A leading accomplishment of the postwar years was the founding of the Goshen Fire Department. Anthony Thomas, as well as some old-timers who are now gone – Stewart Mollison, Sidney Sears and Gordon Newell – should be credited for much of the pre-organizational work. These people held dances to earn money four or five years prior to the formal beginning of the Firefighter’s Association. Tom Barrus wrote the following account of its developing years in 1956 for the town’s 175th anniversary.
“The Goshen Fire Department of today is a comparatively new addition to the community. As recently as ten years ago in case of fire all help was summoned by telephone and ringing the church bell. All available equipment consisted of soda-acid fire extinguishers and whatever tools the neighbors had at hand. Today, an emergency call of almost any kind can be answered in minutes with a large variety of modern equipment. In ten years, the town has acquired an underwriters-approved pumper and two 1,000-gallon tank trucks. A portable pump, electric generator, several hand extinguishers of the latest types, protective clothing, numerous small tools and 2,300 feet of hose make up the bulk of the inventory available to fight fire. For rescue work there is an ambulance, a resuscitator and breathing apparatus for use in smoke, poison gas or underwater. A capable corps of trained volunteers, without which the equipment would be useless, stands ready to answer every call.”
“A fire station which seemed almost too big when built, and which five years ago was ample, is now inadequate to house all the vehicles. The meeting room and other facilities upstairs provide suitable quarters for various activities of the firefighters and will be convenient for part-time or constant manning of the department if desired. Topped by a siren audible in nearly all parts of the town, the whole department offers protection to all and reduced insurance premiums to nearly every resident.”
“How did we do it in less than ten years and with comparatively few dollars from the town treasury? It is the result of much hard work and individual abilities freely given by a group whose single-minded purpose has been to set up and then constantly to improve our Fire Department. Voluntary donations of every description range all the way from land and building materials use of tools and equipment, to countless hours of labor for raising money and construction, and knowledge and talents contributed whenever the need appeared. We have tried to keep it strictly voluntary; no one is expected to do more than his interest and abilities direct him. No one received pay for firefighting or other emergency service. “Countless hours of labor” means exactly that. Everyone has always been so busy that no timekeeper kept records; even our financial records are sketchy, especially in the early days, and we are not sure just how many thousands of dollars the volunteers have raised for the department. Credit for a big job well done is not given by citation but only by the visible results. We haven’t worked entirely without compensation, however; some fun or pleasure automatically appears in nearly every task. We welcome new members who wants to join the fun by working. There will still be plenty for everyone. In September 1949 the house and barn owned by Henry Richardson burned to the ground. Two days later our first fire truck was driven into town. Since that day, any fire, if discovered in time, has been stopped. We know that all our efforts to make and continue such a record must be worthwhile”
Below is a chronological history of the Goshen Fire Department . The original version was compiled by Paul Webb, which took us to 1993. A continuation to the present and additions to the past compiled by Kim Dresser.
1945 – Several men informally form an association to start a fire department in Goshen. They were Stewart Mollison, Gordon Newell, Sidney Sears and Anthony Thomas Sr. They held dances to raise money to fund this monumental project.
1946 – Thomas Barrus was appointed Forest Warden by the Town. Construction was stated on a number of “water holes” around town. The town voted funds to provide each homeowner with a fire extinguisher (soda/acid type).
1947 – Taken from the Town Clerks’ records of the Annual Town Meeting: Article 11 – the Town voted to accept the provisions of MGL Chapter 48,sections 42 and 43. (This allowed the town to create and fund the position of Fire Chief. The Town appointed Thomas Barrus as Fire Chief and Forest Warden.
1948 – The Town voted $250.00 as the Forest Wardens Budget.
1949 – The Town and the association purchase a used 1937 Dodge 500 gpm pumper from Maynard, MA. It arrived in town the day after Henry Richardsons’ barn was destroyed by fire in September. NOTE: Quite possibly this was actually a late 1935 truck that was converted to a fire truck and sold as such in 1937. The truck was housed at Brooks’ Garage until the firehouse was completed.
Construction of the firehouse was begun in the spring on land donated by Otis and Marguerite Webb. Taken from the Town Clerks’ records of a Special Town Meeting held on November 4, 1949 – It was voted to accept the gift of land from Otis and Marguerite Webb for the Fire Department. (We were building the station before the Town officially accepted the land.)
