The 1960s: New Stations

Expanding the Department
By the end of the 1950s, the Fire Department's manpower had increased substantially, and its fleet was up-to-date. The biggest problem now facing the department was the age and condition of its stations. The post-war housing boom also forced the department to look at the locations of its stations. Officials began planning to move some stations out of the downtown areas and into locations that would provide faster responses to these rapidly growing areas of the city.

Broad River Fire Station
The first station replaced was the Main Street fire house. In 1961, the Broad River Fire Station No. 1 was opened at the corner of New Canaan and Silvermine avenues. This was the first fire station owned by the city instead of by a taxing district.

On February 2, 1961, Firefighter George Nash collapsed and died while fighting a fire on East Avenue. A plaque in the lounge of the new Broad River station was dedicated to his memory.

New Chief & Additional Stations
In 1962, the Board of Fire Commissioners asked Chief Volk to retire and voted to make Benjamin Mangels, chief of the Rowayton Volunteer Fire Department, his successor.

In 1964, the department moved out of its old headquarters and into the new Volk Central Station on Connecticut Avenue. In 1967, Station No. 4 opened on Westport Avenue, and in 1970 Station No. 5 opened on Meadow Street. Construction of a drill tower on South Smith Street begin in 1971. The department also began planning for a sixth fire station to be built in Cranbury; however, the recession of the early 1970s caused the project to be shelved.

New Vehicles for the New Stations
With the opening of the Meadow Street Station, the department reached its peak strength of 161 uniformed personnel. During the 1960s, the department purchased five American LaFrance pumpers. Three of these pumpers had 1,000-gallon water tanks to better serve areas without hydrants. The department also purchased a 1968 American LaFrance Aero Chief 85-foot snorkel. The first rescue truck, an International / Gerstenslager, was delivered in 1968.

The Seymour / Yost Era
Learn about the accomplishments of Eugene Seymour and John Yost, who were important fire chiefs for the Norwalk Fire Department.