Waterville Fire-Rescue
    Fire Prevention, Suppression, Inspections, Hazardous Materials and Emergency Medical Services

    Founded 1809 - Protecting The Greater Waterville Area For Over 200 Years
9/11/2001 - We Will Remember!

Home > History > 1961-1980

History 1961-1980

1961
The department had 12 full time drivers and Donald (Stump) Pooler as a full time Firefighter.

June 30: Quietly, almost unobserved the reins of the Department was changed. A colorful career of fire-fighting. A career that started on July 3, 1923. Ralph E. Oilman, 75 year old, officially retired from his chores as Chief of the Department. A Department he has headed for nearly 15 years.
He first became Chief Sept. 1, 1946, when Chief Napoleon Marshall retired.
The career of a smoke-eater is a perilous one. It's a life that frequently tempts fate. But the men who live the life love it and wouldn't quit. Only health or age calls a halt to the life of a fireman.
The Department was extensively modernized since he took the helm back in 1946. The first new piece of equipment purchased during Chief Oilman's tenure was the aerial ladder assigned to the Hook and Ladder Company. Next came two 750 gallon pumpers which were used at the Ticonic Street Station and Engine Company Two.
Then the Department purchased a truck with a tank on it and equipped it for fighting small grass and woods fires.
Another change was the construction of the Ticonic Street Station House, to which Engine Company Four was assigned. The Chief had one thought paramount in his mind, the good of the Fire Department and the security and safety of the residents.
It was July 3, 1923 that Chief Oilman was first elected to a volunteer company. Nearly 10 years later, March 6, 1933, he became clerk to the company and just a year later, March 5,1934, he was made the company Lieutenant.
Ten more years passed, and December 4, 1945, he was made Second Assistant Chief and on May 6, 1946, he became the first Assistant Chief. Four months later he became Chief.

July 16: See Photo of old/new Chiefs
See Photo of Chief Bernard Larsen

October 17: Box 42: 3:30 a.m.: Fire destroyed much of a wooden building housing the Red Star Laundry on South Street, with damage estimated as between $15,000 and $20,000.
All-Out was not sounded until 05:12 a.m. Much of the equipment in the laundry was a total loss, while there was not as much damage in the dry-cleaning section. According to Chief Bernard Larsen, the fire originated in the boiler room from undetermined cause.
Picture of Red Star Laundry on South Street.

1962
The Chief recommended that the work week be reduced from 72 hours to 60 hours for the full time drivers.

January 31: Box 121, 5:25 a.m.; Box 123, Double Alarm 5:40 a.m.; Dawn's faint streaks were invading the night skies as policemen making their business area rounds discovered the infant fire. Patrolmen Alphonse Symonevich and Louis Simon saw flames through windows and rushed to alert headquarters. In turn, Police Sergeant Glenwood Kierstead aroused the Fire Department. The fire was located at the Pulsifer and Flood Blocks, which range from 143 Main Street through 148 Main Street, a short distance north of the Temple Street intersection with Main Street.
Roaring flames and numbing temperatures were the obstacles dueled by firefighters in a seven-hour blaze that burned out two Main Street three-story blocks, affecting 14 business and professional firms and did total damage estimated tentatively at $300,000.
Firefighters emerged from fire houses and homes into a temperature of 24 degrees below zero to fight the blaze.
At the height of the fire, firefighters used seven lines of hose, about 12,000 gallons of water a minute were being pumped, according to the Kennebec Water District. The Department used about 150 gallons of gasoline in its trucks during the blaze.
Winslow Fire Chief William DiNardi sent two stand-by pieces of apparatus for action in event of other fire emergencies.
When the smoke cleared away, the red building skeletons looked down upon a Main Street covered with as much as three inches of ice in some places, fallen electrical wiring and sidewalk over which curious pedestrians thronged through the day. The usual automobile traffic was absent until mid-afternoon, when ice was cleared away.

February 2: 05:25 a.m., 143-148 Main Street, The Pulsifer and Flood Blocks; A seven hour blaze destroys two blocks and affects fourteen firms.
Considered virtually total losses were the Pulsifer and Flood Blocks, along with the contents of seven businesses.
Threatened were smaller buildings on either side of adjoining blocks, with businesses in them suffering smoke and water damage.
When the smoke cleared away, the red building skeletons looked down upon a Main Street covered with as much as three inches of ice in some places, fallen electrical wiring and a sidewalk over which curious pedestrians thronged through the day. The usual automobile traffic was absent until ice was cleared away.
The offices of Attorney Lewis L. Levine, Attorney Morton Brody, Singer Sewing Center, a Dancing School on the top floor, a Beauty Parlor, a Barber Shop, the law quarters of Attorneys William H. and William P. Niehoff, offices of Dr. Alfred L. Johnson, Dentist, and Robert H. Moody, Optometrist, were all destroyed.
Picture of the frozen aftermath of Fire at 143-148 Main Street.

