SFD Events

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July 14 & 15 1942 Captain John J. Cooney & Captain Frank J. Fox attended the Bomb Reconnaissance School held at the State Trade School of Bridgeport, Conn.


Drill Tower struck by lightning, at about 1:25pm. Southwest corner near roof splintered. Repaired July 30, 1946


In the early days of bucket brigade, the subject of pay to volunteers apparently was laid to rest. "…the town voted expressly 'not' to reimburse those inhabitants who had turned out to sop fires in the winter of 1707."


In 1844 "with $24.71 as a grand total (in the Borough treasury), the Burgesses set about to see what a fire engine would cost, and what amount of taxable property was in the Borough."


Aware of the danger of fire in the growing village and anxious to reduce the high cost of insurance coverage, a mutual fire insurance company was formed by John Davenport, Jr., David Maltbie, Samuel Jarvis, George Mills and John William Holly. The constitution of the Stamford Mutual Insurance Co., dated February 20, 1797, limited it to houses valued at $500 or more. Policies were to be activated when 30 subscribers signed. It is not know if the company actually got going.


The first reference in Borough records* relating to firemen in Stamford is dated August 11, 1844, when at a meeting of the freemen it was "resolved that the borough will purchase two fire engines with hoes (sic), hooks, ladders, etc. as the necessity of the Borough may require." To pay for the engine, a tax of 10 mills on the dollar was levied and James B. Scofield was paid ten dollars for collecting it. [Only one engine was purchased at the time.] *Note: The words "first reference" and "Borough records" in this valuable 1892 sourcebook may have led historians to ignore the earlier Town records.


Civil Authority and Selectmen of Stamford to meet on July 4, 1829, to nominate and appoint a fire company to work a fire engine… 'AND NO MEMBER OF SAID COMPANY SHALL BE EXEMPTED FROM THE PERFORMANCE OF MILITARY DUTY UNTIL AN ENGINE SHALL BE PROCURED FOR THEIR USE." [Apparently, the town did not yet have a fire engine. Similar restrictions are also in Resolves for other Connecticut fire companies.]


In December, 1844, "Rippowam Fire Engine Company No. 1" having been formed with Sands Seely as foreman, the new engine was placed in its charge. The cost of this machine was $500, and the committee - James B. Scofield, Edwin Bishop and Enos B. Waterbury -- also purchased 197 ft. of hose for $118.20. According to H. H. Easterbrook*, a fire historian, this engine was a "goose-neck" model, hand-drawn, hand-pumped. The new fire company soon petitioned the State for a Charter which was granted in the 1845 Session.
*H. H. Easterbrook wrote a letter on June 9, 1911 to H. W. Parker, Chief of the Stamford Fire Department in which he gave many details of the early Stamford fire engines. This letter was published in the Stamford Advocate June 24, 1911 and also quoted in Sherwood. The original is at the Fire Department.


On July 4, 1829, The Minutes of the Civil Authority and Select Men of Stamford, Daniel Lockwood, Chm. And Charles Hawley, Clerk, record that 16 men were appointed members of and "constituted the Stamford Fire Engine Company."
The men appointed were: Jonathan B. Waterbury, William H. Holly, John W. Leeds, Seth Miller, Davis Lockwood, Peter Smith 3rd, William H. Adams, John A. Finney, William Ingraham, Washington Webb, Frederick Webb, Philander Daskam, George S. Smith, Alanson Knapp, Rufus Hoyt and Sylvester Webb.


CHARTER, RIPPOWAM FIRE CO., JUNE 1845: "Upon a petition of Sands Seely, Lorenzo Meeker and others praying for a fire company in the borough of Stamford: "Resolved, That Sands Seely, Lorenzo Meeker, James H. Minor and such other persons residing in the borough of Stamford as shall associate with them, not exceeding thirty in the whole, be and they are hereby constituted a corporation and fire company, by the name of "THE RIPPOWAM FIRE COMPANY; which company shall have power to appoint the necessary officers...etc."


At the annual Town meeting, the Select Men authorized to erect a town house at a cost of nor more than $1,000.00. It was to be built on Main St. (Connecticut Turnpike Road) where Isaac Quintard had his hay scales. This was in the triangle of Atlantic Square south of Main St. The town house faced North on Main. The modest building was to be enclosed before April 1, 1830.
[Except for the hay scales, the triangle behind the Town House was left clear for 15 years, when it became the site for the Borough's first know fire house.]


"In 1845 an engine house was erected in the rear of the Town Hall, which stood on Atlantic Square, and this became Rippowam's headquarters."
This engine house stood for 25 years, and for 10 years was Stamford's only firehouse. It probably was a very simple building; the engine and attendant hose carts were small, hand-drawn (no horses).


