NE Essential Service Information, All In One Place

Fire Departments

Introduction

New England towns utilize different types of fire departments: career, call, volunteer, and combination departments. Career fire departments employ their personnel on a full-time basis and receive regular compensation. Call fire departments receive nominal benefits and are paid when called out. Volunteer fire departments receive no compensation. A combination department usually has a limited number of personnel who are paid on a full-time basis that is augmented with a call force. Generally, career departments will be more expensive than combination departments, which will be more expensive than call departments, which will be more expensive than volunteer departments. Career departments are also known as full-time departments. Some fire departments are full-time by day but call by night and/or on weekends.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) developed a standard, known as NFPA 1710, to guide full-time fire departments on the minimum number of personnel needed for safe and effective firefighting. Specifically, it says that a minimum response of 13 to 15 firefighters must arrive within 8 minutes, 90% of the time. To provide EMS care (including transport), NFPA 1710 requires at a minimum 2 personnel. With the majority of the call volume increasingly becoming EMS related, I required two (2) in-house EMTs and/or firefighters to be the minimum staffing level as the requirement for a fire department to be deemed capable of providing immediate coverage.

Two represents the minimum number of personnel to respond to an EMS call not to a structure fire. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 29 CFR 1910.134(g)(4) defines a “2-in/2-out” rule for fighting interior structure fires. Responding to a structure fire with less than four firefighters prevents the first responding unit from complying with OSHA’s “2-in/2-out” rule, and places the lives of those firefighters in jeopardy. Whether the towns listed in this document comply with this regulation is not known nor is that the purpose of this document. However, OSHA’s “2-in/2-out” rule may be considered a standard of care and a municipality may be liable if it is not followed.

Fire Data by State

There are over 30,000 fire departments in the United States of which only about 12% are full-time departments. The following shows the number of full-time fire departments in each of the New England State.

New Hampshire

There are a total of 227 local fire departments in NH, 40 of which are full-time departments but only six (6) use full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination departments. (For the same report but with budget and revenue information, please contact me.). Located to the right you will find a PDF containing fire department data and useful links to fire chief and fire marshal resources.

New Hampshire has 234 incorporated municipalities of which 13 are cities. Interestingly, not all the cities are big as several are very small population-wise.

  1. New Hampshire has 25 unincorporated towns called townships with one in Grafton County (Livermore), one in Carroll County (Hale's Location), and the rest in Coos County. None of them have their own fire department but contract out for fire and ambulance services.
  2. New Hampshire has 22 fire districts with taxing authority to provide either just fire services or water and fire services. However, some of these fire districts are under pressure to merge. For example, Ossipee just completed a fire study that concluded it was more cost effective to consolidate the three fire districts into one town department. Andover voters approved the consolidation of their two districts into one town department after agreeing to make Andover Rescue a town department.

Maine

There are a total of 405 local fire departments in Maine, 34 of which are full-time departments but only six use full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination departments. Located to the right you will find a PDF containing fire department data and useful links to fire chief and fire marshal resources.

Maine has 489 municipalities of which 22 are cities (Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bath, Belfast, Biddeford, Brewer, Calais, Caribou, Eastport, Ellsworth, Gardiner, Hallowell, Lewiston, Old Town, Portland, Presque Isle, Rockland, Saco, South Portland, Waterville, Westbrook) and 433 are towns. Interestingly, not all the cities are big as several are very small population-wise. For example, the smallest city is Eastport with a population of less than two thousand.

  1. Maine has a form of government unique in the New England States and that is a plantation. A plantation is a town that is not incorporated because it has a small population. Plantations are organized at the county level while towns are incorporated by the State Legislature. Nine of the sixteen counties having at least one plantation. There are thirty-four (34) plantations in Maine.

    1. Prentiss Plantation and E Plantation became unorganized townships in 1990 thinking that it would reduce taxes. Prentiss Plantation had previously been a town that disincorporated in 1939.

  2. Albany, Argyle, Bancroft, Benedicta, Blanchard, Brookton, Cary Plantation, Centerville, Concord, Edmunds, Forest City, Freeman, Grafton, Greenfield, Kingman, Madrid, Marion, Mason, Mattamiscontis, Orneville, Oxbow Plantation, Perkins, Salem, Trescott, and Williamsburg are towns that disincorporated with Perkins doing it in 1918, Grafton in 1919, Forest City in 1924, Concord, Kingman and Mason in 1935, Albany in 1937, Argyle, Edmunds, and Freemain in 1938, Marion in 1939, Williamsburg in 1940, Brookton in 1941, Orneville, Salem, and Trescoot in 1945, Blanchard in 1951, Benedicta in 1987, Greenfield in 1993, Madrid in 2000, Centerville in 2003, Bancroft in 2015, Oxbow Plantation in 2016, and Cary Plantation in 2019. The reason Madrid disincorporated was due to voter apathy but for the other towns, it was due to declining population numbers.

  3. The interior of Maine contains 422 unorganized townships. These townships are identified only by letters and numbers that indicate their position on a grid. They are managed by the county and/or the state. These townships cover major portions of some counties. For example,

    1. Aroostook County has 109 townships, covering almost 60% of the county.

    2. Franklin County has 27 townships, covering 45% of the county.

    3. Piscataquis County has 92 townships, covering 84% of the county.

    4. Somerset County has 82 townships, covering 60% of the county.

In Maine, the local fire departments are either municipal fire departments, or private corporations. There are no formal fire districts as there are in the other New England States. However, they have at least one fire department that functions like a fire district and that is the North Lakes Fire and Rescue department in upper Aroostook County and covers four townships (Cross Lake, Sinclair, Madawaska Lake, and Square Lake.

Vermont

There are a total of 232 local fire departments in Vermont, 9 of which are full-time departments but only one uses full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination departments. Located to the right you will find a PDF containing fire department data and useful links to fire chief and fire marshal resources.

