Fire Prevention, Suppression, Inspections, Hazardous Materials and Emergency Medical Services
Founded 1809 - Protecting The Greater Waterville Area For Over 200 Years
|Home | Contact Us | 2024 Maine State Fire Convention||9/11/2001 - We Will Remember!|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
October 17: 7-9 Sherwin Street: More than a dozen persons fled safely from two blazing Sherwin Street apartment buildings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
September 5 & 6: The Sixth Annual Maine State Federation of Firefighter's Convention. Captain Lucien LaCroix was the chairman of the committee.
October: The first Plectron alerting devices came into use.
July 2: Lucien LaCroix promoted to 2nd Assistant Chief.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
The estimated loss was $75,000.00.
February 8: 04:21 a.m.: Two families evacuated 90 1/2 Front Street after a fire broke out in the second floor apartment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Picture of Fire at old Osteopathic Hospital on Western Avenue
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