The Borough of Stamford was incorporated late in the spring of 1830 and embraced 663 people in 92 families. [The Sentinel editor on June 8, 1830, stated "This includes an area of about three-fourths of a mile square, 68 dwelling houses…four [churches], 11 stores, 28 mechanic shops, 2 public and 5 private schools, a town house, a printing office, a flour mill, an extensive tannery, 3 large stone buildings for rolling iron, and 663 inhabitants [out of 3,705 for the whole Town]."


Rippowam company's first annual meeting in 1845 elected Sands Seely foreman, James H. Minor assistant, S. K. Satterlee secretary, and C. H. Leeds treasurer.


The Sentinel published the by-laws of the new Borough of Stamford wherein the Borough may ordain laws as necessary for "…the management of a fire engine and for the protection of buildings from fire."


The new Rippowam Fire Engine Company dedicated itself with a parade in uniforms of blue with blue and white striped shirts, accompanied by the Stamford Brass Band and State Senator Charles Hawley.


On November 16, 1830, the editor of The Sentinel in Stamford, CT. wrote: "Whatever became of the fire engine left in this Borough, for trial of its powers, a few weeks since, preparatory to make a purchase? We believe those who were anxious to obtain one, have forgotten the circumstance, as we have hardly heard it named of late that a machine of the kind was in the neighborhood.
"We invite the attention of all those concerned to the subject tomorrow afternoon at 4 o'clock, at Mr. Waring's. Punctual attendance of the members of the Fire Company would be gratefully acknowledged by all interested in devising some measure to guard not only private but public property from destruction by fire. The cold season fast approaches when fire becomes necessary to comfort, and destruction of property by its getting the mastery is the most frequent."

[If this meeting was ever held, we cannot find a report. --RDT]

The Connecticut Assembly in its meeting in 1850 [sic] increased the number of members of the Rippowam company from 30 to 60. [Note discrepancy: Conn. St. "Resolves, Vol. III p.543 says increase was made in 1855.]


One of the early fire-prevention regulations of the new Borough banned use of "combustibles known as crackers." It has been ignored ever since. Other regulations from time to time banned bakers, tallow chandlers, and blacksmiths from buildings in the borough, as their fires were considered hazardous. Fire wardens inspected houses and shops to check on stoves, stove-pipes and the handling of ashes. Chimneys were to be cleaned regularly. Two-dollar fines were levied for every offense.


Passed in 1854: a Resolution Incorporating THE STAMFORD FIRE ENGINE COMPANY NO. 2: "Resolved by this Assembly, That Andrew Perry, Edwin Bishop, Gilbert K. Ricker [Riker], Theodore J. Daskam, George E. Scofield, Jesse A. Read, John N. Webb, Theodore Lockwood, William Lavendar, Francis Dauchy, Theodore Hoyt, William W. Smith, Charles F. Peck, Theodore Davenport, Jr., and Charles B. Finch, and such other persons residing within one mile of the town house in the borough of Stamford, as they shall associate with them, not exceeding forty in the whole, and they and their successors hereby are made and constituted a corporation by the name of "The Stamford Fire Engine Company No. 2" ...etc.


"Saturday morning…fire broke out in the tannery of [James] and Boyton near the Noroton River Bridge and the buildings together with a quantity of _____ and other stock entirely consumed. $2500 of stock was insured."


On April 26, 1831, a meeting of the Civil Authority and Select Men of [the Town of] Stamford, Simeon H. Minor presiding, was held for the purpose of appointing a certain number of firemen for the Borough. Nine men resigned, and nine new men were added, including Sands Seely who was to become a leader in the development of fire protection in the young Borough.


On April 28, 1832, with Charles Hawley, Chm., 6 new men were added "to fill vacancies." The roster then included: Alanson H. Knapp, Geo. S. Smith, Wm. H. Ingraham, Sands Seely, Alfred A. Holly, John A. Ingraham, Moses Smith, Washington Webb, Austin G. Clark, Sylvester L. Webb, Charles Horton, William H. Webb, John A. Finney, John Gaylor, Isaac M. Smith and George Provost.


The Stamford Advocate, then know as "The Intelligencer," first occupied a small building on the south side of the present West Park. Here it was burned out on July 4, 1832 and moved to the west side of Atlantic Square where the "old" town hall now stands. It was soon burned out a second time and moved up to Clark's Hill.


The Advocate [then named the Intelligencer] started in the summer of 1829… in a small building on the south side of the present West Park. Here it was burned out on July 4, 1832, and the business was removed to premises on the west side of Atlantic Square where the Town Hall now stands.
[According to the Advocate's 150th Anniversary issue, April 7, 1979, pg. 65: "It was soon burned out a second time and moved up to Clark's Hill..."]

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