History of the Concord Fire Department

The town of Concord is a town filled with history. Concord was settled in 1635 by about a dozen families, most coming from England especially for that purpose. On April 19, 1775 Concord and Lexington fought and won the first battle of the American Revolution.

The Concord Fire Department is also rich in history of its own.

Early Fire Society - 1794

Organized fire protection in Concord dates as far back as 1794 when a Fire Society was formed and owned one small hand engine with a bucket filled tub. "Each member of which was required to keep in readiness for use, two leather buckets, a ladder and a large canvas bag. It was expected that each member at the alarm of a fire, would seize his buckets and bag and go to the scene and help save the property from destruction."

This Fire Society continued until a municipal fire department was established in 1855. During that year, the department was called out three times, all to the Pail Factory for building fires and had a total appropriation of $288.90.

In 1874 the beginning of the public water system was introduced into Concord center, and continued to grow throughout the years. In 1899 Town Meeting voted for the installation of a fire alarm system to be installed and maintained by the municipal light plant.

First Permanent Member - 1915

The Fire Department saw it's first permanent member in 1915, a man by the name of Royden A. Bass, and was assigned to the central station. By 1935 full-time firefighters increased by 5, including the appointment of the first permanent Fire Chief, Harry Tuttle. In these early days, the permanent men were assigned to "…be on duty at all times…" and in addition to an annual vacation, were allowed "one day off (twenty-four hours) in every seven days".

Town Employee Pensions - 1940

Following a vote at the 1940 Annual Town Meeting, a committee was formed to investigate pensions for Town employees including the permanent men of the Fire Department. Both the committee and the selectmen unanimously recommended the adoption of a contributory pension system. The recommendation was placed before the citizens and a pension system was established thereafter.

First Ambulance - 1951

On January 1, 1951 the ambulance was transferred from the Police Department to the Fire Department and housed in the West Concord Fire Station. During that year, the department responded to 141 medical calls, including service to many area towns.

Staffing Increases - 1954-56

In 1954, the department consisted of 19 permanent men, which included the appointment of the first permanent Deputy Chief/Deputy Forest Warden, Harry A. Patterson. In 1956, three additional men were hired to increase the shift strength to eight, one captain and seven privates. Each was assigned to one of three platoons and worked an average a 56-hour workweek.

New Headquarters - 1960

On October 1, 1960, the fire department moved into it's new headquarters at 209 Walden street, where it remains today. The former headquarters station at 16 Walden Street was closed and later became the Walden Station Sandwich Shop.

Reducing the Workweek With More Firefighters 1968-77

At the Annual Town Meeting in March 1968, approval was given to hire four additional men. This would provide the same shift coverage, while reducing the workweek to 48 hours. It wasn’t until 1977 that the Department manning was increased to 32 permanent members plus the Fire Chief.

First Lieutenants - 1982

In 1982 the department established the position of the Lieutenant to be the company officer of the West Concord Engine Company. The first four members to be promoted to Lieutenant were Paul Denaro, Walter Macone, Robert Robinson and Earl Stone.

Safer Grant Staff Increase - 2007

In 2007 we added 4 firefighters (1 per shift) to the ranks thought the Safer Grant. The Safer Grant pays a decreasing percentage of the firefighter’s salary over a four year period.  The firefighter’s fifth year salary must be fully funded by the Concord Fire Department budget.

Concord Fire Department Today

Today we operate with four shifts of nine; one captain, one lieutenant and seven firefighters. The lieutenant and 2 firefighters are assigned to the West Concord Engine, the captain (shift commander) and three firefighters are assigned to the Concord engine and two firefighters are assigned to cross-man the ambulance and the Ladder Company.  The shift strength of 9 members will drop to 8 when anyone is out sick, injured or vacation.


  • History of the Concord Massachusetts Fire Department by Robert M. Washburn
  • Rules and Regulations of the Concord Fire Department - Town of Concord, May 1, 1935
  • Conversations with retired members