Vermont has 246 incorporated municipalities, 35 villages which are considered to be municipalities, and 9 unincorporated towns and gores.

  1. The unincorporated towns and gores are Averill, Avery’s Gore, Ferdinand, Lewis, Warner’s Grant, Warren’s Gore, Buel’s Gore, Glastenbury, and Somerset. The first six (6) in this list are in the Northeast corner of Vermont and are known as the unified towns and gores of Essex County. Glastenbury and Somerset are towns in Southern Vermont that were unincorporated in 1937. None of the unincorporated towns and gores has a fire department.

  2. The 35 villages are Albany village, Alburg Village, Barton Village, Bellows Falls, Cabot Village, Cambridge Village, Derby Center, Derby Line, Enosburg Falls, Essex Junction, Hyde Park Village, Jacksonville, Jeffersonville, Johnson Village, Ludlow Village, Lyndonville, Manchester Village, Marshfield Village, Morrisville, Newbury Village, Newfane Village, North Bennington, Perkinsville, North Westminster, Old Bennington, Orleans Village, Poultney Village, Saxton’s River, Swanton Village, Waterbury Village, Wells River, West Burke, Westminster Village, and Woodstock Village. Some of the villages have their own fire department and those will be shown in the "Vermont Fire Departments" Document.

Municipal Fire Departments

A municipal fire department is part of a city or town funded by the city’s or town’s general fund budget which is paid for primarily through property taxes.

  1. Bennington, Essex, Rockingham, and Troy each have a municipal fire department and a village fire department.

Fire Districts

A fire district is a quasi-municipal corporation. It is an independent governmental entity that exists separately from the municipality in which it resides. They are usually created for specific purposes such as fire, water, lighting, sewer, etc. As such, they have their own taxing authority. Usually, district taxes are included in the property tax bill put out by the municipality and the municipality passes the district taxes on to the district. However, some districts have their own tax collector and those district residents receive two property tax bills, one from the town and one from the district.

Vermont has many fire districts but the majority of the fire districts exist to provide water and/or sewer not fire services. Seven towns have fire services provided by one or more fire districts while two towns have multiple fire departments with at least one fire department part of a fire district.

  1. Bennington has three fire departments but only Bennington rural is part of a fire district.

Towns with a single fire district providing fire services to the entire town are Brandon, Chelsea, Westminster, and Williamstown.

Towns with multiple fire districts providing fire services to the town are Dorset, Wallingford, and Weathersfield

  1. Dorset has two fire districts: Dorset and East Dorset fire districts.

  2. Wallingford has two fire districts: Wallingford fire district #1 and Wallingford fire district #2 which funds the East Wallingford fire department.

  3. Weathersfield has two fire districts: Ascutney and West Weathersfield.

Private Fire Departments

Several towns do not have a municipal fire department nor fire districts. Instead, they get fire services from a private fire department. Addison, Alburgh, Bakersfield, Berlin, Charleston, Clarendon, Castleton, East Montpelier, Franklin, Glover, Grand Isle, Granville, Guilford, Highgate, Johnson, Ludlow, North Hero, Readsboro, Sheldon, South Royalton, Strafford, Thetford, Tinmouth, Underhill-Jericho, Vershire, Wells, Williston, and Wilmington all use a private, non-profit fire department. Barnard, Barton, Burke, Cavendish, Dover, Fairfield, Hyde Park, Londonderry, Lunenburg, Newbury, Newfane, Pomfret, Pownal, Randolph, and Woodstock have multiple private volunteer fire departments, each in a geographic fire district not a taxing fire district. Each has their own fire chief and each receives funding from their town.

Connecticut

According to the State’s Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, there are a total of 315 fire departments in Connecticut which includes local, state, federal, tribal, and industrial fire departments. The State’s Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan shows 248 local fire departments and 14 other fire departments (industrial, tribal, and federal), the US Fire Administration lists 246 fire departments, and CFIRS lists 238 fire departments. Based on the research I have done, there appears to be 256 local fire departments but if one includes the fire companies that make up some of the “unified” departments then that number grows to 306 local fire departments. So, that may explain the different totals in the various documents. Of the local fire departments, only about twenty (20) fire departments in Connecticut that are true full-time departments (use full-time personnel exclusively). The other “full-time” fire departments are combination departments. . Located to the right you will find a PDF containing fire department data and useful links to fire chief and fire marshal resources.

Connecticut has 169 incorporated municipalities of which 21 are cities.

  • Connecticut allows towns to adopt a city form of government without the need to re-incorporate as a city. The city of Groton is such a town though it is not counted as one of the 21 cities by the State.

  • There are only three States nationwide with no unincorporated towns and two of the States are in New England: Connecticut and Rhode Island.

  • Connecticut has a form of government unique in the New England States and that is a borough. A borough is an incorporated section of a town and is subordinate to the town government to which it belongs. There are eight boroughs in Connecticut: Bantam (Litchfield), Danielson (Killingly), Fenwick (Old Saybrook), Jewett City (Griswold), Litchfield (Litchfield), Newtown (Newtown), Stonington (Stonington), and Woodmont (Milford). Naugatuck is a consolidated town/borough. Five of the eight boroughs (Bantam, Danielson, Litchfield, Newtown, and Stonington) provide fire services to its residents.

The State of Connecticut General Statutes (Section 7-301: Establishment of fire department) allow for a municipality to either establish a municipal fire department by ordinance or to enter into agreements with volunteer fire companies. Although a municipality may provide the majority of the fire operations budget, the two are independent legal entities – each free to end their relationship with the other, if desired. As municipalities add career staff to volunteer departments, this gets a little blurred because the career personnel are municipal employees while the fire department may be a private entity. This document describes three “types” of fire departments in Connecticut: municipal fire departments, fire departments in fire districts, and private fire department corporations. The State of Connecticut requires by law that every municipality provide fire and emergency services to its residents. Many of the towns work cooperatively with the volunteer fire and ambulance services to meet the mandates of the law. Keep in mind, though, that all these combinations and permutations have evolved from what was once essentially an all volunteer fire fighting force.