NOTE : Taken from the Town Clerks’ records of the Annual Town Meeting: Article 10 – Voted to appropriate $2,000.00 to purchase firefighting equipment subject to the approval of the volunteer firemen and also the approval of Cheney Hathaway, Fire Chief of Williamsburg, and if not expended to be held in reserve for purchase of equipment in the future – ALSO under Article 10 – It was voted that the location of the building for housing firefighting equipment be left to the Fire Chief and volunteer firemen.
1950 – The Goshen Firefighters Association was formally organized. The firehouse was completed. The firefighters constructed the first Tanker on a GMC chassis. It held 1,000 gallons. The first annual report was made to the town. The costs up to now for a truck, equipment and the firehouse were $6,241.06.
1951 – Francis Dresser was appointed Fire Chief. The first fundraiser show ” The Big Baby Revue” was staged. A 5hp Siren was mounted atop the firehouse to sound the alarm. It could be heard all over town. Firefighting classes were held. The instructor was Fire Chief Charles Martin of Northampton who happened to have a cottage on Highland Lake. The New England Fire Insurance Rating Board rates the GFD and we pass. Town Meeting sets the Fire Department budget at $1,500.00.
1952 – The Firefighters Association purchased a 1200 watt generator and lights. The FIRST request for a hydrant at Lower Highland Lake was submitted to the State.
1953 – The Richmond family donates a slate bed billiards table for the fire station recreation room. It is still in use today.
1954 – The Town reduces the budget for the fire department to $1,200.00.
1955 – The Firefighters purchase a “leftover” new 1954 6400 series Chevrolet chassis and construct a 1000 gallon tanker body on it. A resuscitator was also purchased.
1956 – The Firefighters purchase a used ambulance from the Shelburne Falls Water District for under $300.00. The “Green Beetle”, a 1947 Packard, started us on the EMS road. In order to put the ambulance in the firehouse the center posts were removed and a steel carrier beam inserted. Hilltown Mutual Aid was formed. The Firefighters Association sponsor a Little League baseball team.
1958 – The Firefighters Association begins construction of an addition to firehouse to better house the ambulance . Hampshire County Mutual Aid was formed with its main goal to improve radio communications.
1959 – The firehouse addition is completed. The Blackhawk Rescue Tool was purchased.
1960 – The Town votes to purchase its first New Pumper, a 1960 American LaFrance 1000 GPM custom for $19,000.00. The Firefighters donate an additional $1,000.00 of additional equipment to the truck. The County Radio System begins to take shape. Civil Defense funds are used to add 2-way radios to the new pumper and the Chevy Tanker. Civil Defense funds also purchased a 10kw Onan generator for emergency power for the firehouse (this unit was in service until 2018).
1961 – The “Green Beetle” replaced with a second hand Packard from Newell Funeral and Ambulance Service of Northampton. It was called the “Tan Packard”.
1962 – The Last Minstrel Show was held ending over a decade of hard work and fun fundraising.
1963 – The Firefighters Association purchased a second hand 1960 Ford C800 cabover and constructed a 1,500 gallon tanker body on it. It replaced the original GMC tanker. Foam equipment was added to the pumper and the ambulance received its first radio.
1964 – An oxygen bank of four tanks was purchased allowing local refilling of small O2 tanks. Ambulance coverage was extended to Williamsburg and Chesterfield on a fee for call basis.
1968 – A radio was installed in the 1960 Ford tanker.
1970 – Hampshire County Mutual Aid, which had been dormant for several years, is reactivated.
1971 – With Highway Safety matching funds the GFD purchases its first New ambulance, a 1972 GMC Suburban for a cost of $6,893.00.
1972 – The State installs a hydrant on the dam of Lower Highland Lake. Our original request was submitted in 1952 — All good things take time!
1973 – A portable pump was purchased. The State mandates Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training (Goshen ambulance personnel all had Red Cross Advanced First Aid Training). They also mandate that all ambulances meet KKK specifications making our brand new ambulance obsolete. The Town switches our budgets to Federal Revenue Sharing Funds.
1974 – The fire house was broken into and the ambulance was ransacked. The 2-way radio was stolen along with some minor equipment. This predicated the official start of subsidy budgets from Williamsburg and Chesterfield in exchange for free service for residents making ours a truly regional service.
1975 – Hampshire County Fire Defense was formed – a reorganization of the old Mutual Aid group.
1976 – The cinderblock firehouse is deteriorating and we have outgrown it. We apply for a Federal Grant for a new building (first try).
