Here are a few firsts, and lasts, of the South Manchester Fire Department companies:
Co. #3, on September 21, 1898, was the first company to reach a fire following the organization of the SMFD. However, due to a misplaced hydrant wrench, Co. #1 was the first SMFD company to get water on a fire!
Co. #5 was the first company to arrive at the scene of a major fire when the Cheney Store burned on November 29, 1898, at the corner of South Main and Charter Oak Streets.
Co. #1 took delivery of the first SMFD ladder truck on June 15, 1899. They also took delivery of the first horse-drawn hose wagon a year later.
Co. #1 was the first company to operate out of a new hose house, constructed by Cheney Brothers Silk Mills in 1901.
In 1903, Co. #1 was the first company to give compensation to four members of the company who stayed on call at the station during the night.
Co. #2 was the last of the companies to get a designated hose house to operate out of in 1910.
On August 29, 1907, Co. #1 was the first company to get a chemical (and hose) wagon.
Co. #3 was the first to get a motorized piece of apparatus. An Automobile Pope-Hartford Combination Hose and Chemical truck was delivered February 3, 1910. (On April 7, 1910, a Pope-Hartford employee was killed on Hartford Road when he fell from this truck during a demonstration run).
Co. #4 was the first company to get a motorized pumping engine. The 750 gpm American LaFrance was delivered on June 1, 1914 at a cost of $8,500.
The distinction of having the first, and so far only, hose house to burn down goes to Co. #4. It was destroyed during the Ninth District School fire on October 23, 1913.
Co. #1 was the last company to get a pumping engine. It was the 1921 Ahrens Fox which is still in the possession of the South Manchester Fire Department.