Municipal Fire Departments

A municipal fire department is part of a city or town funded by the city’s or town’s general fund budget which is paid for primarily through property taxes.

This is a list of career municipal fire departments that are assisted by volunteer fire companies:

  • Branford has a municipal career fire department assisted by four volunteer fire companies (Indian Neck Pine Orchard Fire Company, M.P. Rice Hose Fire Company, Short Beach Hook & Ladder Company, and Stony Creek Fire Company). The fire department is governed by a Fire Commission and the incident data is reported to CFIRS as one department.

  • Danbury is a municipal career fire department assisted by twelve volunteer fire companies (Citizens Hose Company, Independent Hose Company, Phoenix Hose Company, Padanaram Hose Company, Water Witch Hose Company, Wooster Hose Company, Beckerle Hose Company, Beaver Brook Fire Company, Germantown Fire Company, King Street Fire Company, Mill Plain Fire Company, and Miry Brook Fire Company).

  • East Haven has a municipal career fire department assisted by four private volunteer fire companies (Foxon Fire Company 3, Bradford Manor Hose Company 4, Riverside Fire Co 6, and East Haven Volunteer Company 1). The volunteer fire companies take their direction from the municipal fire chief. The incident data is recorded in CFIRS as one department since it is a “unified” fire department.

  • Fairfield as a municipal career fire department assisted by two private volunteer fire departments (Southport fire department and Stratfield VFD). The Stratfield VFD is involved in rescue and EMS activity but not fire suppression. The volunteer fire departments take their direction from the municipal fire chief. The incident data is recorded in CFIRS as one department since it is a “unified” fire department.

  • Greenwich has a municipal career fire department assisted by six private volunteer fire companies (Amogerone Fire Company, Byram VFD, Cos Cob VFC, Glenville VFC, Round Hill VFC, and Sound Beach VFD). The volunteer fire companies take their direction from the municipal fire chief. The incident data is recorded in CFIRS as one department since it is a “unified” fire department.

  • Hamden has a municipal career fire department assisted by three volunteer fire companies (Mix District, Mt Carmel, and Dunbar Hill VFC). There are five other volunteer fire companies that have disbanded (Highwood Hook &Ladder, Whitneyville VFC, Centerville VFC, Merritt Street VFC, and West Woods VFC). One volunteer fire company, Humphrey, is active today but only as a social organization. The municipal career department and the volunteer departments are seen as one “unified” department and the incident data is reported to CFIRS as one department.

  • Meriden has a municipal career fire department assisted by the South Meriden Volunteer Fire Department. The Meriden Fire Department was formed back in 1873 and was organized from the various fire companies that existed at the time: Charter Oak Engine Company #1, Washington Hose Company #2, Parker Hose Engine Company #3, Wilcox Hose Company #4, and Ever Ready Hook & Ladder Company.

  • The Milford fire department has a municipal career fire department and five volunteer fire companies (Woodmont, Point Beach, Fort Trumbull Beach, Devon VFD and Myrtle Beach). Four of the five volunteer companies are mostly social organizations today since the volunteer fire companies stopped being called back in 1983.

  • North Haven has a municipal career fire department assisted by three volunteer fire companies (Montowese Company #2, West Ridge Company # 3, and Northeast Company # 4). Each Volunteer Fire Company has a captain who reports directly to the town fire chief.

  • Torrington has a municipal career fire department that provides coverage for the entire city and it is assisted by three private volunteer fire companies (Burrville, Drakeville, and Torringford). The fire companies operate under the direction of the municipal department. Each volunteer fire company is located in a geographic district.

There are municipal fire departments that are not assisted by any volunteer departments:

  • Bridgeport, Bristol, East Hartford, Hartford, New Britain, New Canaan, New Haven, New London, Stratford, and Waterbury are career municipal departments with no call or volunteer firefighters.

    • At one time, New London had eight volunteer fire companies (Niagara Engine Co 1, Nameaug Engine Co 2, W B Thomas Hose Co 3, F.L. Allen H&L Co, Konomoc Hose Co 4, C.L. Ockford Hose Co 5. Co, Pequot Engine Co 6, and Northwest Hose Co 7). However, these volunteer companies either disbanded or exist as social organizations today.

  • Easton, Guilford, Meriden, Montville, Naugatuck, New Canaan, New Haven, Ridgefield, Southington, Suffield, West Hartford, Westport, and Wilton are combination fire departments with career and call firefighters.

  • Colchester and Mansfield are combination fire departments with career and volunteer firefighters.

In addition, these fire departments are considered to be municipal departments though they are private volunteer organizations.

  • Andover has one volunteer fire department. There is a private Fire Association but it is a civic/social organization that does fundraisers to benefit the community.

  • Ansonia has a municipal volunteer fire department consisting of five fire companies: Charter Hose Co., Eagle Hose Co., Fountain Hose Co., Hilltop Hose Co., and Webster Hose Co. Each fire company has their own chief and one becomes the high chief of the Ansonia Fire Department and the other four become the Assistant Chiefs. The position of high chief is a 2 yr. term and it rotates between all five fire companies. The fire department is overseen by a fire commission and the incident data is reported to CFIRS as one department.

  • Berlin has four volunteer fire departments, the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department, the East Berlin Volunteer Fire Department, the South Kensington Volunteer Fire Department, and Kensington Fire Rescue. However, based on the town charter, they are viewed as four fire companies under a single fire department and the fire department is treated as a municipal fire department.

