TUFTONBORO FIRE DEPARTMENT HISTORY
The Tuftonboro Civic Organization drafted a petition at its summer meeting on 1937 asking the selectman to insert an article in the town meeting warrant requesting an appropriation to purchase equipment necessary to establish a fire department in Tuftonboro. The article evolved into the appointment of a committee to further develop a fire protection plan which reported to a reconvened town meeting in April of 1938. The committee members were Harold Wiggin, Grover Kimball and Milton Bean.
The committee recommended the sum of $8,000.00 be raised. $5,000.00 for the purchase of a 1938 Maxim pumper( which is now refurbished as a parade piece of apparatus), $2,000.00 for building a fire station in Melvin Village(adjacent to the old Melvin Garage) and $1,000.00 for digging of water holes at Hattie Straw’s (on Tuftonboro Neck Road) and the Central School lot(next to the Town Library).
The apparatus was delivered on November 7, 1938 and the first meeting of the department was held that evening. The first call received was a chimney fire Ben Ferguson’s on January 7, 1939. Milton Bean served as the first fire chief from 1938-1941.
In 1960, the original Mirror Lake fire station was built on land donated by the Rosell family. It was rebuilt into present three bay configuration in 1986.
In 1965, the present Melvin Village fire station was built on land donated by the Melvin Men’s Club. This station replaced the original 1938 building across the street.
In 1987, an agreement was established with the Winners Circle Farm on Ledge hill Road to house an Engine at their Maintenance building. The Department still houses an engine at that facility and it should be noted that the owners have graciously donated that space to the Town for over 24 years.
Over the years there have been over 24 pieces of apparatus utilized by the department. These have included numerous surplus and locally fabricated in addition to the custom and commercial fire apparatus now in service.
In 1999, the department transitioned from a volunteer organization into a municipal department, including a salary plan for all members. 2002 was the year the Town hired a full time fire chief and the town approved another full time position in 2006.
Discussion has been ongoing for over a decade on what to do to address the space needs of the Department. Numerous committees have been formed and few options have been brought forth to the voters. To date nothing has been finalized and work continues towards finding a solution to this problem. The Department continues to strive towards the best possible service it can provide to the community.
(This history was made possible in part by the report from the “Space Needs Assessment of 2000”)