About the Stafford Fire Dept. No. 1

On May 10, 1934 the Stafford Fire Dept. No. 1 was originated. Eight men have been credited with the actual organization procedures. These men are: Fred L. Finch, Joseph Schwanda, Benjamin Phelps, Leon Cooley, Henry Larges, and Omer Cooley. Two members names have been lost to history.

Meetings were first held in the basement of B. Schwanda and Sons button factory. Later, in 1935, the members met for meetings in an unused combination garage and dance hall on the same property. The lower portion housed the equipment while the upper floor was used as a meeting room. This building still stands today. And was incorporated into Station 145. The membership continued to grow rapidly from these original members during the next two years. Activity continued to grow such that the membership voted to incorporate the department. On November 11, 1936, the organization was formally incorporated as THE STAFFORD FIRE DEPARTMENT NO. 1, INC. Fred L. Finch, Joseph Schwanda and Benjamin Phelps had the honor of signing the legal documents of incorporation. It became apparent about this time that a signal to spread an alarm of fire was necessary. The organization was able to obtain a steel ring from the wheel of a locomotive. This fire bell was hung near the present Post Office in Staffordville with a sledge hammer provided for ringing of the bell. The bell was also augmented by the warning siren of B. Schwanda and Sons when possible.

The fireman membership was limited to men twenty-one years or more when originated. A separate Junior Fire Department was organized on November 11, 1943.

November of 1940 due to the man shortage during World War II This allowed young men between the ages of 14 and 21 to participate. Today, the Junior members number seven with the age limit being advanced to those 16 to 18 years.

An electric siren, manually controlled, was purchased and installed on the firehouse in the latter part of 1941 . The fire bell was removed at a later date and found its way into a pile of scrap metal during the war.

The war years that followed drew a considerable number of members into the Armed Services. There were two members who lost their lives in action. These men were Joseph Cooley and Frank K.

A committee was formed in June, 1949, for the purpose of formulating plans for a new firehouse in the Staffordville area. A parcel of land was donated by B. Schwanda and Sons and a two-story cinder block building was constructed. This building, the present firehouse, was accepted by the membership on July 30, 1951 . The siren was relocated to the new firehouse a short time later. An automatic control was installed in January of 1952. This allowed the State Police in Stafford to control alarms of fire. All fire emergencies were reported by calling number 65.

In 1953, the fire department won first prize in a statewide contest among volunteer departments. The contest was conducted by the Hartford County Mutual Fire Insurance Company. The prize was awarded for the best fire prevention program and improvement of fire fighting facilities in 1952 and 1953.

A Ladies Auxiliary was adopted by the department in July, 1955. This unit, comprised of relatives of the department, is an active part of the organization today, providing moral and financial support to the department.

The organization, from this point on, continued to update existing equipment and modernize procedures to the present day. Plans for the very near future again call for a major expenditure for a new Public Safety Complex (new Station 145) to be built on land owned by the member’s on 271 East Street (Rt. 19 near the old Pinney School).

During the thirty-five years of the department many pieces of equipment have been purchased, always with the desire to keep the equipment up-to-date as possible. Many of the trucks originally purchased have been replaced by newer models.

Today the department has eight trucks, one boat and all units are equipped with the necessary apparatus for a modern and efficient unit. An organization is no stronger than its membership.


The Auxiliary of the Stafford Fire Department No . 1 of Staffordville was organized March 6 , 1956 under the guidance of Chief Benjamin Muzio. The membership was forty women. The first slate of officers was as follows: President, Mrs. Jean C. Dupont; Vice-President, Mrs. Grace Kilcoffins; Secretary, Mrs. Claire West; and Treasurer, Mrs. Alice Be . The primary purpose of the Auxiliary is that of a social group. Through various fund-raising events the Auxiliary is able to turn money over to the Fire Department for necessary equipment and supplies.