank Sr.; Osborn, Arthur; Osborn, Charles; Peckham, Herbert; Peterson, Albein; Perkins, William I.; Perry, Walter H.; Pryor, William; Rantamen, T.V.; Robie, Wesley; Roggon, Walter; Rowland, Charles; Salonen, Oscar; Samuelson, Axel; Samuelson, Harold; Sanservieri, Dominick; Schieber, George; Shorneck, David; Smith, Arthur A.; Stiles, Donald; Stiles, Oliver; Stiles, Wesley; Stotberg, Loretz; Sturges, Frederick Sr.; Taylor, Leonard B.; Thompkins, Charles; Vidmark, David; Wahlquist, David; Warwick, William

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