February 28: Box 25, 11:28 p.m.: 2nd alarm 11:40 p.m.: Rollins-Dunham Block, Front Street. A 50 year old company was destroyed by fire.
Two Policemen discovered the fire while on patrol.
When firefighters arrived flames were shooting out of the rear of the building. During the battle, cans of paint, paint thinner, turpentine, and other flammable items continued to explode and feed the fire. Four pieces of apparatus and 75 firefighters brought the blaze under control and all-out was sounded at 3:30 a.m. The fire appeared to have started in the boiler room causing over $150,000 damage.
Chief praised his men, saying: We have a very fine working organization now.
Picture of Rollins and Dunham Fire on Front Street.

November 12: DEPARTMENT GETS NEW TRUCK. The Departments newest apparatus, a Seagrave 1,000 gallon pumper will be seen in the traditional Veterans Day parade. The truck arrived recently and will be seen publicly for the first time.
Picture of the New Seagrave 1000 gpm Pumper. L-R: Chief Bernard Larsen, Chairman of the Fire Committee; George T. Libby; Mayor Cyril M. Joly, Jr.

November 27: Department to get new Pick-Up Truck. Waterville Auto Sales was awarded low bid on the 1963 Ford F100, half-ton pick-up truck at a price of $1,461.98 with trade in. The truck is red in color, has a flareside body, six-cylinder engine, and three-speed transmission.

1963
Chief Larsen recommended that the City purchase land in the West end of the city for a fire station.
The Department's first pre-connect came into use on Engine One.

March 13: The 1937 Seagrave was sold after being involved in a traffic accident.

July 17: The Department's Mascot Spanner dies after eight years of service.

December 21: Box 23: 01:49 a.m.: 2nd alarm at 1:55 a.m.: 3rd alarm at 2:08 a.m.: All-Out was sounded at 10:50 a.m.: 79-83 112 Water Street: Seven families including children and an aged woman were evacuated from 2 wood frame three story apartment houses turned inferno in sub-zero weather. Firefighters effected a near-miraculous rescue of 34 occupants.
Picture of fire at Knotty Pine Tavern and Apartments
The three alarms within a matter of minutes called most of the city's fire equipment to the corner of Gold and Water Streets. There was no loss of life in the $75,000 fire.
Chief Bernard Larsen said the blaze appeared to have originated in the rear of the Knotty Pine Tavern. In the early stages of the fire, firefighters arrayed equipment and hoses to the rear of the buildings in an attempt to prevent the spread to numerous drums of fuel oil that were mounted on rear porches, but were unsuccessful in containing the fire.
At about 4:30 a.m. spurts of flame above the smoke could be seen as the oil tanks individually caught fire.
In a change of strategy, Chief Larsen called for the move to the Water Street side of the buildings as intense heat was driving firemen back from the structures.
The severe cold hampered efforts as a number of the hoses had frozen to the ice which formed six to eight inches deep around the burning buildings.
With the attack renewed from the street side of the tenements, firemen were able to concentrate on containing the flames.
While firefighters were busy fighting this fire, Winslow Firefighters, covering Central Station, were called and quickly quenched a fire at Bird & Son Roofing plant which was under construction at the Waterville Industrial Park.
Ten Winslow firefighters also joined in fighting the Water Street fire. One firefighter was injured as he fell from an icy ladder.
Chief Larsen said that several citizen volunteers were used in as much as many regular firemen had trouble getting cars going in the five-below-zero weather and were delayed in reaching the scene.
The Fire destroyed the Knotty Pine Restaurant. Firefighters used over 11,000 feet of hose to fight this fire.

December 31: For 65 years the bell on the Second Baptist Church sounded forth fire alarms in the south end of the city, but its service is now over. A new fire alarm system installed at Hose 3 with two horns is now providing more modern fire alarm services in the area.
Mayor Cyril M. Joly, Jr., extended the thanks of the city to members of the church for allowing its use for so many years.

1964
The department responded to 202 box alarms and 114 still alarms.

May 2: 12:10 p.m.: Barn burns briskly. For a while, it looked as if this blaze might get out of hand and spread to nearby buildings, but fast work by firefighters prevented flames from doing so. The barn was extensively damaged inside, and contents destroyed. Fire damage was mostly at top, as flames broke through the metal roof.

