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Fire & Rescue Stations

Hydraulion Engine & Hose Co. No. 1

Contact: Deputy Chief Jeff Mascola
Annawanscutt Drive

HydraulionThe Hydraulion Engine and Hose Company No. 1 were first organized on May 11, 1836 during a town meeting.  The company was formally organized on July 22, 1843.

During this meeting $1,000 was appropriated for the purchase of a new Hydraulion Engine.  The first Hydraulion Engine Co was comprised of the members attached to this new Hydraulion Engine which was purchased in New Bedford, MA from the Richmond Co.  As an interesting point the population of the Town of Bristol during this time was 3,400.

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 first 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.

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.

Our first 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 1250 gpm pumper.  In 2011, the Emergency One was re-designated as Engine 5 and replaced with a 2011 Pierce 1500 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, MA Historical Societies.  In October of 1977 the fourteen 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 St which had been home for a little over 89 years.  The present station located at the corner or Annawamscutt Dr and Metacom Ave, 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. 

Defiance Engine & Hose Co. No. 3

Contact: Assistant Chief Dave Coccio
Address: Hope Street

The Defiance Hose Company No.1 was organized May 31, 1905 and remained housed on the bottom floor of a one room school house until its new, and present quarters, were occupied in April 1929. The Defiance Company received its first motorized vehicle in August 1926, bringing an end to the town's "Hose Carriage" era.

Photo on above shows Company members in full dress uniform assembled in front of their station on Armistice's Day November 11, 1928. The recently acquired apparatus is proudly displayed to their right.

In addition to fulfilling its commitment of protecting life and property, the company also partook in various activities to strengthen the camaraderie among its membership. Major attractions were base ball, bowling, clam bakes, musters and water battles, with water battling becoming the most prominent. The Defiance were State water battle champs from 1935 - 1951 and State bowling champs from 1961 - 1963.

Above is a photo of State Champs, 1949, (l-r) Angelo Andrade, Daniel Francis. Rear (l-r) Charles Andrade (hidden), and James Almeida.

For over nine decades the Defiance Company remained an all male conclave. Numerous attempts to introduce female firefighters were unsuccessful until June 1997. Even the annual banquet remained a "stag" event until January 1992, when wives or female companions were finally permitted to attend the function. Although such changes took decades to implement, their impact on department operations have been positive.

In June 2005 the company celebrated its 100th Anniversary. The photo above was taken after the 100th Anniversary meeting on June 7, 2005.

The company published a 134 page book outlining its rich history during the past century. This historical document is now available for purchase by visiting our web site: http://members.aol.com/defiancee3/100th.htm.

Ever-ready Engine & Hose Co. No. 2

Contact: Assistant Chief James Moreira
Thames Street

The Ever-Ready Engine and Hose Company No. 2 was founded on May 24, 1924. The history, however, of the Ever-Ready Engine and Hose Company No. 2 begins in the mid 1800's. In 1846, the King Philip Fire Company No. 4 was founded. Around 1870, when the new steamers came along, the name was changed to the King Philip Company No. 1. At that time, a state charter was obtained.

On August 13, 1923, an issue arose that would put an end to the King Philip Company No. 1. A special meeting was held to consider whether the company would attend the New England League Muster at Crescent Park. During the meeting, three applications for membership
were presented and accepted for membership. A protest was filed to the Board of Engineers and to the Town Council. In a dispute on August 13, 1924, the King Philip Company refused to abide by the decision that was made by the Town Council and the Board of Engineers. On May 6, the Town Council voted unanimously to instruct the Town Solicitor to evict the King Philip Company from their town-owned location. The King Philip Company vacated the station on Thames Street to occupy a building just north of the old Staples Coal Company's office.

On May 19th, 1924, the Board of Engineers recommended to the Town Council that authorization be given for the King Philip Fire Company to organize a new Company. On the May 24, 1924, a new fire company of thirty members was founded. These were younger members of the King Philip Company. It was however, not until June 4, 1924, that this new company would receive its name, The Ever Ready Engine and Hose Company No. 2, which has been serving our community ever since.

Annual Special Events: Look for announcements about our annual events.

