History

The New London Fire Department was first formed in 1928, with approximately 20 members under the leadership of Fire Chief William Kidder, the original owner of Kidder Garage (now the “Kidder Building”).  The first piece of motorized apparatus, a Cosmopolitan pumper with a gear type pump, was housed at Kidder’s Garage until the first fire station was built in the early 1930’s. This piece of apparatus is still in town, owned by “Bill” Kidder, the son of the first Chief. 

When the “New London Fire Company” was organized, by-laws were drafted and the Chief’s position became elected, rather than appointed. The first elected Fire Chief was Horace C. Stanley. Due to the vagaries of State regulations and Federal tax laws, the name of the company has been changed to “The New London Firefighters Association” in order to comply, but we still function in much the same way as we did in the beginning. 

In the “old days” nearly all the members lived and worked in town, and could be expected to respond en-mass to nearly all of the relatively few calls that occurred at the time. Members were notified of fires by siren originally, and then by both siren and cascade phone network up until the late 1970’s. Now we are notified of an emergency by radio and telephone pagers, and all of the company officers are equipped with both portable and mobile radios.  Although we still have the original siren, it is no longer used in order to prevent the flood of curiosity calls to the dispatch center that ensues after each alarm. 

Now the organization is comprised of 40+ members (it varies over time), in order to have enough personnel to make up for comings and goings of people working out of town, vacations, etc Typically, we field a crew of 18 to 24 men and women for the average general alarm, and respond to non-emergency calls with a single Fire Officer. In the last fifteen years alone, the number of calls has increased from less than 100, to over 700 in 2008!