  • Bethlehem has one volunteer fire department. The Bethlehem Fire Association is a private, non-profit organization which does fundraisers and provides special services to the fire department. While the town has not officially designated the fire department to be the agent for the town for fire services, it is considered to be a municipal department since the town fully funds its operating and capital budgets.

  • Bolton has a municipal volunteer department.

  • Burlington has a municipal volunteer department. There is a private, non-profit arm to the fire department but that is a civic/social organization that does fundraisers to benefit the community. The headquarters station is owned by the town but the other three stations are owned by the private corporation.

  • Derby has a municipal volunteer fire department consisting of four companies (East End Hose, Hotchkiss Hose, Paugussett Hook and Ladder, and Storm Engine). Each fire company is a private organization with its own chief. One of the chiefs becomes the high chief of the Fire Department and the other three become the Assistant Chiefs. The position of chief is a 2-year term rotated between all four fire companies. While the ambulance is a separate group providing rescue and EMS services, it works under the direction of the Derby fire department.

  • East Haddam has a fire department but it is a private corporation but the career fire fighters are municipal employees. The fire department is contracted to provide fire protection to the town in return for the town fully funding the department and providing each fire fighter with a pension.

  • East Hampton has a municipal department through local ordinance though it is an all volunteer fire department governed by a fire commission.

  • East Lyme has two fire departments, Flanders fire department and Niantic fire department. Each resides in their own geographic fire district. They both respond to an incident call so they are viewed as one fire department and the incident data is reported as one department, the East Lyme fire department.

  • Easton has a municipal fire department that is assisted by a private, volunteer fire company. The fire commission oversees the career fire fighters. The chief and assistant chief are elected by both the volunteers and the career staff.

  • Glastonbury has a municipal volunteer fire department consisting of four fire companies. However, there is just one fire chief and the fire companies are simply located in different geographic districts but are not independent entities.

  • Lisbon has a volunteer fire department but the town considers it to be a municipal department since it funds the fire operations. The ambulance operations are self funded through the ambulance fees collected.

  • Middlefield has a municipal volunteer department. The town owns the fire station and fire apparatus. While the fire department is a private, non-profit corporation, it is a civic/social organization that does fundraisers to benefit the community.

  • Oxford has one “unified” fire department that is really three fire companies. The Oxford Center Fire Company, Quaker Farms Fire Company, and Riverside Fire Company are semi-autonomous. Each has their own chief but each chief is part of the Board of Fire Chiefs and the Board then elects the chief of the fire department with the other two becoming the Asst Chiefs. Therefore, they function collectively as one department, the incident data is recorded in CFIRS as one department.

  • Plainville has a municipal department. The Plainville Fire company is a private, non-profit group that is a social organization that does fundraisers to benefit the community through scholarships and sponsoring sport teams.

  • Seymour has one fire department that is comprised two fire companies that is overseen by a fire commission. Each fire company elects their own officers but the fire commission appoints two fire chiefs to each fire company. One becomes the high chief of the Seymour Fire Department and the other three become the Assistant Chiefs. The position of high chief is a 1 yr. term and it rotates between the two fire companies. The incident data is reported to CFIRS as one department. The town owns the fire stations, fire apparatus, and equipment. The fire commission is composed of two members from each fire company and one member appointed by the BOS. The private fire companies are a civic/social organization as they are not involved in the running of the fire department.

  • Shelton has a municipal volunteer fire department consisting of four fire companies: Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Co., Huntington Fire Co., Pine Rock Park Fire Co., and White Hills Fire Co. They are overseen by a Fire Commission with one member of the commission coming from each fire company plus one from the town.

  • Somers has a volunteer fire department that is considered a private corporation but the career fire fighters are municipal employees.

  • South Windsor has a municipal volunteer fire department as the town funds its operating and capital expenses.

  • Tolland has a volunteer fire department that is considered a private corporation but the career fire fighters are municipal employees.

  • Vernon has a municipal volunteer fire department.

  • Wallingford has a municipal career fire department which is assisted by three private volunteer fire companies (North Farms VFC, Yalesville VFC, and East Wallingford Fire Department). The volunteer fire companies take their direction from the municipal fire chief and the town funds the majority of their operating expenses. The incident data is recorded in CFIRS as one department since it is a “unified” fire department.

  • The Waterford fire department is comprised of five private fire companies: Cohanzie Fire Company, Goshen Fire Company, Jordan Fire Company, Oswegatchie Fire Company, and Quaker Hill Fire Company. Each fire company has its own chief and function together as the “unified” Waterford fire department under the direction of the fire commission. Therefore, the incident data is recorded in CFIRS as if they were one department.

  • Wethersfield has a municipal volunteer fire department. There is a private Wethersfield Volunteer Fire Association but it is a civic/social organization that does fundraisers to benefit the community.

  • Windsor Locks has a municipal volunteer fire department.

  • Winsted is a city within the town of Winchester. There is one municipal fire department comprised of five fire companies, Union Hose Co., Deluge Hose Co., Niagara Engine Co, Cascade Engine Co, and Tower Ladder Co.

  • Woodbridge has one volunteer fire department and it is considered to be a town department.

Fire Districts

A district is a quasi-municipal corporation. It is an independent governmental entity that exists separately from the municipality in which it resides. They are usually created for specific purposes such as fire, water, lighting, sewer, etc. As such, they have their own taxing authority. Usually, district taxes are included in the property tax bill put out by the municipality and the municipality passes the district taxes on to the district. However, some districts have their own tax collector and those district residents receive two property tax bills, one from the town and one from the district.

There are several municipalities that do not have a fire department. Instead, they have one or more fire districts with each district providing its own fire service. While the other New England States have fire districts, they are far more prevalent in Connecticut and Rhode Island. However, not all fire districts exist to provide fire services. For example, Windsor has two fire districts but they exist to provide trash collection not fire services and Berlin has two fire districts but they provide water not fire services.