1978 – Hampshire County Fire School was started. The Firefighters Association purchases a 1978 Yankee Coach Lexington Class 1 rescue ambulance for a cost of $35,000.00 . The first Ambulance Dinner Dance fundraiser was held .
1979 – A successful fundraising drive was held to purchase a Lukas “Jaws of Life” unit for the Ambulance (over $10,000.00). The GFD purchased Nomex turnout gear for the firefighters. The Town forms a firehouse study committee. The GFD acquires a 1969 5/4 ton 4wd Kaiser Jeep from military surplus which will be converted to a brush truck . The first separate report of the Ambulance service appears in the Annual Town Report. This report is also sent to Williamsburg and Chesterfield.
1980 – Hampshire County Medical Radio is in service giving us direct ambulance to hospital communications. The Firefighters added six inch quick dump valves to both tankers. Two SCBA units were purchased. The Town appoints a committee to write specifications for a new Pumper.
1981 – Goshen Bicentennial Celebration – Chief Dresser serves as Grand Marshal of the parade. The GFD coordinates emergency services for all events including the parade which drew a crowd of 25,000 spectators. All personnel are equipped with tone alert pagers. Hampshire County EMS was formed. John Macrae, head of the Fire station building needs committee, passes unexpectedly.
1982 – The Firefighters Association purchases a smoke ejector and chain saw for building ventilation. Radios in the Pumper and 1960 Ford tanker are replaced. EMT-Intermediate training starts. The Town accepts section 26F – the State smoke detector law.
1983 – The Firefighters Association purchases a 1975 Ford cabover to be made into a tanker to replace the aging 1954 Chevy. The Second floor of the fire station is condemned. The Town votes $100,000.00 to purchase a new Pumper. The Ambulance service receives an ALS-Intermediate license.
1984 – Chief Dresser serves on a steering committee that successfully returns the use of MAST trousers to the EMT-Basic level. A portable repeater radio was added to the Ambulance. Wood columns were installed to bolster the steel beam in the station. The county replaced the 75 foot tower with a 140 foot freestanding tower. GFD responds Mutual Aid to Northampton for the Hampshire Lumber Company fire.
1985 – The GFD Ambulance Service hosts a continuing education lecture series by Dr. George Deering our EMS Physician Co-coordinator. The new Pumper was delivered in late July, a 1985 Pierce 1250 GPM on a Ford Chassis with a 1,000 gallon water tank. The Firefighters purchase a station air compressor to keep the brakes charged on the new truck. They also purchase the emergency lights and siren for it. Chief Dresser receives the Mass Municipal Association Special Employee Award.
1986 – Ambulance service is 30 years old.
1987 – The Firefighters Association purchases our first computer to help keep up with State mandated reports for both fire and EMS. On the evening of December 22nd, a fire was discovered at the Brooks house which fronted on Aberdeen Road, a private unplowed road. When it was discovered it had already breached the roof. However, GFD with mutual aide assistance saved the bedrooms and kitchen area. This house was famous as the house that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton stayed in while filming “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe”. Unfortunately, even after our efforts the insurance company deemed it non repairable and had it raised.
1988 – The new firehouse is finally under construction however it won’t be ready for total occupancy until early 1989. The Firefighters Association orders a new Class-1 rescue/ambulance. On the evening of March 26th Mike and Ruth Szabo discovered a fire behind the stove in a recently remodeled room of their 1800’s farmhouse. It was bitterly cold that evening and GFD with mutual aid assistance was successful in stopping the fire and saving the structure. During overhaul, several pairs of gloves had to be pried from the ladder that they had frozen to.
1989 – Town funds for construction of the new station have run out. The Firefighters Association will complete the interior as funds allow. Hampshire County Fire Defense Association is using our station to work on a Mobile Air Supply truck for the county. When it is completed, it will be housed here and staffed by GFD. We take delivery of a 1989 Ford/Yankee Coach Lexington rescue/ambulance. Once again this $ 72,000.00 unit was purchased with donated and raised funds. The funds collected also provided for the refurbishment of the 1978 ambulance and the purchase of 3 semi-automatic defibrillators and 10 multi channel portable radios. Southern New England Telephone begins construction of a cellular phone tower on our site. Northampton Ambulance starts the Critical Response Intervention Team (CRIT) giving us access to Paramedics when needed.
1990 – The GFD answers 42 calls this year – our highest number to date. The new station is used by the Town as a polling place for the first time. Upgrades of equipment and gear are started in order to comply with NFPA 1500 standards. The refurbishment of the 1978 ambulance is completed allowing us to retire the 1972 GMC that the State said was obsolete in 1973. SNET erects a 180 foot tower and removes the old 140 foot tower. The Firefighters Association in conjunction with the Goshen Police Association sponsors the first Pig-nic fundraiser. This event runs again in 1991 and 1992.
