Sturbridge – History of the fire station

The fire headquarters was located at the intersection of US Route 20 and Route 148 in the Fiskdale section of Sturbridge. It was originally a Nash-Rambler automobile dealership before becoming the headquarters of the Sturbridge Fire Department in the 1930s. Two pumps and two “engines” with bodies equipped with forestry hose and small pumps operated from this station.

The Sturbridge Fire Department owned a pair of engines with bodies that carried essential firefighting tools such as hoses, ladders, hand tools, lanterns, and a small pump. These engines had no license plates. The engines were removed from the FD, but one chassis was installed for the water service and is now used as a pipe truck.

Engine 0 (zero) was a 1942 Ford Fire engine. It was the first true commercial pump purchased by the City of Sturbridge. It had a 300-gpm pump mounted in the front with an additional 300-gpm tank on board. This engine served the city until 1981 and was then transferred to the city’s Highway Department, which restored the chassis and is still in use today.

Engine 1 is a 1950 Ford fire truck purchased by the city. This vehicle had a 500-gallon water tank and had a rated pump capacity of 500 gallons per minute. It had a complete set of hoses, hand tools, lighting, and a 40-foot ladder mounted overhead. This engine was also decommissioned in 1981.

Engine 2 was a 1956 Ford “Big Job” fire engine 800 from 1956. This engine was also equipped with a 500 gallon per minute front pump. The reason for this was that Sturbridge firefighters often had to draw water from static sources, such as the numerous lakes and ponds around the city. The front-mounted pump made it easier to access these water sources. The size of the on-board water tank was increased to 1,000 gallons as firefighters learned the benefits of having more “water on wheels.”

This is the first ambulance purchased by the City of Sturbridge. It was a Pontiac (of unknown make) purchased from the neighboring Southbridge Ambulance Service for $800. The Sturbridge Fire Department ambulance was put into service in December 1959. Fire Chief Stephen S. Shumilas stands next to the newly acquired ambulance. Chief Shumilas was the second full-time chief of the Sturbridge Fire Department.

In 1979, the fire department embarked on a project. They obtained a surplus four-wheel-drive SUV and converted it into a forest fire truck equipped to handle the rougher terrain in and around Sturbridge. The 1954 Dodge Power Wagon was disassembled, prepped and painted; members then began working on outfitting the vehicle to fight bushfires.