Towns with a single fire district providing fire services to the entire town are Barkhamsted, Cromwell, Pomfret, Simsbury, and Sterling. Note that these fire districts may provide more than just fire services. For example, Cromwell and Simsbury fire district provide water services in addition to fire services.

  • The Barkhamsted fire district operates three fire departments: Barkhamsted East, Pleasant Valley, and Riverton.

  • The Cromwell fire district operates one fire department, the Cromwell Fire Department

  • The Pomfret fire district operates one fire department, the Pomfret Fire Department

  • The Simsbury fire district operates one fire department, the Simsbury VFD.

  • The Sterling fire district operates two fire departments: the Oneco and Sterling VFD

Ellington and East Windsor have a fire district providing fire services but they do not raise taxes to pay for their fire department. Instead, the town pays for the fire department.

Towns with multiple fire districts providing fire services to the town include Bloomfield, Enfield, Groton, Killingly, Manchester, Middletown, New Hartford, Plainfield, Putnam, Redding, Stamford, Stonington, Trumbull, and West Haven.

  • Bloomfield has two fire districts – Bloomfield and Blue Hills.

  • Enfield has five fire districts – Enfield, Hazardville, North Thompsonville, Shaker Pine, Thompsonville.

  • Groton has nine fire districts of which seven provide fire services – Center Groton, Groton City, Mystic, Long Point, Noank, Old Mystic, and Poquonnock. Groton City provides fire services to the West Pleasant Valley fire district and Noank provides fire services to the Mumford Cove fire district. In addition, a portion of Groton is served by a Department of Defense Fire Department, (Navy Sub Base), while two businesses, Pfizer Pharmaceutical and the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics, maintain their own fire departments. The Navy Sub Base, Pfizer and Electric Boat Fire Departments are mutual aid response agencies for Groton’s nine fire districts.

  • Killingly has eight fire districts of which six provide fire services – Attawaugan, Danielson, Dayville, East Killingly, South Killingly, and Willamsville. Danielson provides fire service to the Orient Heights fire district and Atwood Hose (Plainfield) provides fire service to Dyer Manor.

  • Manchester has two fire districts – Manchester and Manchester 8th. The Manchester fire department is a town department and services 2/3rds of the town. Manchester 8th fire district covers the north and northwestern parts of the town. Each district has taxing authority to pay for their fire department.

  • Middletown has three fire districts – Middletown, South, and Westfield. The Middletown Fire Department has the authority under the town charter to maintain the Fire Service for the whole town. The Westfield and South fire districts have their own taxing authority for their districts. The Middletown Fire department only taxes people within the area that is not covered by the two other districts.

  • New Hartford has three fire districts: New Hartford Village fire district (District 1), South End fire district (District 4), and Pine Meadow fire district (District 3), each with their own taxing aurhority.

  • Plainfield has four fire districts – Moosup, Plainfield, Plainfield Central Village, and Wauregan with the latter operating the Atwood fire department and the other three operating departments of the same name.

  • Putnam has three fire districts – East Putnam, West Putnam, and a Special Service District which is covered by the Putnam Fire Department. The Putnam Fire department is also contracted to provide fire service to the West Putnam Fire District.

  • Redding has three fire districts: Georgetown, Redding #1, and Redding #2.

  • Stamford has six fire districts: Belltown, Glenbrook, Long Ridge, Springdale, Stamford, and Turn of the River. The Stamford (or City) fire district contains the career fire department and is city operated. The other five are volunteer fire departments. There is currently a proposal to merge the volunteer departments into one volunteer department and a single taxing district.

  • Stonington has nine fire districts of which six have their own fire department: Mystic, Pawcatuck, Borough of Stonington, Quiambaug, Old Mystic, and Wequetequock. The Stonington, Wamphassuc and Lord’s Point fire districts contract with the Borough of Stonington fire district to provide fire service to their districts. The Mason’s Island Fire District contracts with the Mystic Fire District to provide fire services to its district.

  • Trumbull has three fire districts – Long Hill, Nichols, and Trumbull Center. The Trumbull Center Fire District contracts fire services to a private fire company, namely the Trumbull Volunteer fire Company who elects a chief. The District owns the buildings (with a special caveat since the land was previously owned by the Fire Company) and the District pays for the apparatus, insurance and equipment. Similarly, the Long Hill Fire District contracts with the Long Hill Volunteer Fire Company who elects a chief. The Nichols Fire District is its own fire service entity and they appoint the Chief and officers.

  • West Haven has three fire districts – Allingtown, West Haven, and West Shore.

Note that Mystic and Old Mystic are fire districts within villages of the same name. Parts of each fire district lie within both Groton and Stonington which is why they show up as fire districts in both towns.

The City of Norwalk was formed in 1913 by the consolidation of Norwalk, South Norwalk, East Norwalk, and Rowayton. In forming the consolidated City of Norwalk, vestiges of the old municipalities were kept around in the form of taxing districts. The Norwalk fire department services all of Norwalk except Rowayton (the 6th Taxing District). The Norwalk fire department exists in its own fire district and funds just the fire department. The Rowayton fire department is funded out of the 6th taxing district which funds all services provided in that district.

The city of Norwich has a career fire department in a city district which levies a tax to pay for the career fire department. Norwich also has five volunteer fire departments in a town district which levies a tax to pay for the volunteer fire departments. Each department operates cooperatively but independently. The city owns the career fire station and two of the fire volunteer fire stations. While three stations are owned by the volunteer fire departments, the town funds the operational and maintenance of these stations. The city owns all functional fire apparatus of all the fire departments. The city of Norwich was consolidated with the town of Norwich in 1952 which is why the municipal department is in the consolidated city district.