1991 – Cellular telephones were added to both ambulances (first generation, they were huge). A camcorder was purchased to record training classes. Hampshire County Mobile Air Supply responds to eleven incidents. GFD takes over the street numbering project for Enhanced 911 dispatching system. On January 31st, GFD with mutual aid assistance fought a blaze in the house on the corner of South Main Street and South Chesterfield Road. This was one of the original schoolhouses in Goshen. Unfortunately, the damage was to severe to restore and the structure was raised.
1992 – Hepatitis-B vaccine is given to all personnel per OSHA mandate. The Old firehouse is demolished courtesy of the Army National Guard. H.A. George & Sons Fuel donates a portable deluge set which has been mounted on the 1985 Pumper. The Firefighters purchased electric door openers for the fire station bay doors.
1993 – Enhanced 911 street numbering project is completed and the Town adopts its usage which will end 40 years of a local Red Phone system when it starts operation. Local artist Eugene “Hap” Briere, who designed our GFD patch, paints an eight foot replica of it for the front of the station. The Firefighters receive a donation from Edwin Buckhout to complete the American Flag project on Main Street. Several years before we started putting Flags up for holidays, an ongoing tradition.
1994 – E-911 starts operation. We are now dispatched from the State Police facility in Northampton. Sadly, Celia Thomas, long time EMT and devoted fundraiser for both Fire and EMS passes. A Memorial Fund is established in her memory.
1995 – In February there was a structure fire in an old farmhouse, an excellent save, in an old refrigerator on the second floor firefighters discovered 150 pounds of 30 year old dynamite! Fire watch was posted overnight and the next day the State Police Bomb Squad removed and disposed of it. On June 11 the new firehouse was officially dedicated in memory of John Macrae who had devoted countless hours, first in grant writing then on the building committee to get a new station constructed (see copy of dedication program). We received a 1980 2000 gallon stainless steel jet fuel truck from Navy surplus and the firefighters are reconditioning it to serve as a water tanker.
1996 – The GFD starts the process to become licensed at the Paramedic level. A Pediatric backboard and car seat were added to the Ambulance along with a windshield saw. The firefighters purchased audio-video equipment for training, a multi-gas detector, new pagers and a new computer. We purchase 5 portable radios, we repeat this for the next two years for a total of 15.
1997 – The Department was saddened this year by the passing of Captain/EMT Raymond Morin after a long illness and the passing of Anthony “Tony” Thomas Sr., one of the Founders of the GFD. We received a grant to install “dry” hydrants at both ends of Hammond Pond and on East Street at the Mill River Bridge. We also receive the first “SAFE” (Student Awareness of Fire Education) Grant and have established this program in our elementary school. The Ambulance received a Paramedic Level License in late fall and will start providing this level in January of ’98. We are the only ALL Volunteer service in the Commonwealth licensed at the Paramedic Level! An unexpected highlight occurred in October when the Ambulance was requested to cover the filming of a stunt for the movie “IN DREAMS” starring Annette Benning. The tractor trailer accident stunt was performed on Rt 143 at night. Two of our EMTs, Kenneth Whitten and Elizabeth Bell-Perkins will actually appear in the movie as the director thought they were more realistic looking medical personnel than the actors on the set.
1998 – Firefighters pay half of the cost of adding an air-conditioning system to the Ambulance supply room and the Chiefs’ office. GFD personnel man the Hampshire County “SAFE” trailer at the Williamsburg Fire Department 150th Anniversary celebration and at the Cummington Fair. All 2 1/2 inch supply hose is replaced with 3 and 4 inch hose. The Firefighters purchase two Pulse oximeters for the ambulances.
1999 – Firefighter Susan Labrie is placed in charge of the SAFE program. All supply hose on E1 is upgraded to 4 inch LDH. GFD participates in the brush fire task force that was mobilized to fight the Montgomery mountain fire. GFD sends a contingent to the service for our fallen brothers in Worcester, MA. The Town establishes an Enterprise Fund for the Ambulance and starts billing insurance companies for service.
