After the well-known Lightning fire on April 11th, 1905, destroyed two-thirds of Salisbury’s business district, lengthy discussion went in to how to prevent this from happening again.
The Lakeville Hose Co. was officially organized on November 11th, 1905. 30 local men volunteered their time day or night to keep the town safe. The Company was led by Chairman and Chief Fred Bartholomew.
Headquarters for the organization was a small building on Main street. Their equipment inventory consisted of a hand-drawn hose cart with hose they had to manually pull to a scene, 1 truck with an axe, and a crowbar. Unfortunately, outside of the fire district, hydrants weren’t available, so they had to resort to the bucket brigade method when attacking fires.
In 1914, the Company purchased their first motorized vehicle, an REO Chemical truck. It served for many years until it was retired and given to a small community on Mt. Riga. Over the years many other trucks were purchased.
With the growth of equipment, and the addition of the Ladies Auxiliary, more space was needed. In 1934 a new brick building was built to replace the carriage house. In 1952, 16 women got together and created the Ladies Auxiliary. The first President was Lulia Curtis Berti. They provided food and refreshments to the fireman that were out fighting fires. They also helped out at fundraisers and marched in parades.
In 1976, 3 additional bays were added. Space became limited once again and in 2010 the firehouse was relocated to its current location, an old ITW building at 4 Brook Street.
The gear firemen wear has evolved from basic coats and boots to full body fire-resistant turn out gear and Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). The average cost of gear per firefighter is $12,000 today.
The first female firefighter to become a member of the Lakeville Hose Co. was Jacquie Rice, who joined September, 1991 and Brigitte Ruthman joined soon after in April, 1993. The Lakeville Hose Co. currently consists of 36 members, 6 of which are female.