Windham has two districts but they are not considered fire districts per se. The Willimantic Fire Department is a full-time department and is part of the Business Service District which was created to provide police and fire services to a geographic area. The three volunteer fire departments (North Windham, South Windham, and Windham Center) are part of the 1st taxing district which was created to fund the three volunteer departments plus the libraries. Each department has its own fire chief.

Private Fire Departments

Connecticut has many municipalities that get their fire services from private fire departments, many of which are non-profit volunteer organizations. Nationally, 75% of all municipalities rely on volunteer fire fighters as the first line of defense in an emergency. While the fire department may be a private organization, money is usually requested from the town to help defray its operating expenses. Many of these fire departments have contractual obligations with the town requiring them to submit budget requests to the Town Manager, Town Council, Board of Finance, Board of Selectman or Fire Commission. Therefore, they are considered by the State to be municipal departments and shows up as such in the State’s SCIP.

Some of the private fire departments are in Ashford, Avon, Baltic, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Bozrah, Bridgewater, Canterbury, Chaplin, Clinton, Columbia, Cornwall, Deep River, Durham, East Granby, Eastford, Easton, Essex, Goshen, Granby, Franklin, Hampton, Hebron, Kent, Killingsworth, Lebanon, Lyme, Marlborough, Middlebury, Morris, Norfolk, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Orange, Prospect, Roxbury, Scotland, Sharon, Sherman, Thomaston, Warren, Washington, Watertown. Westbrook, Weston. Others can be found in the following towns:

  • Bethel has two fire departments, Bethel and Stony Hill. They are in geographic districts not in a fire district with taxing authority. Each has its own chief and reports their own incident data. The town funds the fire operations but the ambulance operations are self-funded through ambulance fees.

  • The Bridgewater fire department’s fire and EMS operations are not funded by the town due to the fire department’s very successful county fair.

  • Brookfield has one fire department comprised of two fire companies, the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company and the Candlewood Fire Company.

  • Brooklyn has two independent fire departments, the East Brooklyn Fire Department and the Mortlake Fire Company.

  • Canaan has a private, non-profit corporation providing fire coverage - Falls Village Fire Departmnent.

  • Chester contracts with the Chester Hose Company to provide fire protection and ambulance service to the town.

  • Colebrook has two fire departments (Colebrook Center Fire Dept. and Forge Fire Company) and both are private, non-profit volunteer corporations.

  • Cornwall has one fire department that is comprised of two fire houses, the Cornwall VFD and Cornwall Bridge VFD.

  • Darien has three (3) fire companies that are in geographic districts (no fire districts).

  • East Windsor has two fire departments. The Warehouse Point Fire District has its own fire department and while it has taxing authority, it does not do so and so, the town funds the fire department. The Broad Brook Fire department is a quasi municipal fire department funded by the town.

  • Ellington has a private, non-profit corporation while the Crystal Lake Fire Department is part of a Fire District. Though the fire district has taxing authority, it does not do so. Therefore, both departments receive a subsidy from the town that covers the majority of their operational expenses.

  • Griswold took over the funding of the AA Young fire department from the Borough of Jewett City when it went into receivership in 1995. While the town now funds both the Griswold VFD and the AA Young VFD, each department is still a separate entity from the town.

  • Hartland has two fire departments, East Hartland Fire Department and West Hartland Fire Department, which are private organizations. Each has their own chief.

  • Harwinton has two fire departments which operate as a single unit because both departments respond to an emergency call under a single incident commander.

  • Ledyard has two fire departments (Gales Ferry Fire Company and Ledyard Fire Company) each residing in their own village or geographic district.

  • Litchfield has four fire departments but the incident data is reported as one fire department.

  • Madison has two semi-autonomous fire companies: Madison Hose Company and North Madison VFC.

  • Monroe has three fire departments (Monroe, Stepney, and Stevenson) that are located in geographic districts.

  • Montville has four fire companies: Montville Fire Company, Mohegan Fire Company, Oakdale Fire Company, and Chesterfield Fire Company.

  • Newtown has five (5) fire companies (Dodgingtown, Botsford, Hawleyville, Newtown Hook & Ladder, and Sandy Hook) in geographic districts and all are overseen by a Fire Commission.

  • North Branford has three private fire companies.

  • North Canaan has one volunteer fire department, the Canaan fire department. (not to be confused with Canaan CT which has the Falls Village Fire Department).

  • Preston has two private, non-profit fire departments: Preston City fire department and the Poquetanuck fire department.

  • Stafford has two private, volunteer fire departments – the Staffordville and West Stafford fire departments.

  • Stonington Borough Fire department was formed from the merge of the Neptune Fire Company, Steamers Fire Company, and the Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company in 2014.

  • Thompson has five volunteer fire departments that are in geographic districts (but not a fire district).

  • Willington has two private fire departments. The CFIRS incident data is reported as if they are one “unified” department since both departments respond to all incidents.

  • Wolcott has three non-profit volunteer fire companies but the incident data is recorded as if they are one department.

  • Woodstock has three fire departments (Bungay, Muddy Brook, and Woodstock) with each located in a geographic fire district not a taxing fire district.

Rhode Island

There are a total of 71 local fire departments in Rhode Island, 28 of which are full-time departments but only 16 use full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination departments. Located to the right you will find a PDF containing fire department data and useful links to fire chief and fire marshall resources.

Rhode Island has 39 incorporated municipalities of which 8 are cities.

In Rhode Island, the local fire departments are either municipal fire departments, part of a fire district, or private corporations.

Municipal Fire Departments

Of the 39 municipalities, 25 have a municipal fire department. A municipal fire department is part of a city or town funded by the city’s or town’s general fund budget which is paid for primarily through property taxes. Some of these career fire departments, however, are assisted by a volunteer fire company.

  • Barrington has a municipal fire department assisted by a volunteer department, the Hampden Meadows VFD.