July 15: Fire Department Electrician Herman Claprood helps update the city's Fire Alarm System. Sixty thousand feet of wire was used to renovate a 51-year-o1d system, an old battery power system was replaced, two new horns were installed and the equipment house renovated with new heating equipment.
Inspecting the new fire alarm panel are left-right: Chief Bernard Larsen; Mayor Cyril M. Joly, Jr.; and City Electrician Herman Claprood.

1965
Call company Captains were: Hose 1, Lucien LaCroix; Hose 2, Harry Pooler; Hose 3, Vernal Vashon; Hose 4, Bertrand Marshall; Ladder 1, John Larracey.

October 17: 7-9 Sherwin Street: More than a dozen persons fled safely from two blazing Sherwin Street apartment buildings.
The double-alarm, explosion-punctuated inferno was one of two South-end fires within 5 hours. Total loss was estimated by Chief Bernard Larsen at $40,000.
Two other homes near the fire scene were badly scorched, but firefighters managed to keep flames from spreading throughout the block which was seriously threatened when flames shot high and wide during the fire's early minutes.
The fire originated on a back porch of 9 Sherwin Street.
Flames spread to the nearby 7 Sherwin Street. Firemen were delayed a few minutes in getting first water on the searing hot blaze when they encountered a faulty hydrant. But once a maze of hoses was in full operation, firefighters did a marvelous job in preventing spread of the inferno.
More than 10,000 feet of hose was laid at the scene, where five trucks were on hand.
Winslow Fire Department and Oakland Fire Department assisted in coverage and at the scene.
See picture of fire at 9 Sherwin Street

1966
March:
Firemen join union. The Department was granted a charter from the International Association of Fire Fighters AFL-CIO. The Department is organized under Loca1 1608, they were the tenth local in Maine to receive their Charter.
Picture of Firemen joining the Union

March 10: Fire Department Increases Asked: Pay raises of $300 for the Chief, $200 each for first and second assistants, $10 weekly increases for captains, lieutenants, and privates of the permanent force, creation of a $1,000 job as alarm system superintendent, $25,000 for new equipment, and a proposed $11,000 expenditure for repair to buildings, were top items in the Department's budget request. The total requests are $155,272.20.

August 14: 11 Water Street: Fire hits appliance store. Damage has been estimated roughly at about $50,000 at the White House Appliance Company.
Despite a flaming interior that greeted firefighters while battling the blaze, the one-time grain storage warehouse was saved from destruction, with the help of firemen from Winslow. Chief Larsen said the Front Street fire was definitely deliberately touched off underneath the floorboards.

September 9 & 10: The sun, hot but not sizzling, blazed brightly on the two-day third annual Maine State Federation of Firefighters Convention held here. Weather proved to be the big key to the success of a program of outdoor activities. Two thousand firefighters and their families participated.
Morning water battles, demonstrations of the use of foam in dousing a rip-roaring oil fire, a close to 100 unit parade, the Federation's General Meeting, a chicken barbecue, equipment demonstrations and a grand fireman's dance.
New Engine 3 was put into service.

1967
City of Waterville purchases its first Rescue vehicle. A 1967 Chevy Van.

February 11: Haines Theater on Main Street was destroyed by an explosion-punctuated blaze shortly after midnight. Some 85 firemen responded to the scene to battle flames which shot 100 feet skyward when the roof collapsed.
Picture 1 of Haines Theater Fire on Main Street.
Picture 2 of Haines Theater Fire on Main Street.

March 9: Box 52: 12:24 a.m.: A Waterville man died and a woman hospitalized for smoke inhalation following an explosion and fire at 4 School Street.
Chief Bernard Larsen said the lower story of the structure was a mass of flames when the Department arrived. Firefighters worked in eight degree temperature to battle the flames. Icy streets hampered the effort.
Picture of Fire at 4 School Street

December 10: Smoke poured from Pullen Brothers Ford garage on Silver Street, but flames were pretty well beaten down and firemen opened the doors to work inside. The establishment was hit by $25,000 blaze that destroyed the parts room, offices, and spread into the repair and preparation shop area. Defective wiring is believed to have started the fire at the rear of the building.
Picture of Fire at Pullen Brothers Ford Garage on Silver Street

