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We Didn't Start the Fire (Department)

How long has Branford's Fire Department been around?

In honor of the upcoming lecture about the history of , "Hoses, Hooks, and Ladders," at the  and the upcoming , I thought we'd have a quiz for Branford Patch readers. How many of these multiple choice questions can you answer?

1) The current Branford Fire Department is comprised of how many Career Professional Firefighters?

a) 7

b) 15

c) 28

d) 35

2) How many volunteer fire fighters currently serve?

a) under 50

b) between 50 and 75

c) between 75 and 100

d) over 100

3) When was the Branford Fire Department founded?

a) 1850

b) 1899

c) 1912

d) 1940

4) In what year was the first North Main and Cherry Hill Road location built as a central Fire Headquarters?

a) 1943

b) 1951

c) 1957

d) 1963

5) What was the name of the first fire company in Branford?

a) Martin Burke Hook & Ladder Company 1

b) Louis A. Fisk Hose Company 1

c) Short Beach Hose Hook & Ladder Company

d) Hook & Ladder Company 1

Bonus question: Who was M. P. Rice?

If you don't know the answers, check out the lecture on , or look here next week for these and other facts about the history of Branford's Fire Department.

Alana Joli Abbott March 14, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Can't wait to see what you all come up with!
SolarPete March 15, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Because of the difficulty firemen were having mobilizing the hose cart from where it was being stored in town hall, the town purchased land on West Main Street (now 341 Main Street) from Michael Mason for $300. On it, local contractor Benjamin Hosley erected a two-story hose house to store the equipment of M.P. Rice Hose Company 2 for $600. Upon moving their equipment, members of M.P. Rice hosted a house warming at their new quarters in the fourth ward on February 9, 1901. M.P. Rice Company 2 continues to operate from this building today. Equipment operated by L.A. Fisk Hose Company No. 1 and Martin Burke Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 were moved to a new station built on a strip of land at 23 Hillside Avenue purchased in 1901 from T.J. McCarthy for $900. The building was erected for $2,100. It served the fire department in this capacity until 1915 when the building was converted into a school, and later into a police station.
SolarPete March 15, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Headquarters Engine Company 8 was founded in 1910 and operated from Baldwin’s Garage on John Street. Under the leadership of the company’s first Captain Irving Baldwin, the company eventually combined with the L.A. Fisk Hose Company and the Martin Burke Hook and Ladder Company. Used to alert members about fires, the first alarm was a steam whistle that was taken from the steamer “White Star”. The first engine was a 1910 Hartford Pope seven-passenger touring car that was equipped with fire hose and equipment and was driven by Baldwin and Johnny Barnes. In 1936 Headquarters Company No. 8 and the Branford Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 split into separate operations. In 1963 the company moved to the current fire headquarters building at 43 North Main Street. Five acres of property was purchased from the MIF Company for $51,500 and building was erected for $186,000. Original plans to have M.P. Rice Hose Company 2 move to the new headquarters building along with Hook and Ladder Company No.1 and Headquarters Company 8 was staunchly protested by the members of M.P. Rice.
SolarPete March 15, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Martin Burke Hook and Ladder Company it never had a one attached to this company. Appointed to the Branford Board of Fire Commissioners were residents M.P. Rice, T.P. Carney, David Ashman, J.H. Barker, and W.N. Boynton. On November 4th Martin Burke was elected the first Chief of the Branford Fire Department. During November 1900, Hose Company No. 2 became M.P. Rice Company No. 2. Named for Michael P. Rice, the son of Edward Rice, one of Branford’s first native settlers from Ireland who came to the states in 1862 with Edward Kennedy to work at the Branford Lock Works. M.P. Rice started and operated a livery and carting business headquartered on Main Street along Veto Street. He and business partner John T. Sliney built the first railroad bridges at Kirkham and Montowese Streets and did a great deal of work on the Blackstone Library. Active in town affairs, Rice was elected to serve as Selectman at the age of 23. He served four consecutive years and was later elected to serve again from 1899 until 1904. During that time Rice was instrumental in the establishment of the Branford Fire Department. He served as the chairman of the fire commission as well as an active charter member of Hose Company No. 2. When a contest was held to see whose name the Fire Company would bear, voters paid five cents to cast their votes. M.P. Rice won the election receiving 1200 votes. Company 2 continues to bear the name of M.P. Rice today.

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