  • The Prudence Island fire department is a private, non-profit volunteer fire department. The municipal fire department provides assistance to the Prudence Island VFD for ambulance calls as they transport the patient(s) off the island to the hospital.

  • The Bristol fire department is composed of four volunteer fire companies that form the municipal fire department. The four companies are Defiance Engine & Hose Company, Ever-Ready Engine & Hose Company, Dreadnaught Hook Ladder & Hose, and Hydraulion Engine & Hose Company.

  • The East Greenwich fire department became a municipal department in 2013 when the East Greenwich fire district was dissolved. East Greenwich also provides fire services to a geographic district in Warwick as part of an automatic aid agreement.

  • The Jamestown Fire Department started as the District No. 2 Fire Company before changing its name and being incorporated as the Jamestown Fire Department in 1897. The Jamestown EMS service merged with the Jamestown Fire Department to become the Jamestown Fire and Rescue Department in 2011.

  • Johnston had four independent volunteer fire departments up until March 1970. They all became a unified department at that time.

  • The Little Compton Fire Department was formed in 1969 when it assumed the duties of the Little Compton Fire Association which was established in 1938.

  • Newport was initially serviced by nine individual fire companies which were run by a Board of Engineers in 1822 composed of a “chief” representing each fire company AND all the fire companies reporting to one overall chief. The Newport Fire Department was created in 1858.

  • Pawtucket became a paid department in 1874 and grew to 6 engine companies and 3 truck companies (Warwick Aerial Ladder Truck Company #1, Slater Hook-and-Ladder Company #2, Whatcheer Hook and Ladder Company #3, Rhode Island Chemical and Hose Company #1, Rough and Ready Chemical and Hose Company #2, Monitor Hose Company #3, Atlantic Chemical and Hose Company #4, Fairlawn Chemical and Hose Company #5, Darlington Chemical and Hose Company #6).

  • Providence was serviced by twelve volunteer fire companies up until 1854 when the Fire Department was formed to replace the voluntary fire companies that were in existence at the time.

  • Smithfield was initially serviced by two fire districts - District 1 was serviced by the Greenville Fire Department and District 2 was served by the Georgiaville Fire Company. Both were merged into the Smithfield Fire Department in 1966.

  • The West Warwick Fire Department became a unified fire department in 1948 when the Riverpoint Fire Department (1888), Crompton Fire Department (1890), the Natick Fire Department (1872), and the Warwick Fire Department (1889) all merged with the West Warwick Fire Department.

Fire Districts

Eleven towns have fire services provided by one or more fire districts. While the other New England States have fire districts, they are far more prevalent in Connecticut and Rhode Island. A fire district is a quasi-municipal corporation. It is an independent governmental entity that exists separately from the municipality in which it resides. They are usually created for specific purposes such as fire, water, lighting, sewer, etc. As such, they have their own taxing authority. Usually, district taxes are included in the property tax bill put out by the municipality and the municipality passes the district taxes on to the district. However, some districts have their own tax collector and those district residents receive two property tax bills, one from the town and one from the district.However, not all fire districts exist to provide fire services. For example, the Bonnet Shores fire district provides trash collection and recreational services but not fire services while the North Tiverton and Stone Bridge fire districts provide water services only. Some fire districts provide more than just fire services. For example, the Hopkins Hill fire district is also responsible for street lighting, and the Harrisville fire district also provides water services.

Towns with a single fire district providing fire services to the entire town are Exeter.

Towns with multiple fire districts providing fire services to the town include Burrillville, Coventry, Cumberland, Glocester, Hopkinton, Lincoln, Richmond, South Kingston, and Westerly.

  • Burrillville has five fire districts: Harrisville, Nasonville, Oakland-Mapleville, Pascoag, and Wallum Lake.

  • Charlestown has four fire districts: Charlestown, Dunn’s Corner, Quonochontaug Central Beach, and Shady Harbor. The Charlestown fire district was formed in 1979 and operates two fire departments - the Charlestown/Richmond fire department and the Cross Mills fire department. The Dunn’s Corner fire district spans portions of two towns, Charlestown and Westerly, with a fire station located in each town. The other two fire districts do not have their own fire department but instead contract for fire services from the Dunn’s Corner fire district.

  • Coventry has four fire districts: Central Coventry, Coventry (Anthony), Hopkins Hill, and Western Coventry. The Harris, Tiogue, and Washington fire districts merged into the Central Coventry Fire District in 2006.

  • Cumberland has one fire district. The Cumberland fire district was formed by the merger of the Ashton and Berkeley Fire Departments in 1992. The Cumberland, Cumberland Hill, North Cumberland and Valley Falls fire districts all merged into the Cumberland fire district in 2014.

  • Glocester has three fire districts: Chepachet, Harmony, and West Glocester. Each is their own village within the town of Glocester. Harmony covers the eastern portion of Glocester, Chepachet covers the central portion of Glocester, and West Glocester covers the western portion of Glocester.

  • Hopkinton has two fire districts: Ashaway and Hope Valley/Wyoming with the Hope Valley/Wyoming fire district spanning two towns, Hopkinton and Richmond.

  • Lincoln has six fire districts: Albion, Lime Rock, Lonsdale, Manville, Quinnville, and Saylesville. The Fairlawn fire district merged into the Saylesville Fire District in 1998.

  • Richmond has two fire districts: Richmond-Carolina and Hope Valley/Wyoming. The Hope Valley fire district spans parts of Richmond and Hopkinton.

  • South Kingston has three fire districts: Indian Lake Shores, Kingston, and Union. Indian Lake Shores does not have its own fire department but instead contracts for fire services from the Union fire district.