1968
October 30:
Colby College: 09:25 p.m.: A building housing the 'Little Theater' on the campus was destroyed. The fire was discovered during a rehearsal, and the building was quickly emptied of the cast and crew. The fire apparently erupted in an attached shed at the rear of the building. This shed reportedly contained fuel barrels.
Firefighters, assisted from crews of Winslow, Fairfield, and Vassalboro Fire Departments, tried in vain to prevent major damage to the main structure. The intensity of the flames and extremely low water pressure, hampered firefighting efforts.
On scene were Engines 1, 2, Ladder 1, Rescue, 3 units from Winslow, 1 unit from Fairfield, and 1 unit from Vassalboro.
Firefighters were still on the scene past midnight.
Picture of Fire at Colby Theater
Picture of Engine Company 1
Picture of Engine Company 2
Picture of Engine Company 3
Picture of Engine Company 4
Picture of Ladder Company 1

1969
February 21:
The Rummel Ice Cream plant and store, located at 170 Silver Street was swept by a mid-morning fire. There was extensive damage to the building and equipment. The blaze was called in at 10:30 a.m. Chief Bernard Larsen dispatched Engines 1, 2, 3, and the Hook and Ladder Company. Winslow was called in to cover Central Station. Mr. Rummel complimented firefighter on the quick and efficient response to the alarm. He said, Their skill prevented the fire from spreading to our home which is connected to the buildings that burned.
Rummels Ice Cream Fire on Silver Street

September 5 & 6: The Sixth Annual Maine State Federation of Firefighter's Convention. Captain Lucien LaCroix was the chairman of the committee.
The convention got underway with registration throughout Friday, a social hour from 5-6 p.m. followed by a business meeting and election of officers.
Saturday included several events of interest to the public. A Handtub battle and a giant water battle featuring teams from twelve Maine cities and towns. A colorful parade was also on tap. A dance climaxed the event on Saturday evening.

October: The first Plectron alerting devices came into use.

1970
Picture of Department members Seated, L-R: Lt Paul Shiney, 1st A.C. Doc Stedman, New 2nd A.C. Lucien LaCroix, Chief Bernard Larsen, Out-going 2nd A.C. Errol Gilman, Alex Loisel. Standing, L-R: Carl Dutil, Louis King, Richard Willette, Robert Pelletier, Omer Saucier, Roger Pelletier, Roland LaCroix, Glen Cates, Lawrence LaCroix, Capt. Leo Vashon, Gene DeBlois, Robert Trahan, Edward Hachey, Julian Veilleux, Albert Smith, Don Pooler, Fred Berard, F. Babe Quirion, Tony Jones, Dick Maxwell.

July 2: Lucien LaCroix promoted to 2nd Assistant Chief.

1971
March 18:
A swiftly spreading fire believed ignited by a faulty electric heater cord, swept through a one-story home at 5 Burrill Street, shortly after 1:00 a.m. sending five of the six occupants to Seton Hospital for treatment of burns, smoke inhalation and cuts. Critically burned was a six-year-old boy. He received burns about his face and head, and was transferred to the Shrine Hospital in Springfield, Mass. His two-year-old sister, four year-old brother, and 27-year old mother were less seriously burned or injured.

June 5: Box 14: 03:25 a.m.: A 65-year-old Rabbi died in the early morning blaze that caused extensive damage to the home where he rented a small apartment at 303 Main Street. The owner and their teenage son escaped injury. Two Engines, Ladder One and Rescue responded. The rear of the building was a mass of flame when firefighters reached the scene. However, they were quickly able to bring the fire under control. All out was sounded at 6 a.m. The Rabbi's body was later found inside his apartment, which had received surprisingly little flame damage.

June 17: Sirens wailing, clanging bells local fire apparatus laid out a Welcome Mat for the new truck as it came off Interstate 95 at 11:55 a.m. With a little bit of reshuffling and doubling up, the Departments new closed cab American-LaFrance Aerial Ladder Truck, a 100-footer, longest in the section of the state, took its place.
The new truck gave firefighters greater reaching power on the city's tallest structures. It consists of four intertwined 24-foot sections controlled from the rear and feeding up from the front, just the reverse of the 1949 open cab Seagrave it replaced.

Picture of New Ladder 1: 1971: New Ladder 1 with L-R: Captain Don "Stump" Pooler, Captain Jerome "Moose" Boulette, Assistant Chief Lucien LaCroix, City Administrator Robert W. Palmer; Chief Bernard Larsen.

The unit was ordered last fall. It was put into service under the direction of Fire Chief Bernard Larsen, Assistant Chief Lucien LaCroix, and Captain John Larracey, head of the ladder company.

July 13: 6:00 p.m.: Four to six cattle died in an early evening blaze at the Holmes Farm on the County Road. The fire destroyed a large dairy barn and two silos. Flames broke out overhead in the barn, where between 15 and 20 tons of hay was stored. Oakland and Winslow Fire Departments also assisted at the scene.

