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New Technology in the Fire Department

On February 18, 1995 two tenants living at 333 Pine Street were killed in a fast spreading fire at 333 Pine Street, located across the street from fire headquarters. Heavy fire was showing from the large rooming house when firefighters arrived to battle the early morning fire that took 4 alarms to control.

In the summer of 1995 the Manchester Fire Department was introduced to a new firefighting technology, Compressed Air Foam. The department was the first to use the CAF in New England. A new pumper carrying the compressed air foam system has been purchased for $321,000 and assigned to Engine 3 on South Willow Street. Engine 2 on South Main Street and Engine 7 on Somerville Street have also received CAF pumpers.

On October 21, 1995 a two-alarm fire destroyed the historic 4-H center building at Pine Island Pond. The building was reportedly built in the 1880s. The fire, reported at 23:49 hours, was through the roof of the 3-story structure when firefighters arrived. The fire was brought under control at 01:41 hours.

In March, 1996 the department took delivery of a new hazardous materials response truck that will be stationed at fire headquarters. Rescue 1 will respond to all hazardous material incidents, rescue calls, and structure fires.

Cardiac arrest victims in Manchester increased their survival chances beginning in the summer of 1997 due to a new lifesaving unit called a defibrillator. All MFD apparatus will have a defibrillator included as standard equipment on-board. All emergency medical technicians in the department are certified.

In March, 1997 Station 6 located in the heart of the westside of the city took delivery of a 100 foot Nova Quintech tower ladder that features a 15-ft jib arm. This truck is only the second of its kind delivered east of the Mississippi River to date.

New England is well known for its old mill buildings that adorn the Merrimack River area. Manchester is no different. The fire department has been fortunate through the years that major fires have been avoided in these huge structures. That all changed on April 12, 1998 when a fire was reported in the vacant Seal Tanning Building located at 100 Commercial Street. The 230,000 square foot 19th century building fire went to three alarms. It was eventually fought with master streams from tower ladders, after an interior attack was withdrawn, and was classified as arson.

Firefighters working the day platoon on June 18, 1998 responded to a call that many firefighters may never see in their entire career. It was a restored British Hawk Hunter fighter jet that had crashed just short of the Manchester Airport runway in a wooded field. The pilot managed to avert further tragedy by steering the plane away from I-293 and the Post office, thus saving many lives.

Two fatal fires occurred in the city in 1998. On November 9th a man died in a three-alarm fire that caused extensive damage to an apartment building at Devonshire Village Apartments in the early hours. A second victim was killed in a three story apartment building fire at Pine and Auburn streets on November 30th.

New Year’s Eve 1998 kept firefighters busy as they fought another three-alarm fire that recalled all off duty firefighters to 3 Dutton Street. It took firefighters two hours to bring the fire under control as they battled the fire and extreme cold.

On Sunday, March 28,1999 fire destroyed a three story, brick condominium complex at 1991 Bodwell Road that sent building residents fleeing into the street at 2 a.m. The attic collapsed while firefighters were working on the second floor, but escaped injury. The three-alarm blaze was declared under control at 4:29 a.m.

One hundred and fifty years have passed since the first volunteers dedicated their lives to protect the citizens of Manchester. Through their efforts and innovations the department has endured and progressed into what we are today. They have left us a legacy of pride and tradition.

Chief engineers of the Manchester Fire Department prior to organization as a paid department.

  • Moody Currier 1843
  • Daniel Clark 1844-45 1851-52
  • William C. Clarke 1846-1848
  • Isaac C. Flanders 1849 first chief after the city 1848
  • Warren L. Lane 1850
  • John H. Maynard 1853-1854, 1856
  • Jacob James 1851, 1855
  • Peter S. Brown 1857-1858
  • Jonathan T. P. Hunt 1859-1860
  • Albe C. Heath 1861, 1864
  • Daniel W. Fling 1862-1863
  • Nehemiah S. Bean 1865-1866
  • Israel Dow 1867-1868
  • Edwin P. Richardson 1869-1870
  • Benjamin C. Kendall 1871-1874
  • Albion H. Lowell 1875

Chief engineers organization as a paid department:

  • Thomas W. Lane 1879-1917
  • Charles H. French 1917-1945
  • Aubrey Robinson 1945-1947
  • Napoleon Guevin 1947-1959
  • Edward Grady 1959-1964
  • John E. Devine 1964-1976
  • John Lydon 1976-1987
  • Robert DeCotis 1987-1994
  • Joseph Kane 1994-2007
  • James Burkush 2008-2016
  • Daniel Goonan 2016-Present