  • Westerly has seven fire districts: Bradford, Dunn’s Corners, Misquamicut, Shelter Harbor, Watch Hill, Weekapaug, and Westerly. The Weekapaug fire district does not have its own fire department but instead contracts for fire services from the Misquamicut Fire District. The Shelter Harbor fire district also does not have a fire department but instead contracts for fire services from the Dunn’s Corners fire district.

Private Fire Departments

Six towns do not have a municipal fire department nor fire districts. Foster, Scituate, and West Greenwich have multiple private volunteer fire departments, each in a geographic fire district not a taxing fire district. Each has their own fire chief and each receives funding from their town.

  • Foster has three private volunteer fire departments: Foster Center Fire Company, Moosup Valley Fire Company, and South Foster Fire Company. In Foster, all three fire departments respond to any structure fire.

  • Scituate has four private volunteer fire departments: Chopmist Hill Fire Dept., Hope-Jackson Fire Company, North Scituate Fire Dept., and Pottersville Fire Dept.

  • West Greenwich has three private volunteer departments: Hianloland Fire Company, Lake Mishnock Fire Dept., and West Greenwich Fire Company.

  • New Shoreham contracts with the private, non-profit Block Island Fire and Rescue to provide fire services to the town.

  • North Smithfield also has no fire department so it contracts with the private, non-profit North Smithfield fire department to provide fire and EMS services to the town. The fire department came into existence in 2002 resulting from the merger of the North Smithfield Volunteer fire department and the Primrose Volunteer fire department.

Massachusetts

There are a total of 360 local fire departments in Massachusetts, 185 of which are full-time departments but only 90 use full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination departments.

Located to the right you will find a PDF containing fire department data and useful links to fire chief and fire marshall resources.

Massachusetts has 351 incorporated municipalities of which 42 are cities and another eight have been granted a city form of government but still preferred to be called a town.

In Massachusetts, the local fire departments are either municipal fire departments, part of a fire district, or private corporations.

Municipal Fire Departments

Of the 351 municipalities, 335 have a municipal fire department. A municipal fire department is part of a city or town funded by the city’s or town’s general fund budget which is paid for primarily through property taxes. The career departments listed in the first table are municipal departments unless it is indicated they are part of a fire district. Some of these career fire departments, however, are assisted by a volunteer fire company.

Fire Districts

Ten towns have fire services provided by one or more fire districts. A fire district is a quasi-municipal corporation. It is an independent governmental entity that exists separately from the municipality in which it resides. They are usually created for specific purposes such as fire, water, lighting, sewer, etc. As such, they have their own taxing authority. Usually, district taxes are included in the property tax bill put out by the municipality and the municipality passes the district taxes on to the district. However, some districts have their own tax collector and those district residents receive two property tax bills, one from the town and one from the district.

Towns with a single fire district providing fire services to the entire town are Adams, Dalton, and Williamstown.

Towns with multiple fire districts providing fire services to the town include Barnstable, Dartmouth, Newbury, Palmer, Shelburne, South Hadley, and Wareham..

  • Barnstable has five fire districts: Barnstable, COMM, Cotuit, Hyannis, and West Barnstable.

  • Dartmouth has three fire districts: Dartmouth #1 (southeastern part of town), Dartmouth #2 (southwestern part of town), and Dartmouth #3 (northern part of town).

  • Newbury has two fire districts: Byfield and Newbury.

  • Palmer has four fire districts: Bondsville, Palmer, Thorndike, and Three Rivers. Thorndike receives fire coverage from the Palmer fire district.

  • Shelburne has two fire districts: Shelburne Corner and Shelburne Falls.

  • South Hadley has two fire districts: South Hadley #1 and South Hadley #2.

  • Wareham has two fire districts: Onset and Wareham.

Some fire districts provide more than just fire services. For example, the Dalton fire district is also provides water services.

Private Fire Departments

Six towns do not have a municipal fire department nor fire districts. Clarksburg, Egremont, New Marlborough, Peru, Sandisfield, and Tolland have a single private, non-profit corporation providing fire services to the town. Each has their own fire chief and each receives funding from their town.

There are several fire associations that provide civic/social benefits to their respective towns and those are the Belchertown, Cotuit, Goshen, Harwich, Sherborn, Southwick, Sunderland, Truro, Tyngsborough, and West Tisbury Firefighter Associations.

Delaware

There are a total of 62 local fire departments in Delaware, 1 which uses full-time personnel exclusively. The rest are combination and volunteer departments. The US Fire Administration Census shows that 98% of Delaware fire departments are comprised of volunteer fire fighters and nationwide, 67% of all fire departments are volunteer fire departments.

Located on the right you will find a PDF containing fire department data and useful links to fire chief and fire marshall resources.

Delaware has 54 incorporated municipalities, 3 villages which are considered to be municipalities, and 43 unincorporated towns. Delaware is divided into three counties and each county is subdivided into “hundreds” which are equivalent to townships such as those in Maine. Delaware is the only state that still uses “hundreds”.

In Delaware, there is one municipal fire department and all the other local fire departments are private corporations providing a volunteer fire service which is partially funded by the County and State.

Municipal Fire Departments

A municipal fire department is part of a city or town funded by the city’s or town’s general fund budget which is paid for primarily through property taxes. There is only one municipal department in Delaware and that is the Wilmington fire department.

Private Fire Departments

Most municipalities in Delaware do not have a municipal fire department. Instead, they get fire services from a private fire department residing in a geographic fire district defined by the State. Many of these geographic fire districts include a city or town as well as unincorporated areas. Some fire districts include just unincorporated areas (i.e., Christiana, Clayton, Gumboro, Hockessin, Indian River, Marydel, and Roxanna).

For a listing of the apparatus that each department may have, please go to the Northeast FireNews website. You may also be interested in visiting the New England Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association, or the International Association of Fire Chiefs websites.

For information about asbestos-related diseases in the firefighting field, please see the Mesothelioma Justice Network website.

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