Annual Clam Boil
Surf-n-turf Dinner

Dreadnaught Hook, Ladder & Hose Co. No. 1

Contact: Assistant Chief Michael DeMello
Church & High Streets

The Dreadnaught Hook, Ladder & Hose Co. #1 proudly protects 22,469 people (2000 US Census Bureau) living in an area of 10 square miles. We operate out of 1 station that protects a primarily residential area. Our department is a public department whose members are on a volunteer status. We have an ISO rating of 4 (as a department).

The Dreadnaught Hook, Ladder & Hose Co. #1 is one of 4 fire stations/companies (the other 3 are engine companies) and 1 rescue station proudly protecting the Town of Bristol. Our apparatus includes Ladder 1, Special Hazards and Marine 1. Our station is also the Fire Department Headquarters, Board of Engineers and Administration Offices, as well as the location for the Engine 4 Fog Squad (made up of members from the 4 fire companies, including ours). We are the busiest of the 4 fire companies, with at least one of our 3 units (not including E-4) responding to most fire call dispatches.

The Dreadnaught Hook, Ladder & Hose Co. #1 is led into action by Assistant Chief Thomas Prezioso, who has served the department since 1993 and promoted to Assistant Chief January 2009. Our Company has approximately 75 volunteer professionals, including active, life and social (as does each of the other 3 fire companies & rescue squad).

Our 2006 Company Officers include Captain Jesse Ferreira, 1st Lieutenant A.J. Mederios and 2nd Lieutenant Michael DeMello.

Other administrative and duty offices & positions for 2006 include:

  • First Driver Ladder 1 - Justin Texeira
  • First Driver Special Hazards - Randy Ross
  • First Driver Marine 1 - Drew Lombardo
  • Secretary/Company Clerk - David Woodbury
  • Treasurer - Lisa Braga
  • Custodian - Dicky O'Connell
  • Orderly - Ben Costa
  • Chaplain - Jim Wilson

What We Are Responsible For:

In addition to protecting the approximately 22,000 citizens of Bristol, we also protect about 15 miles of coastline (over 10.5 square miles of water), as well as over 4,000 students (about 80% living on campus) at Roger Williams University. Bristol is also home to many industrial companies, particularly boat building. Besides RWU, we protect 7 secondary schools in the Town, as well as 3 nursing homes and several assisted living and group homes. We respond to all structure fires, smoke conditions & building alarms, motor vehicle accidents, hazmat incidents, water rescues and other emergencies.

We do not hold official public meetings, however, we have:

Company Training - 7:00 PM - Second Wednesday of every month, at the station.

Monthly Company Meeting - 8:00 PM - First Wednesday of every month, at the station.

Fund-Raisers: Calendar Fund Raiser, Surf & Turf (Spring & Fall), Carwash, Yard sales, and several other events (varies) throughout the year.

Other Events Include: Muster & Water Battle (July); Firemen’s Memorial At Firefighter's Memorial Park (June); Michael "Flea" Andrade Memorial Square, Corner Of Church And High Streets

Station walk-throughs for the public and other youth station visits (i.e. Cubscouts/Girlscouts/Schools) are always welcome.


The following text is a personal insight into our Company's history, as written by our 1st Lieutenant (Now Captain), Tom Prezioso, once to a young visitor of the station.

The Dreadnaught Hook, Ladder & Hose Company 1 (also known as the "Dreads") is one of four charted volunteer fire companies in the town of Bristol, RI. The fire department is also made up of a volunteer Rescue Squad and an engine squad. The engine squad (Engine 4) is made up of seven members from each of the four charted fire companies. The Dreadnaughts have provided service for the town of Bristol for over 150 years. We argue this with the other companies because there is little to no history of our company. The reason for this is in 1899, a fire broke out one early morning, destroying the wooden structure housing the Dreads. The apparatus, at the time, was pulled out in time and saved along with our fire trumpets, but our records perished in the flames.

(On our official Company mascot…) Puff is a water-shooting dragon. If you notice on the patch, the tail of Puff is attached to a fire hydrant. The water from the hydrant runs through Puff and shoots out of his nose, like fire would shoot out of a fire-breathing dragon.

