The Volunteer Fire Service is as much an essential service to the communities they serve as it is commonly a part of the social frame work of that community. North Scituate Fire Department #1 is an example of that. Since 1928 the NSFD has been responding to emergencies for the Town of Scituate and has averaged raising a third of their operating funds in all of those 90 years. In the early years it was the social center of town with dances, card parties, and pot luck suppers. Years of carnivals allowed the fire department to fund much of the building costs for the construction of the current station. Members have come and gone through the years, but all carried with them the satisfaction of helping the residents of our community. The North Scituate Fire Department #1 is now celebrating 90 years serving our community and we invite you to join with us in this celebration.
The reality is that NSFD is actually the re-establishment of the “North Scituate Rough & Ready” which had been founded in 1848 but disbanded in the mid 1920’s. From records we’ve uncovered, it appears the building that housed the North Scituate Rough & Ready was condemned by the City of Providence Water Supply Board to make room for the construction of the Horseshoe Dam on Danielson Pike. Initially they were to pay the Department $10,000 for the land and building that housed their “fire barn” however documents show that the City rescinded that offer when it was learned that the department in 1848 had been deeded the land and building as a donation by the Scituate Manufacturing Company with a deed restriction that noted “for as long as it was to be used as a fire station”. When the land was condemned, the Scituate Manufacturing Company was no longer in existence so a legal challenge appears to have depleted the financial resources of the department as they fought to be paid for that property.
Beginning in 1928 a group of residents began efforts to re-establish the fire department to be known as the North Scituate Fire Department #1. They incorporated as such on December 28, 1928 and have served the Town of Scituate ever since. The relationship with the Providence Water Supply Board appears to have improved in that the new fire department was allowed use of barn that had been condemned on the west side of the bend on Silk Lane until the members could physically move the Rough & Ready Fire Department’s building to property that is across the street from the current fire station. It didn’t take long for them to outgrow that facility. In 1951 the Water Supply Board signed a 50 year lease for the use of the land under the current fire station for $1 a year.
In the early years records show that it was common for the members to respond to 2-4 calls a month. They would hold a corporate meeting initially every Monday night following a fire fighter training. Months later a routine was established for one corporate meeting the first Monday with trainings on each of the subsequent Monday evenings. The role of the fire department has expanded significantly through the years. The initial focus was fire fighting. Today we are called on for fire, emergency medical care and hazardous materials incident management. Our call count hovers around 1,000 calls a year with 70% seeking emergency medical care. In the 90 years we’ve only had 16 Chiefs, responded to over 20,000 calls, and had nearly 1,000 members come and go. Between current apparatus and trucks that have been replaced the department has had 8 fire trucks, 7 transporting rescues, 4 brush trucks, 3 fire alarm trucks, and 3 boats.
There is no way to know how many lives the members have touched in these 90 years. We know there have been lives saved, babies delivered, house and school fires extinguished, brush fires fought and countless road accidents we’ve responded to including a Greyhound bus roll over by the horseshoe dam and a gasoline tanker fire. We’d love to hear your story of how the fire department has impacted your life.
On Saturday November 24, the Department will celebrate this 90 year tradition with a dinner at Wright’s Farm in Nasonville at 1pm. We want to make this both a celebration of 90 years and a reunion of past members. We will recognize members with various years of service to the Department. Despite the resources now available through social media, we’re still in need of people to pass the word along so as not to miss inviting everyone who has had a role in our history from joining in on this celebration.
Tickets can be purchased via EventBrite at the link below.
We look forward to celebrating 90 years of service completed, with many more to come.