August 7: Lee Richardson, a driver for the Department since 1963, was killed in a tragic automobile accident. Lee started on Rescue in 1963, then he went to Engine 4 and back to Central on Engine 1.

November: A vacant four and a half-story wooden frame apartment house located at 64 Water Street, was leveled in a spectacular blaze. The dwelling was scheduled for demolition Saturday of the coming weekend.
Fire Chief Bernard Larsen received a telephone call that couldn't be traced from an irate person who threatened to burn the place down if the city didn't remove it. The building eventually collapsed with a roar of flames down the steep embankment toward the Kennebec River.

1972
City opens new sub-station on Western Avenue.
Picture of New Western Avenue Sub-Station

January 29: Two Waterville Firefighters rescued a nine-year-old girl from the second story of a burning dwelling at 146 College Avenue at the corner of Crescent Street. The Department's aerial ladder truck reached the upstairs window from which the unconscious girl was removed and given emergency treatment by Lieutenant Fred Brown and rescue unit driver Robert Trahan. The girl was treated for smoke inhalation.

February 16: Box 218: 5:42 p.m.: A century-old former grist mill on Toward Street was destroyed by fire. The building owned by the Lewis Wolman Co. was about 80 percent leveled by the intense fire. It had been used for several years for storage of baled rags and paper which added to the inferno. All Waterville fire trucks were dispatched to the scene and remained there until 10:50 p.m. Five Engine Companies including the ladder unit battled the flames. The crews at the scene totaled about 65 men, Chief Larsen stated. A unit from Winslow Fire Dept. moved to Central Station in case of another fire. One truck remained at the scene throughout the night. Replacement value was estimated at $75,000.

1973
February 9:
04:42 p.m.: A late afternoon fire heavily damaged a house at 127 North Street. Chief Bernard Larsen said the blaze apparently started around the furnace in the cellar. He estimated the loss at over $20,000, including contents. Firefighters battled the smoky blaze more than an hour before it was declared out.

April: The Department welcomed a new Rescue Vehicle. It replaced a smaller van, whose costly repairs caused the City Council to approve the new vehicle. The new vehicle has a custom-designed body with separate compartments for most-frequently used equipment.
Picture of New Rescue 1:

May 5: Operation Red Ball was completed in the Waterville-Winslow area, through the combined efforts of the Jaycee Wives and the Waterville Fire Department Auxiliary. The idea of the project was to place a red ball decal on the windowpanes of rooms in which children sleep. This identification alerts firefighters allowing for quick access.

May 5: A $250,000 fire destroyed several businesses and apartments on Main Street late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The fire was located between Common Street and the Federal Trust Company on Main Street. Assistant Fire Chief Steve McGraw said the twelve-hour blaze appeared to have started behind the building housing Mr. Paperback. Chief Bernard Larsen said the blaze was thought to be of suspicious origin. Fire Companies from Waterville, Winslow, and Fairfield answered the 11:24 p.m. alarm issued by the city's Communications Center. Firefighters fought the stubborn blaze until the 11:15 a.m. all-out was sounded. The blaze destroyed Mr. Paperback, the Chi-Rho Shoppe, Gerard's Restaurant, Hodgdon and Mitchell, and the vacant premises of the former Gallant Shoe Store. Over 3,000,000 gallons of water was poured on the blaze. Nine firefighters were treated for various cuts, bruises, and smoke inhalation and one was taken to Thayer Hospital with a possible heart attack. Chief Larsen called Engines 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 to the scene Saturday night as well as Ladders 1 and 2. Winslow sent its ladder truck and pumper to cover Central Fire Station. Fairfield added a pumper to the scene. Over 7,000 feet of hose was laid to cover the blaze.

June 1: 27 Sherwin Street: Box 244: 11:45 p.m.: Another fire in a vacant two-story apartment house, the fourth major fire in four weeks.
Chief Bernard Larsen said: It was definitely set.
The blaze started outside the building and there was a strong odor of kerosene in the area. Assistant Chief Steve McGraw explained that the fire started in the rear of the house, near the first floor. The flames climbed the outside wall, caught on under the eaves, then broke through the interior, gutting out four rooms, two on each floor.
Fire crews battled the blaze for more than an hour.
Engines 1, 2, Ladder 1, and Rescue responded to the scene.

