REPRINTS


Buckland Fire Department
by Doug Welch,
Town of Manchester Fire Department Historian and Retired Firefighter

If you were to mention the "Buckland Fire Department" to anyone in Manchester, it would probably bring back memories of the TMFD* constructing the fire station in Buckland in 1977 to provide service to that area, only to turn the station over to the Eighth Utilities District in 1991 in exchange for sewer rights following a long jurisdictional battle. But go back about 70 years earlier!

There was an organization of Buckland residents who formed a bucket brigade in early 1908 and called themselves the 'Buckland Fire Department'. They held a dance in Cheney Hall (no building large enough in Buckland) in February of that year to raise funds with which to purchase some equipment.

They ordered "apparatus" in May, 1908 at a cost of $185 which arrived that summer. It was most likely a hand- or horse-drawn cart to carry their buckets, axes, and a few extinguishers. Also about this time, the Manchester Water Company began laying water mains from North Manchester into the Buckland area. Ultimately, however, there were only three fire hydrants installed in the center of the village. With these hydrants being installed only near the center of Buckland, there was no need for a cart carrying fire hose such as the South Manchester Fire Department was using, and the bucket brigade remained the most efficient means to fight fires.

Also in the summer of 1908 fire fighters were directing their efforts towards the formation of a 'fire districtí which would act as a taxing authority, thus providing funding for their fire department. They petitioned the selectmen of the town of Manchester to call a special meeting of the Seventh School District, which encompassed the area known as Buckland. Several meetings were held in the next several months with the Buckland residents ultimately voting against the formation of a fire district for fear of increased taxes.

Undaunted by the lack of public support, the fire department continued its existence for almost another two years, even obtaining the use of a building owned by Herbert Keeney on Depot Street for its headquarters. It had a comfortable club room and pool table, and an addition off the side to house their apparatus. At a meeting held in June, 1911, however, the fire department voted to turn their apparatus over to the Seventh School District and disband, becoming merely a social club.

October, 2007

Editor's Note: "T" in the article stands for Town of Manchester, hence "Town of Manchester Fire Department." Historically, the first fire department formed within the boundaries of Manchester was in the north end, which was deemed "Manchester". 10 years later when a fire department was formed on the other end of town, they chose the name "South Manchester" to differentiate itself. When the town took over the operation in South Manchester, the name became the "Town of Manchester Fire Department", subsequently changed to the "Manchester Fire, Rescue, EMS Department" in 1998.