After the Civil War, the city of South Norwalk grew quickly, becoming home to many factories and commercial buildings. It also experienced a number of major fires.
South Norwalk had no organized fire protection, and volunteers from Norwalk were often summoned for help. In the 1870s, a large fire caused $100,000 in damage to two buildings on South Main Street. The Norwalk volunteers were on scene and, as in the aftermath of the 1858 Norwalk conflagration
, newspaper editorials decried the lack of fire protection in South Norwalk.
Old Well Hook & Ladder
The South Norwalk Fire Department came into existence when Old Well Hook and Ladder was formed on March 10, 1874. The company had a firehouse on Haviland Street for many years. Old Well’s equipment consisted of a horse-drawn hook and ladder truck with a tiller man’s steering position at the back.
Putnam Hose Company
On June 6, 1875, the Putnam Hose Company was formed to provide South Norwalk with a hose company. Putnam Hose maintained a horse-drawn hose wagon and a hose jumper, which was a large hose reel with wheels that could be pulled to fires by either horses or volunteers. The company was initially housed on Webster Street. In 1882, the company moved to a new station on Franklin Street.