75 Years of Service (1946-2021)
Information for this ongoing project came from many sources. This includes past member interviews, Litchfield Annual Town Reports, original fire department meeting logs, Litchfield fire incident reports, Hudson Fire Department history archives, Hudson Fire Historian David Morin, newspaper articles, photos from residents and firefighters, the town website, and most of all, the hard work originally started by the Litchfield Fire Department’s 50th Anniversary Committee for the 1996 celebration.
I would like to recognize the Anniversary Committee, without their initial monumental undertaking, some of the information obtained would have been impossible to collect. Many of the people interviewed are no longer living or have moved away. No official history of the Litchfield Fire Department existed prior to the start of their work in 1995.
I initially started updating their 21-page document in 2005 where they left off, only to realize the magnitude and scope of the project before me. I have since gone back to the very beginning in hopes of filling in the many gaps from the early years of the department or the history of fires in the Town of Litchfield. After spending 16 years of research and now at 379-pages of historical documentation, I am still finding new information from the town’s past previously not known. My intent is to provide as accurate a history as possible of the Litchfield Fire Department. If anyone reading this finds any inaccurate information or can share new information that should be included, please contact me.
Due to the number of calls the department has responded to over the last 75 years, only calls of fires, entrapment, historical significance, magnitude, or calls not commonly received will be included in the history. The department’s response to other communities for mutual aid will only include responses to the scene. Mutual Aid calls for station coverage are too common and would exceed available writing space. The Litchfield Fire Department recorded 19,093 emergency and service call incidents between the years 1975 and 2021.
LITCHFIELD FIRE DEPARTMENT’S 1996
50TH ANNIVERSARY COMMITTEE
WARREN ADAMS- firefighter
MARK CARTER- firefighter
PAMELA EDMONDS- firefighter
DIANE JERRY- Town Clerk
BRENT LEMIRE- Fire Chief
LAWRENCE LEVESQUE- firefighter
DAVID MAYOPOULOS- firefighter
KENNETH NELSON- firefighter
JOHN PINCIARO- Selectman
JOHN SHEA- firefighter
CORLYN YUSUF- town resident
Thank you to everyone who helped with this project.
Deputy Fire Chief / EMS
1987- present (2021)
Town of Litchfield, NH Fire History
Before the Litchfield Volunteer Fire Department was organized on May 13, 1946, the town residents rallied to fight fires. Fires were put out by bucket and shovel by resident brigades composed of whoever was nearby when a fire broke out. The running joke everyone would say at the time was “we never lost a cellar hole.”
September 27, 1870– Another fire in the woods. Despite the heavy shower of Sunday, an extensive fire is raging in the woods north of what is known as Sodom in Litchfield. The fire originated on land owned by the widow Kendall and has burned a tract of 600 or 700 acres of woodland, destroying its growth and causing a loss of several thousand dollars. This tract of land is in the area south of Page Road on the river side of what is now Wilson Farm’s large fields.
November 3, 1870- Serious Fire: The house and barns of Daniel Bancroft in Litchfield, nearly opposite the railroad passenger station in Merrimack, were burned to the ground at 2 o’clock this morning. Loss $3500. No insurance.
August 8, 1871- Serious Fire. Yesterday afternoon the barn and two sheds belonging to Mr. Wingate McQuesten were burned to the ground. He also lost twenty-five tons of hay, two tons of rye, five tons of oats, two wagons, a new mowing machine, and in fact, every tool he had. Loss estimated at $2500, insurance only $200. The barn is supposed to have been struck by lightning.
November 16, 1872- Supposed Drowning Accident at Litchfield. The people of Litchfield are a good deal exercised concerning the mysterious disappearance of Geo. Page. About 10 o’clock, Saturday night he left the residence of Mr. John White, where he has been employed as a farmhand, saying he was going to ferry a man across the Merrimack River to Thornton’s Ferry, since which time he has not been seen. It appears that he did not meet the man in question and that some portion of his clothing was found at the edge of the river. It is supposed that he attempted to cross the river and that the water being unusually high, he missed his bearings in the darkness, slipped in, and was drowned. The current carried his body down the river. He was about 40 years of age, a native of Litchfield, and a single man.
POULTRY ESTABLISHMENT DESTROYED BY FIRE TODAY
Fire causes $2,000 damage in Litchfield.
George Boyden loses 500 fowl. Blaze started about six o’clock this morning and made rapid headway owing to lack of firefighting facilities – place was only partially insured.
The largest of the recently established poultry farms on the River Road in Litchfield was burned this morning. It was owned and operated by George Boyden. The loss is upwards of $2,000, only partially covered by insurance. The fire started about six o’clock.
Nashua Telegraph Article from March 25, 1904
June 4, 1903– The Nashua Telegraph reported many large brush fires burning in Litchfield and many surrounding towns due to the dry weather. A thick haze of smoke covered the area. Large fires were reported in Hudson, Litchfield, Merrimack, Amherst, Hollis, Brookline Nashua, and Lyndeborough.
April 20, 1915– Forest Fire Litchfield-
The “largest fire recorded in Litchfield history” occurred on April 20, 1915.
A brush fire spread by high gale winds north of Hillcrest Cemetery destroyed more than 3,000 acres of wood and timber in the central part of Litchfield and parts of Londonderry and Hudson. The conflagration swept across Pinecrest Road, Talent Road and was extinguished before reaching Page Road. The fire spread far into Londonderry and Hudson. A strip of Litchfield’s timberland a mile wide and 5 miles long was nothing but charred devastation. Hundreds of firefighters from miles around fought the huge forest fire. The smoke from the fire could be seen as far away as Lowell, Ma. The late Florence Center, a former town librarian was returning home from Lowell on the train while watching the smoke from the fire. She overheard the conductor tell another passenger “All of Litchfield is on fire”. The cause of the conflagration was due to mayflower pickers careless kindling of fire on Hillcrest Road.
December 15, 1925- Barn Fire Litchfield– Hudson firefighters were called to the fire at the Shepard Farm just over the Hudson Town line in Litchfield. On arrival of firefighters the barn was heavily in involved in flames. Hose lines were laid from a brook some distance away to the scene for a water supply. Flames spread to the home but were quickly knocked down by firefighters. Many livestock died in the fire. Smoke from the fire could be seen for miles away bringing hundreds of onlookers. Nashua firefighters also responded to assist in battling the blaze.