You may wonder how our ladder truck was named Puff. Well, I will tell you. A few days after Puff proudly rolled in to the small town of Bristol, RI in 1982, a demonstration of what she could do was put on for the town. There was Puff, the largest truck in the fleet and the largest and loudest in the surrounding towns. She was truly the pride of the fleet. When her jacks were lowered to raise the aerial, the thrust from the engine sounded like a loud roar. Once settled in to place, the aerial was raised to her full length of 110 feet with a nozzle at the tip and mid-point of the aerial. When the young school children observing the demonstration saw the long length of hose behind the ladder truck begin to move as it charged up with water and then witnessed the two powerful solid streams of water shooting out of the two nozzles towering above them, many of them began to say it look like a dragon. As the children described with excitement how the ladder truck looked and sounded like a dragon to each other and their parents, the name Puff began to emerge from the crowd of the children. It was from that moment on that the ladder truck was named from mythical dragon Puff from the children's song Puff the Magic Dragon.

The Dreadnaughts perform truck support at the fire scene (i.e. ladder buildings, ventilation, salvage and overhaul). We like to say; "We are the best ladder company in town." The joke is…we are the only ladder company in town. The other three companies are engine companies. We also perform auto extrications, handle hazardous materials, perform water rescues and assist rescue from time to time. You will notice in our company photo on our website the "special hazards" truck along side Puff and the bow of Marine 1 along the side of the members. We may be the only ladder company in town, but none the less we are certainly the busiest.

The photo of Puff (coming soon to our website) was taken in at the Dreads in December of 1999 while putting up Christmas lights on our station. It is a tradition we do every year. The station that you see was completed around 1900. It was built in the exact same location as the first station. Although our history is not complete, we have been at the same location (Church & High) for over 150 years. It is our home, and every member is "family".

You may notice that the middle of the road on Hope & High Streets has a red, white & blue line, rather then the traditional yellow. The reason is that this line marks the route for the oldest continuing July Fourth Parade in our country.

When most people hear the word Dreadnaught, they immediately associate the word with the great battleship. Or, a style of acoustic guitar. Although the spelling of Dreadnaught (with an 'a') could also refer to the great battleship, the actual word Dreadnought, with an 'o', is the appropriate spelling referring to the great battleships. Our company spelling of the word Dreadnaught has another meaning. The word Dread means to fear intensely and the word naught means nothing. When the two words Dread & naught are combined the meaning is entirely different. It means "fear nothing."

Station History:

The main part of the station was built right around 1900, after a fire destroyed the original Dreadnaught fire station, sitting on the same site. The addition on the Church Street side was built in the 1960's to house the new ladder truck at the time, a 1961 Ward LaFrance snorkel. The station has been well-maintained over the years, and has served the members and the town well. We have renovated and restored many spaces in recent years.

Department History: Can also be found in the local book titled Bristol, Rhode Island, Volume II, by author Richard V. Simpson, published by Arcadia Publishing (HISTORICAL PHOTOS OF COMPANY & DEPARTMENT)

Community Programs

Community Programs, including Fire Prevention Week, smoke detector reviews and CPR training, are typically organized through the Bristol Fire Department Board of Engineers.

Through the Dreadnaught Hook, Ladder & Hose Company #1, station walk-throughs for the public and other youth station visits (i.e. Cub Scouts/Girl Scouts/Schools) are always welcome.

Please contact a Dreadnaught Company Officer, or administrative/duty officer to schedule a visit.


Contact: Captain: John Paul Cloutier

Established in 1947, The Bristol Rescue Squad, later changing its name to the Division of Emergency Medical Services, was formed under the Bristol Fire Department. The Division of Emergency Medical Services was formed to provide comprehensive, state of the art pre-hospital care to the sick and injured citizens of Bristol RI. With time, and advances in pre-hospital care the Division of Emergency Medical Services grew to meet the task of serving Bristol’s diverse populates of over 23,000 residents, with an increase of 2,000 – 3,000 when Roger Williams is in session. Over 125 very dedicated men and women, consisting of First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians (Basic and Cardiac’s) and Paramedics effectively respond to over 3,000 911 EMS calls, per year, for help making Bristol one of the Busiest EMS services in the state of Rhode Island. Bristol also provides its surrounding municipalities with mutual aid with help in times of need.