Like many fire departments from Massachusetts, the Stoneham department dates back to the early 1700’s. It was first founded around 1725, with very little information available it until almost 50 years afterwards. This makes it difficult to really pin down who the first active firefighters were, but there are local legends that many people accept as fact.
The first fires were fought with simple equipment that wouldn’t look out place in a broom closet today. A bucket made of leather, with a capacity of less than 5 gallons was used to transport water to and from the site of fires. These were passed among men and sometimes women to the site of the fire, assuming a source of water was close enough.
The department did not enjoy much success in the first 100 years, with many fires taking place, and many losses occurring. However, in the 1800’s the town began to invest in the department, buying tubs and even a fire engine. But the end of the 1800’s, the department was enjoying great success.
I met a guy that owns a snow removal Minneapolis company, and he was born in the Framingham area. He said that compared to when he grew up in the ’60’s, the department is now very modern, enjoying engines with capacities of over 500 gallons. There are few fires that get out of hand now, a testament to the skill of the local firefighters. Nice going guys!