July 4: Lt. Conrad Paradis and crew members of Engine 3 became chefs for a day at the Pine Tree Camp in Rome. They tended fires for a hotdog feed for young campers. The crews provided fireman hats for all the young people, guest appearance by Smokey the Bear, and played a game of softball, and had a water battle.

August 16: 13 Kennebec Street: shortly after 9:00 A.M.: A blaze of very suspicious origin enveloped a garage, and spread to the two-story duplex and resulting in an estimated $15,000 damage.

1974
August 16:
Engine 1 Driver Richard Perry saves dog at Green Street Fire

1975
The Department purchased a new Dodge Crash Unit (still in use today).
Picture of Airport Crash Unit

May 22: Box 141: 11:35 p.m.: second alarm Box 42 at 11:37 p.m.: The Elm City's most spectacular blaze in some time destroyed Lee's Shur-Way Store at 81 Western Avenue in an early morning blaze.
The double alarm fire was still raging at 1 a.m., but Chief Bernard Larsen believed his men had flames pretty well restricted to the two-story wooden frame building and there appeared to be no real danger at that hour that they would spread to surrounding property.
The owner at the scene told observers he believed a compressor may have started the roaring inferno.
Chief Larsen said an explosion of some magnitude touched off the blaze from the reports he had received.
Engine 1, Ladder 1, Ladder 2, Engine 2, Engine 3, Engine 4, and Rescue went to the scene. Central Fire Station was covered by Winslow Fire.
An exhaust fan was set up at nearby Lakeview Nursing Home when heavy smoke blew in that direction and filled the building, but none of the patients had to be evacuated. The blaze was frequently punctuated by small explosions which sent short-lived balls of fire shooting out of the rear of the store.
The roof collapsed shortly before 1 a.m. and Chief Larsen said that gave his men a better chance to get at the fire.
Chief Larsen estimated the loss in the area of $125,000.
Fire at 81 Western Avenue

August 11: Box 316: 3:18 a.m.: An early morning fire in a second floor apartment at 7 Abbott Street claimed the life of a 16 year old youth.
Chief Bernard Larsen said cause of the blaze may have been a carelessly disposed cigarette. Neighbors reported seeing flames in a second-floor window. Responding were Engines 1 and 4, Ladder 1, Rescue, and Delta Ambulance.
The body was discovered at 3:27 a.m., Police Officers Ronald Raymond and Gary Bennett discovered the burned body.
The fire caused heavy damage in a small upstairs room occupied by the deceased.

1976
Gift to Pine Tree Camp:
Youngsters at Pine Tree Camp for Crippled Children in Rome were able to enjoy rides on North Pond in a new houseboat. Hose 3 launched money-raising efforts to complete purchase of the houseboat, which can accommodate six or seven wheelchairs. The Hose 3 firemen entertained the campers each year.
Picture of Engine Co. 3 at Pine Tree Camp

October 5: Central Fire Station officially rolled the department's new Engine 1 into service, marking the beginning of Fire Prevention Week. The cost of the new truck was $64,125.00.

December 3: A typical day at Central:
02:05 a.m.: Silver Street Tavern, the sprinkler bell was ringing. A portable pump and water vacuum were used to clean up the water.
09:44 a.m.: Box 141: A tractor fire on Second Rangeway.
12:22 p.m.: Rescue Call.
01:07 p.m.: Rescue Call.
02:45 p.m.: Rescue Call.
04:45 p.m.: Rescue Call.

December 4: Richard W. Perry, driver, died. He had been the subject of several benefits during the past year.

December 14: Box 121: 03:55 p.m.: second alarm Box33: 18 Water Street: An exploding automobile gasoline tank set off a major fire at the Veilleux Welding Co. The wooden structure was engulfed in flames in only minutes.
35 Firefighters were forced to fight a holding action in the biting cold and gale force. Welding tanks inside the building, exploded on their arrival fueling the inferno and blowing out windows. Chief Bernard Larsen said the entire inside of the building was on fire when his men arrived only minutes after the first alarm.

Picture of Fire at 18 Water Street

The estimated loss was $75,000.00.
According to reports, the owner was drilling a hole in a gasoline tank, when a spark apparently set it on fire.
Gale forces sent smoke high in the air, as temperatures continued to drop to below zero levels.

1977
January 25:
12:23 a.m.: 12:44 a.m. second alarm. A 67 year old Waterville landmark and popular College Avenue night spot was destroyed after a stubborn 12 hour fire, which began shortly after 12 noon. Damage to Hotel Emma was unofficially estimated at a quarter of a million dollars, but no one was injured. It was the 1st of two fires that broke out in the area.
The fire left the Hotel practically gutted. The roof had collapsed, 2nd & 3rd floors destroyed. The first floor flooded.
Firefighting strength included five pumpers, and three ladder trucks.
Chief Larsen said the fire started in the southwest corner of the third floor. It spread quickly and defied attempts by firefighters to get it under control. The smoke was visible in downtown up to 1/2 mile away. The fire was fought from all sides.

