History of Department
The Meriden Fire Department was founded in 1851 in an area called West Meriden located near and just west of the railroad line. As the city industrialized and grew, so did the need for increased fire protection. Fire companies were organized in the neighborhoods that surrounded the factories and businesses in the center of the town.
- Charter Oak Engine Co. 1 was organized in 1863 on State Street, relocating shortly to the Butler Street site which is now the home of King Travelways.
- Washington Hose Co. 2 was organized in 1867 and located on Pratt Street across from the existing location of Engine 2 and Truck 1.
- Ever Ready Hook and Ladder Co. 1 was organized in 1868 and located on Pratt Street in an old police building, later relocating with the Washington Hose Co. 2 on Pratt Street as well.
- Parker Hose Engine Co. 3 was organized in 1869 on School Street across from St. Rose Church, relocating in 1877 to 303 East Main Street and then to its present quarters at 561 Broad Street in 1889 This facility was renovated and expanded in 1996-97 to accommodate Fire Headquarters.
- Wilcox Hose Co. 4 was organized in 1871 on Colony Street near Kensington Avenue and later relocated to a modern facility at 260 Sherman Avenue.
As the town grew dramatically in the early 20th century, the fire department changed along with it. The Meriden Fire Department became the first fully mechanized department in the state by 1914 and fire prevention and education was initiated in public schools as early as 1915. The Meriden Fire Department started responding to calls for heart attacks and difficulty breathing as early as the 1940's and has now progressed to all firefighters being trained as first respondents either as Emergency Medical Technicians or Medical Response Technicians equipped with Automated External Defibrillators.