History of the Biddeford Fire Department
In 1834 the mutual society for the extinguishment of fires is formed between Biddeford and Saco. This was the time of the bucket brigade and was not too effective in saving property from the ravages of fire.
In 1848 both Biddeford and Saco obtained the technological apparatus of its day. The 1848 Hand Tub Pioneer made by the Hunneman Company of Roxbury, Mass, which is now a section of Boston was acquired by Biddeford Fire Department. Likewise, Saco acquired the same equipment which was named the Niagara.
Technology in firefighting continued to evolve and in 1869, Biddeford acquired and Amoskeag Stem Pumper, named the Richard Vines. This pumper was made in Manchester NH. A second steamer, the Eben Simpson was also acquired in 1869. The third and final steamer was purchased in 1907.
Various fire stations served the City at different locations. It was not until 1907 when Biddeford built their Central Fire Station on Washington St. to house all of the trucks in one place. That station served for many years until the department moved into a new station on Alfred St. in 1991.
Motorization from steam to gas engines commenced in 1918 with the purchase of a GMC Chemical & Hose Truck. Real serious efforts commenced when Biddeford purchased a 1924 Ahrens-Fox Piston Pumper followed shortly by a 1926 Ahrens-Fox Tillered Ariel and a 1928 Ahrens-Fox Pumper, which completed the motorization of the fire department.
Many fires were fought in Biddeford and surrounding communities. Mutual aid among Biddeford and Saco has a very long history and joint operation and training are commonplace to this day.
Many may not know that Biddeford responded to the great Boston Fire which occurred on November 9, 1872, and the great fire of Portland, July 4, 1866. Biddeford and Saco fire departments responded with their equipment by train to meet the needs of both cities in distress. They also responded to the great forest fires that surrounded the communities in 1947.
Biddeford Fire Department continues to be a cutting edge department that will serve this community well into the future, providing a wide array of emergency and medical services.