February 8: 04:21 a.m.: Two families evacuated 90 1/2 Front Street after a fire broke out in the second floor apartment.
Firefighters found flames spewing out a front living room window. Chief Bernard Larsen said the cause might have been a burning cigarette near a couch. The living room was extensively damaged. The fire was put down quickly, and the fire damage was contained to the one room.
Engines 1, 2, Ladder 1, and Rescue responded. They were all back in quarters by 04:53 a.m.

February 10: Box 614: 08:14 a.m.: A fire caused an estimated $7,000 damage to a West River Road chicken house. Approximately 400 out of 18,000 birds suffocated. Chief Bernard Larsen said the fire started from a backfiring furnace, which was in a cement block furnace room, it was demolished before the blaze was contained. Engine 1, 3, Ladder 1, and Rescue responded. All out was sounded at 9:18 a.m. 2,700 feet of 2 1/2, and 500 feet of 1 1/2 hose were used.

May 2: 05:13 a.m.: 205 College Avenue: Inski's Sandwich Shoppe sustained heavy damage in a fire believed to have been caused by electrical wiring.
Chief Bernard Larsen said much of the interior of the business was destroyed, but that the structure seemed intact.
Engines 1, 4, Ladder 1, and Rescue responded. The fire was under control about 06:00 a.m.

May 3: Box 513: 06:16 p.m.: Chief Bernard Larsen said a home at 4 Riverside Avenue sustained $8,000 - $10,000 damage when fire broke out in a basement television set. No one was injured.
Engines 1, 2, Ladder 1, and Rescue responded and used truck hoses and a booster line to get the flames in check.

May 23: Chief Bernard D. Larsen, 66, who has been with the Fire Department since Feb 5, 1934, submitted his resignation after 44 years with the department.
Chief Larsen stated: I just don't have time anymore, it's time some younger person had a shot at the job. The resignation would be effective July 16.

July 22: Driver Donald Dionne retired after 17 years.

October 28: A century old gristmill on Toward Street was destroyed by fire culminating a week and a half of similar sporadic incidents that have plagued firefighters.
Chief Bernard Larsen said that upon arrival, firemen found the structure engulfed in flames, with the cause of the blaze apparently of suspicious origin.
The south wall of the wooden storehouse collapsed shortly after firemen arrived, bringing with it the roof and part of the north wall. A short time later, the north and west walls fell in.
Chief Larsen said several persons were evacuated from homes nearby. The evacuation lasted no longer than 30 minutes, as firemen brought the flames under control.
The alarm sent Engines 1, 2, 3, 4, Ladder 1, and Rescue to the scene. The all-out sounded at 9:23 p.m. Over 7,500 feet of hose had been laid.

November 6: 06:52 a.m.: Engines 1, 2, 4, 5, Ladder trucks 1 and 2, and Rescue 1, and about 45 men responded to a huge, abandoned warehouse at Butler Court, in the city's North End. Officials believed the fire was set. One firefighter was overcome by smoke inhalation in the nearly three-hour battle with the blaze. No one else was reported hurt.

December 2: Assistant Chief Lucien LaCroix promoted to Chief.
Picture of Chief Lucien LaCroix

1978
Picture of the Award Winning Color Guard L-R: Fred (Butch) Berard, Omer Saucier, Roland aCroix, Chief Lucien LaCroix, Albert Smith, Louis King, Robert (Duke) Cloutier

March 2: 06:15 a.m.: Fire broke out in the second floor of 239 Main Street and occupied firefighters for more than an hour before being extinguished. The building sustained heavy damage.

March 2: Box 612: 8:28 p.m.: 82 Cool Street: Firefighters quelled a blaze, the origin is unknown. The blaze started in the central part of the structure. All-out was sounded at 9:42 p.m.

April 4: 04:24 a.m.: A partially completed unit at the Seton Village housing complex on Louise Avenue was destroyed. According to Frank Bourassa, project director for the complex, the building was being used as a temporary storehouse by construction crews for building materials. The fire was noticed by a police officer on patrol. Three trucks and Rescue 1 were dispatched to the scene but all they could do was try to wet it down. Firefighters were at the scene for more than an hour. According to State Fire Marshall Kenneth Quirion: You can bet it (the fire) was suspicious, there's no question about it. The director estimated total loss including the building and supplies at $36,500.

