The city of Concord is a city steeped in history. Concord was settled in 1635 by about a dozen families, most of whom came from England specifically for this purpose. On April 19, 1775, Concord and Lexington fought and won the first battle of the American Revolution.
The Concord Fire Department also has a rich history.
Early fire company – 1794
Organized fire protection in Concord dates back to 1794, when the Fire Company was formed, which owned a small hand truck with a bucket-filled tank. “Each member was required to keep two leather buckets, a ladder, and a large canvas sack ready for use. Each member was expected to take their buckets and sack at the signal of a fire and go to the scene and help save property from destruction.”
This fire society continued to operate until the municipal fire department was established in 1855. During that year, the department was called out three times, all to the Pyle Factory for building fires, and the total appropriation was $288.90.
In 1874, the beginnings of a public water system were introduced in downtown Concord, which continued to develop over the years. In 1899, the town meeting voted to establish a fire alarm system to be installed and maintained by the municipal light plant.
First permanent member – 1915
In 1915, the fire department saw its first permanent member, a man named Royden A. Bass, and was assigned to the central station. By 1935, the number of full-time firefighters had increased by 5, including the appointment of the first permanent fire chief, Harry Tuttle. In those early days, the permanent men were assigned “…to be on duty at all times…” and in addition to annual leave, they were allowed “one day off (twenty-four hours) every seven days.”
Pensions for city employees – 1940
Following a vote at the 1940 annual town meeting, a committee was formed to study pensions for town employees, including permanent firefighters. Both the committee and the aldermen unanimously recommended the adoption of a contributory pension system. The recommendation was presented to the citizens, and the pension system was established thereafter.
The first ambulance – 1951
On January 1, 1951, an ambulance was transferred from the police department to the fire department and placed at the West Concord Fire Station. During that year, the department responded to 141 medical calls, including service to many towns in the region.
Increase in staffing – 1954-56
In 1954, the department consisted of 19 permanent men, which included the appointment of the first permanent Deputy Chief/Deputy Forest Warden, Harry A. Patterson. In 1956, three additional men were hired to increase the shift strength to eight, one captain and seven privates. Each was assigned to one of three platoons and worked an average of 56 hours per week.
New headquarters – 1960
On October 1, 1960, the fire department moved to its new headquarters at 209 Walden Street, where it remains today. The former headquarters station at 16 Walden Street was closed and later became the Walden Station sandwich shop.
Shorter workweek with more firefighters 1968-77
At the annual town meeting in March 1968, approval was given to hire four more men. This would provide the same shift coverage while reducing the work week to 48 hours. It wasn’t until 1977 that the department was increased to 32 permanent members plus a fire chief.
First Lieutenants – 1982
In 1982, the Department created the position of Lieutenant to be an officer of the West Concord Engine Company. The first four members to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant were Paul Denaro, Walter Macone, Robert Robinson, and Earl Stone.
Increase in Safer Grant Staff – 2007
In 2007, we added 4 firefighters (one per shift) to the Safer Grant ranks. The Safer Grant pays a decreasing percentage of the firefighter’s salary over four years. The firefighter’s salary for the fifth year must be fully funded from the Concord Fire Department budget.