The Noank Fire Company was organized in 1895 with William Fraser as the chief of the department. At this time, Noank was primarily a fishing village. Its major industry was boatbuilding, with the Palmer Shipyard as the largest builder. A water tower was constructed near the center of the village to provide water pressure to the Palmer shipyard. There were four fire hydrants placed along the water line to the shipyard, two of which still stand. One is in front of Carson’s Store on Main Street, the other on private property on Pearl Street. Fire was a constant threat due to the significant use of wood in the construction of boats and buildings, and the use of wood and coal for heating buildings.
The first firehouse stood on or near Cedar Street near where the Baptist church parking lot is today. This was in the general area of the water tower that served the shipyard. The department, then as now, was also a social group, allowing Noank residents to get together for the common good. The Noank Fire Department has always worked with other departments in the area, sharing equipment and ideas, and responding to assist each other when a large fire occurred. We continue this today and also train together once a month so that our members can work with members of other departments and gain knowledge and confidence in working together.
Noank has seen its share of large fires over the years. Near the turn of the century, several buildings at the intersection of Front Street and Main Street were consumed. These buildings housed several businesses, the post office, a large hall for gatherings, and several residences. The Baptist church suffered significant damage from fire on Christmas Eve 1959.
Major changes have affected all fire departments over the years. With people more aware of fire prevention and the advent of smoke detectors in most homes, we are finding that fire calls have greatly declined while calls for emergency medical assistance have grown. Our department has several emergency medical technicians who respond to medical calls. Most often we are able to be on scene before the ambulance arrives and can evaluate the patient and provide care until the ambulance arrives.
The Noank Fire Department is still a mostly volunteer department and we are proud to be able to be of assistance to our neighbors, business owners, and visitors whenever the need arises, whether it be fire, emergency medical services, rescue, or any other type of aid.