The Brookfield area was originally settled as Quaboag Plantation in 1660. The Town of Brookfield was incorporated as a municipality in 1673 and included the area of what is now the towns of North Brookfield, West Brookfield, East Brookfield, and portions of New Braintree, Warren, and Ware. The Brookfield Fire Department was formed in 1855. The Department enjoys a rich history of service, commitment, and dedication to the town of Brookfield. The original firehouse was a two story wooden structure located not far from where the current fire station stands today. This engine house burned in 1926. This photo of the station and hose carriage was taken in 1886 as the department prepares for a muster.
Early fire apparatus in Brookfield included this cataract hand tub. This was Brookfield’s first piece of fire apparatus. The hand tub was purchased in 1855. Water would be drawn up the hard sleeve suction seen here from a pond or a cistern. It took an incredible amount of work to get this apparatus to a fire and to provide the force needed to push water through the primitive hoses that were towed to fires by teams of men as seen above.
In time manpower was supplemented by horsepower and steam power. Instead of manually generating water pressure using a hand operated piston style pump, steam would spin the impellers of a centrifugal pump. Brookfield’s first steamer was a 1892 Lafrance steamer housed in the east village. Steamer No. 2 was an Amoskeag steamer delivered to town in 1899. In 1902 it fought a major fire on Prouty St during which several firemen were injured. Later that year Steamer No. 2 fought a fire that burned the town hall and severely damaged the engine house.
A view of the horse drawn steamer as it travels past the Foster-Moulton Shoe Factory, later the Ideal Coated Paper Company, now occupied by the Gavitt Wire & Cable Company. Firemen were alerted to alarms of fire by a whistle on top of this factory.
The newly constructed Town Hall can be seen in the background of this photo of a Brookfield steamer on Central St.
Alarms for brushfires were announced by the ringing of the Town Hall Bell.
The Company proudly changed it’s name to reflect the change in technology. It is not known when this photo was taken. Steamer No. 2 was located in the center of Brookfield. Brookfield’s other fire company, Steamer No. 1, was located in the east end of town. The Village of East Brookfield ceded in 1920 and was incorporated as the Town of East Brookfield by an act of the state legislature.
The move to steam power was not the last big change for the Brookfield Fire Department. The early 1900’s saw a move to motorized fire apparatus.
The fire engine below, a 1924 Reo, is thought to be the Town of Brookfield’s first piece of motorized fire apparatus.
Chiefs of the Brookfield Fire Department – Served as Chief
George Hill 1891-1895
Edward Delaney 1900-1920
John Byron 1921-1924
John Tunstall 1924-1925
Herman Wright 1925- 1932
Stuart Hall 1932-1942
Earl Mayo 1942-1943
Stuart Hall 1943-1958
William Gero 1958-1969
Horace May Jr. 1969-1977
William Tourtellotte 1977-1986
George Clancy 1986-1988
Edmond Boucher 1988-1997
Peter Martell 1997-present
Time Line of Significant Events
1855 The Brookfield Fire Department was formed. Equipment included 2 Button hand tubs and two hose carriages.
1892 A Lafrance steamer was purchased and designated Steamer No. 1 in the east village.
1899 A second steamer was purchased and stationed in the center village.
1902 Town Hall destroyed by fire. The engine house behind it was severely damaged.
1903 Fires destroyed the Garden House Shore Hotel on North Pond and the Hotel Metropole.
1918 Powerhouse and trolley car barn destroyed by fire.
1920 Steamer Co. 1 in the east village becomes a separate entity as the Town of East Brookfield is incorporated.
1924 A Reo Combination truck was purchased. This is the first mention of motorized fire apparatus.
1925 A new alarm system consisting of mechanical siren was purchased to alert firemen.
1926 Engine house and most fire equipment destroyed by fire.
1926 A Larabee fire engine was purchased
1928 New brick firehouse completed and opened on Central St.
1937 A Chevrolet brush truck was purchased.
1947 A Dodge/Farrar 500gpm pumper was purchased.
1949 A 1939 Ford fire truck was purchased
1952 A 1947 Dodge was purchased. The ’37 Chevy was taken out of service.
1955 An American Lafrance 750gpm fire engine was purchased. 1926 Larabee taken out of service.
1958 Red phone alarm system and two-way radios placed in service.
1960 A 1960 Dodge Powerwagon was purchased for brushfires. The ’39 Ford was taken out of service.
1961 A used 2,000 gallon tanker was placed in service.
1963 Radio alarm alerting system placed in service.
1966 The Post Office moved out of the east wing of the firehouse and the space was renovated.
1971 A Maxim fire engine was purchased and placed in service as Engine Two.
1975 A used 3,000 gallon International tanker truck was placed in service.
1976 A Rescue Squad is organized to provide ambulance service to the town.
1979 New Plectron home alerting system placed in service.
1983 A Ford/Middlesex fire engine was placed in service as Engine Three. The 2 dodges were removed from service.
1987 Chief’s car, a 1982 Dodge Diplomat, was handed down from the PD.
1994 The ambulance service is licensed by the state to operate at the paramedic level.
1995 A new 3,000 gallon Freightliner/Tanker was purchased.
1997 1986 GMC placed in service as Forestry two.
1998 The fire siren is taken out of service.
1998 The first ‘SQUAD” unit, a 1990 Wheeled Coach, is placed in service
1999 The first fulltime Firefighter-Paramedic is hired
2000 A 1987 Ford/Grumman fire engine was purchased to replace the 1955 American Lafrance.
2001 A 1979 5 ton AM General placed in service as a forestry tanker.
2004 A new communications system and alerting system purchased with a federal grant.
2006 The Fire Station expands to include the former Highway Dept. garage.
2008 A new Spartan/Crimson fire engine replaces the 1971 Maxim pumper as Engine Two.
2009 The former Ambulance, a 1998 Road Rescue replaces the 1990 Wheeled Coach as Squad One.
2011 The Fire Department responded to Brimfield after 2 tornados swept through that town.
2013 The 1960 Dodge Power Wagon is removed from service and replaced with a military surplus vehicle