Home
Apparatus
Officers
Junior Division
Auxilliary
Past Cheifs
History
Photos
Links
Contact Us

 

A comprehensive illustrated history book "Heroes of Deep River" is available for purchase. Written by past Chief Richard H. Forristall and his wife Rhonda, this book details the history of the Department from it's organization in 1896 up to 1996, our 100th Anniversary.

To purchase a copy of this facinating book, send a check or money order for $28.00* to the address below. *Price includes USPS Priority Mailing

DRFD History Book
Deep River Fire Department
57 Union Street
Deep River, CT 06417

For more information send an e-mail to: deepriverfd@sbcglobal.net

Brief History:

In 1723, as the Kirtland Brothers built the first homes in Deep River, the fire fighting needs of this community began. By the turn of the century the village was rapidly expanding into a thriving manufacturing community centered around it's water power. The first attempt to organize a volunteer fire department came in 1854. When a dozen young men with George Bogart as foreman manned and cared for an old rotary pump. The pump was made by Ezra William's at his shop on Winthrop Road. This hand drawn pump was pulled by a rope and required four or five men to turn the crank handle. The fire company became incorporated on June 4, 1857. Later a used hand pumper was purchased from the city of New Haven in 1862, but newspaper clippings revealed that the department disbanded never having the opportunity to use the equipment at a major fire!

A series of devastating fires in the 1880's dealt a severe economic blow to the community. After much discussion about reviving a fire company the village of Deep River was left without organized fire protection. Finally in 1895 the selectmen of the town purchased a Halloway Chemical Engine and housed it in a local barn. On February 28, 1896 at the insistence of the town selectmen, sixteen men gathered at the town hall to discuss the organization of a volunteer fire department. All of the men signed on and the first meeting of the Chemical Engine Brigade of Old Saybrook met on March 3, 1896. Frank Howard, a local businessman, was elected foreman of the department.

First Engine House
Within five years these dedicated men had purchased a piece of property from Mrs. Idelle Hodges on 10 River St, built an engine house, complete with a hand drawn chemical engine, hose reel and ladder wagon. Fire hydrants had been installed in the center of the village and a fire bell attached to the bell tower of the Baptist Church. As the town continued to grow so did the need for fire protection. Over the decades, modern equipment was purchased and as the expense of these items increased the need for long term financing became evident. In 1939 the Board of Fire Commissioners was formed to over see the operation and maintenance of all firefighting equipment. Training programs for the men locally and on a state level kept the department up to date on the changes in fire fighting techniques. With a look to the future, a Junior division was established . To this day the Junior Division is a vital link to the membership of the department.

Winthrop Station was complete in November 1952 to meet the expanding firefighting needs of the community. Several Winthrop families offered land for the proposed firehouse. The committee chose the property on Route 80 closest to the Winthrop four corners belonging to John Heidtman as best suitable for the project. In 2003 an additional bay was added to the building to house the Brush Truck after the purchase of the new 5-5-4. The addition was constructed and payed for by the Department.

The Ladies Auxiliary, formed in 1953, has been a great support to the departments activities and fund-raisers.

Winthrop Station
Fire Headquarters
In 1961 the department had outgrown it's original fire house and built a new headquarters on the corner of Elm and Union St. Today this building is headquarters for a well trained and efficient volunteer fire department carrying on a 100 year tradition of dedication to serving friends and neighbors.

Below are patches from years past.

  - 1989 1989 - Present