The Dunbarton Volunteer Fire Department was organized on August 9, 1938. Section 2 of Article 1 of the constitution states: "It's object shall be the preservation and protection of property from and during such fires as may occur in the Town of Dunbarton and vicinity."

There were 24 men in attendance at the first meeting at which time they elected these officers:

Chief William L. Merrill
Deputy Chief Sidney Flanders
Secretary Wilfred Marshall
Treasurer Robert Baker

A 1926 Model T Ford Fire Truck with 2 chemical tanks, 200 ft of chemical hose, and a few miscellaneous tools with a portable pump were the only elements of fire protection the town had at this date.

The first meetings were held at the Maple Lodge which was a local tavern and a very popular place for the men of the town to congregate. The lack of equipment and money was the first major concern and a series of whisk parties and dances was started which gave the department money for equipment. The selectmen of that time were extremely cooperative with loans of money which was paid back from department receipts.

The meeting place was changed to the Town Hall in late 1938 while part of the old town horse sheds were being rebuilt to accommodate the new fire equipment. When the rebuild was complete the meetings were then held there.

The manner of spreading the alarm was by telephone and in the event of a major fire a ring of ten was sounded on all lines. This remained in effect until the dial system went into operation.

The first recorded move toward obtaining better equipment was dated February 6, 1939 when a committee was appointed to obtain prices on a Fire Truck. The committee acted fast with a vote at a special Department meeting February 27, 1939 to purchase a pump for $391.44. Another special meeting March 28, 1939 records action to have this installed on the truck. Then on April 3, 1939 it was voted to complete this unit and a $200 loan was extended by the selectmen.

At the annual meeting August 29, 1939 Lyman Nutt was elected Chief and served in this capacity until August 30, 1948. His interest and enthusiasm were such that he did a very capable job of building and maintaining the Fire Department even through World War II when manpower and materials were both short supply.

February 5, 1940 was the start of procuring another truck. The first truck was complete with a cost of $1391.31. A motion was made to request permission at Town Meeting to replace the Model T Ford.

The spring of 1940 was taken up with obtaining information and prices for a new unit. On May 10, 1940 a 1936 V8 Ford Truck was purchased for $325. On July 22, 1940 it was voted to equip this with a tank and a pump. The Selectmen were requested and did a grant a $500 loan for this purpose.

Many people were beginning to realize the work and effort these men were giving to the Town, often at personal expense or hardship. On March 3, 1941 an expression of thanks was extended in the form of a steak supper which was served by the women of the town with Mrs. Annie Dulude in charge.

To be continued...


This is a work in progress, if you have old photos or other historic documentation regarding the Dunbarton Fire Department please contact us so that we may include it in this section. Thank you!