Hydraulion Engine & Hose Company



  • Contact: Assistant Chief James D. Annis
  • Address: 4 Annawamscutt Drive


The Hydraulion Engine and Hose Company Number 1 were first organized on May 11, 1836 during a town meeting. The company was formally organized on July 22, 1843.
Hydraulion Engine and Hose Company Number 1 Logo
During this meeting $1,000 was appropriated for the purchase of a new Hydraulion Engine. The first Hydraulion Engine Company was comprised of the members attached to this new Hydraulion Engine, which was purchased in New Bedford, Massachusetts from the Richmond Company. As an interesting point the population of the Town of Bristol during this time was 3,400.

Ice House
The Ice House of John A. C. Gladding, located on Easterbrooks Ave, Fire in 1896 was the last time the Hydraulion Engine saw service. Prior to the purchase of the Hydraulion Engine, all of the fire apparatus in Bristol were of the Bucket Tub Type in which people would fill the tub with water from buckets. The Bucket Tub Type could deliver water but it couldn’t draft water. The new Hydraulion Engine was the 1st in town to do both.

On July 2, 1834, the news reached this town, not by radio, telephone, telegraph or airplane, but by a messenger with horse and carriage that there was a big fire in Fall River and the officials of the city requested assistance to stop the flames which were leveling the business section. The town sent the best it had, the Hydraulion Engine and its company of men.

A sloop lying at the wharf was pressed into service, the engine and a supple of hose was placed on board, with a good sized company of men, and set sail for Fall River.

Organization Meeting
A meeting was held in what was then a sail loft on the upper floor of a building which was once owned by the J.T. O’Connell Lumber Co. on the West side of Thames Street. At this meeting held July 22, 1843, an organization was formed known as the Hydraulion Engine and Hose Co. No. 1. Previous to this meeting the members of the company were chosen by the town council and voted upon at the town meetings.

Officers were chosen and Amos Crandall was elected foreman.

The company eventually moved to a building on Hope Street, located on the land where once a Boy Scout building stood. The company remained in this building until it moved to the new building the town had built for us. The last meeting was held in the original station on June 1, 1899 and held its first meeting in the new station at the corner of Franklin and High St on June 28, 1899.

In 1846 a second fire engine was purchased and organized another company known as the King Philip Engine Companies. Four years later in 1850 the bucket brigades were disbanded.

1st Motorized Apparatus
Our 1st motorized apparatus was a 500 gallon triple combination pumper built by the Seagrave Co. at the time only certain members were allowed to ride the new engine. Several of us were told that we would have to respond to a fire with the old hand drawn engine.

The Seagrave truck was in use for several years and that was replaced with a 1,000 gallon piston pumper built by Ahrens-Fox Company, it is no longer in service but is operational. Our next truck was a 1000 gallon pumper built by the American LaFrance Company it was retired in 1986 and was replaced by a 1986 Emergency One 1,250 gallons per minute (gpm) pumper. In 2011, the Emergency One was re-designated as Engine 5 and replaced with a 2011 Pierce 1,500 gpm pumper.

On May 12, 1969 our station, our home away from home, a building filled with so much history and many memories, was destroyed by an accidental electrical fire. The heroic efforts of George C. Lima, Sr and then Deputy Chief Manuel Vieira saved both pieces of apparatus from certain destruction.

In 1963 a committee was formed called the “Old Hydraulion Back to Bristol” committee to work on getting the old hand tub returned to Bristol from the New Bedford/Dartmouth, Massachusetts Historical Societies. In October of 1977 the 14 years of dedicated efforts by the “Old Hydraulion Back to Bristol” committee came to fruition when a judge in New Bedford, MA ruled that the company’s first pumper, built in 1836, would be returned to the company within 30 days.

On November 2, 1988 the last meeting was held in the station at the corner of Franklin and High Street, which had been home for a little over 89 years. The present station located at the corner or Annawamscutt Drive and Metacom Avenue, was dedicated on Sunday, November 13, 1988 and the first meeting was on Wednesday, December 7, 1988.

Throughout the years many changes have occurred to the Town of Bristol. Major industries have come and gone, the population has grown and roads have been built but through it all the Hydraulion Engine and Hose Co No1 and the other dedicated members of the Bristol Fire Department have stood their watch and protected the citizens of this great community.