July 12: Retired firefighter William E. Harrington was presented an honorary gold badge by members of the Department's Hook and Ladder Company. Mr. Harrington first joined in 1959, serving for one year. He rejoined as a Call-man in 1964 serving with the Hook and Ladder until his retirement in 1976, due to health reasons.

1979
The Department purchased a new Ford Rescue Vehicle.

January 11: A Donald Street woman and her seven children were provided shelter at a motel after a fire damaged their house. Although the blaze was confined to the third floor, water and smoke damage left the family with only one bed to use. No one was injured.

February 3: 06:45 a.m. A basement sprinkler system was credited with containing what could have been a major fire at the Federal Bank on Main Street. The early morning blaze, which followed an explosion, was automatically reported to Communications Center. Engines 1, 2, 3, Ladder 1, Rescue 1, and 35 firefighters responded. Upon arrival they found the sprinklers had confined the blaze to the basement area. Main floor beams, however, were still smoldering extensively.

March 21: 09:50 a.m.: 40 Yeaton Street: Fire injured one man and caused extensive damage. Fire Chief Lucien LaCroix reported the fire, apparently began in clothes hung in a stairwell, spread through the first floor, trapping a 22 year old man in a second floor bedroom. The only other person in the house at the time of the fire fled from the building and used a ladder procured from a neighbor to save him, who was then hanging from a second floor window. He was then transported to the hospital where he was treated for first and second degree burns and released. Chief LaCroix praised neighbors who noticed smoke and reported the fire. The heat in the house was tremendous when we arrived, LaCroix said. The place was just about to explode. Engines 1, 3, Ladder 1, and Rescue responded. All-out was sounded at 10:28 a.m.

Apri1 17: Three young men narrowly escaped injury in the early morning when fire swept their Silver Street apartment, gutting the top floor of the three-story building and causing extensive smoke and water damage to nearby downtown businesses. The blaze began in a couch which had been discovered smoldering around 2 a.m., but was believed to have been extinguished a short time later. Shortly before 5 a.m., however, the trio awoke to find the living room engulfed in flames.
Picture of Fire on Silver Street

May 14: Box 45: 03:02 p.m.: A grease fire that spread from a stove to the walls of the kitchen at 32 Oakland Street, gutted the kitchen and caused extensive smoke and heat damage to the rest of the house. No one was injured. Engines 1, 2, Ladder 1, and Rescue responded. The all out was sounded at 03:38 p.m. The home was not insured.

December 19: 06:30 a.m.: A malfunctioning coffee pot broke out into fire in a maintenance room at the end of a unoccupied dormitory at Maine Criminal Justice Academy. Workers were alerted by a smoke alarm and attempted to quell the blaze with fire extinguishers, others went to call the Fire Department but were hampered in their efforts when the flames knocked out the main telephone line leading into the academy. Upon arriving, firefighters found the first floor completely ablaze, with flames already spreading to the second floor. Firefighters stayed on the scene in near-zero temperatures for nearly two hours. Responding were Engines 1, 2, 3, Ladder 1, Rescue and 35 firefighters.

December 20: 07:40 a.m.: A Toward Street automotive garage owned and operated by Fire Chief Lucien LaCroix was totally destroyed when fire gutted the structure in sub-zero temperatures. According to Captain Fred Brown, the blaze started in the wiring of a five-horsepower compressor over the door of the garage. Engines 1, 4, Ladder 1, Rescue, and 60 Firefighters were dispatched to the scene. Firefighters found the building engulfed in flames upon their arrival. The blaze was brought under control within 15 minutes. The all out was not sounded until 09:10 a.m. In addition to the building itself, several vehicles were also lost inside. Several minor explosions were heard during the fire, but were caused by cans of paint thinner and other volatile liquids, not the vehicles.

1980
March 18:
FIRE RAVAGES THIRD FLOOR OF VACANT NURSING HOME. A fire believed to have been set by prowlers swept through the upper floors of the vacant Waterville Manor at 85 Western Avenue. City Firefighters battled the wind-driven flames in sub-freezing temperatures. The former nursing home, closed in December due to high heating costs, was up for sale. The first sign of trouble in the area came shortly after 9 p.m., when an anonymous caller reported seeing a prowler entering the building. Heavy smoke filled the area, and a large crowd braved the chilly wind to watch the spectacle. The owners said vandals had targeted the building on a few occasions.

Picture of Fire at old Osteopathic Hospital on Western Avenue
This building was also known as Waterville Manor, a former nursing home.