The Roaring Twenties, Great Depression & WWII

Early 1920s - New Work Schedule & Vehicles
In 1920, the Fire Department went to a two-platoon work schedule. This created two shifts and allowed employees to work 84 hours a week - an improvement over the previous continuous-duty schedule.

In 1923, the department purchased its first modern gasoline engine pumper, a 750-gallon per minute American LaFrance. A Seagrave pumper and three more American LaFrance pumpers were purchased in the next four years, completing the modernization of the fleet. In addition, Chief Bogardus had a drill tower built behind Central Station to facilitate training.

Charles Volk
In 1923, Volunteer Deputy Chief Charles Volk was hired as a full-time member of the department. Volk was given the task of combining the three different alarm systems into one municipal alarm system.

The Great Depression
In 1931, the Fire Department closed the Commerce Street Station and moved the station's firefighters and pumper to Main Street. The move was done for economic reasons and reflected the reality that, with motorized apparatus, there was no need for two stations so close to each other.

On June 1, 1937, Chief Bogardus retired after serving with the department for over 50 years. Assistant Chief Volk was named as the new chief. In 1937, the department purchased a Mack suburban service pumper with a closed cab. A year later, a Mack city service ladder truck was also purchased. 

The Aerial Ladder Truck & World War II
For many years, both Chief Bogardus and Chief Volk had requested the purchase of an aerial ladder truck. In 1941, the city finally relented and agreed to the purchase. However, the construction of the truck was delayed until the end of World War II, as it was not considered a priority for the war effort. The department was also able to acquire, through the War Department, a 1940 Ford fire apparatus with a front-mounted pump.

Hiring Temporary Firefighters
At the start of WWII, there were 41 men in the department. During the early days of the war, it was feared that the Germans would bomb factories along the East Coast. Norwalk decided to hire additional temporary firefighters to boost the number of on-duty personnel and to add defense firefighters to the ranks.