2000 – The driveway and parking lot are finally paved! We receive a grant to purchase our first Thermal Imager. A concrete pad for conducting auto extrication drills was completed and the firefighters construct a fence to block the area from street view. We receive amgovernment surplus 5/4 ton pick-up and start to convert it to a Brush truck. A new 2100 gallon folding tank was purchased and a special bracket was constructed to carry it on the Tanker. The Firefighters Association purchases a new computer and two portable radios.
2001 – A new rescue / ambulance was delivered, again purchased from fund drive donations, at a cost of $125,500.00. The 1989 unit was refurbished and a LifePac 12 defibrillator was purchased. Our “new” Brush truck was completed and placed in service. We receive a grant to purchase an industrial washing machine to launder turnout gear. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York City on 9/11, Massachusetts activates and places all structure fire Task Forces on standby to assist if needed. As a member of our regional Task Force the GFD stands ready to respond.
2002 – The Massachusetts Fire Academy offers Firefighter 1 certification classes in Western Mass for the first time! GFD sends six to the classes. We purchase a new computer and software mandated by the State Fire Marshal’s office. The GFD Chief and the directors of the Cummington and Ashfield ambulance services get together to investigate methods to insure daytime coverage for our area. We purchase aluminum storage boxes, three Indian tanks and a winch for the Brush truck.
2003 – For her dedication and her excellent management of our “SAFE” program, firefighter Susan Labrie was promoted to Lieutenant. The Firefighters purchase a new TV/VCR/DVD for use in training. The Firefighters accept the gift of a 1988 Jaguar XJS V12 to be raffled off for EMS funds. A fire alarm system was installed in the Fire station.
2004 – The discussions started in 2002 in regards to daytime ambulance coverage result in the three services combining to form a non-profit corporation known as Highland Ambulance EMS Inc. Highland becomes the designated EMS service for Goshen, Chesterfield, Williamsburg, Cummington, Plainfield and Ashfield. They will have Paramedics on duty from 6 AM until Midnight. For the immediate future they will be based in our Fire station. They take over operation as of July 1st. The GFD relicensed our 1978 ambulance to serve as a back-up for them.
An article at Town Meeting to provide our volunteers with a tax abatement is defeated. However, the Town votes to accept sections of Mass General Law that allow (1) Firefighters to participate in the towns health insurance policy, (2) to provide a pension for a Firefighter disabled in the line of duty, (3) provide $5,000.00 for funeral expenses of a firefighter killed in the line of duty. Our water supply has been contaminated with a high Sodium content so the Firefighters Association purchases a drinking water cooler and Highland EMS contracts for the water for it.
2005 – The Firefighters Association paid half the cost ($3,500) of a glass wall erected on the mezzanine area of the station to keep diesel fumes from the apparatus out of it. We receive a grant to install a Plymovent engine exhaust system on two bays. The Firefighters Association modifies the air conditioning system to cover all of the second floor. We respond Mutual Aid to Northampton, initially to cover the Florence Fire Station, then to the scene of a Structure fire on Round Hill. GFD laid 1,000 feet of 4 inch LDH hose down Elm Street to access a hydrant on a 30 inch main. We supplied a South Hadley engine which was supplying the Amherst Aerial platform. Calculation done after the incident confirm that we were flowing in excess of 1,100 gallons / minute for about four hours.
2006 – Chief Francis S. Dresser announces his retirement after serving the Department since 1947; 56 years as Chief. The Town appoints Susan M. Labrie as Chief making her the FIRST female Fire Chief in the Commonwealth’s history! We receive a grant to purchase a new Lukas “jaws” extrication device system. The Firefighters Association purchases a push-button combination lock for the Station entrance. The “SAFE” program is 10 years old. We launch our web site (www.goshenmafire.com). We mourn the sudden passing of long time firefighter Allen Beals. Goshen celebrates our 225th anniversary. The GFD and Highland EMS provide coverage for a number of events. In addition, the Firefighters Association sponsors the Holyoke Caledonian Pipe Band to perform in the parade. The Firefighters Association purchases a new stretcher for Highland EMS. Hampshire County Fire Defense and Western Mass EMS host a retirement party for Retired Chief Dresser at the Elks Club in Florence, MA.
2007 – The GFD answers 96 calls, the most in a year to date. At a Special Town meeting the town votes to purchase a new vehicle for the Chief. Previously the Firefighters Association had purchased and refurbished used police cruisers for the Chief. At Town meeting, the Town votes to (1) replace the 1960 American LaFrance pumper, (2) to adopt a Firefighters incentive program -but not to fund it yet, and (3) to accept an article to encourage and regulate “Knox Box” usage. This is a BIG grant year. We receive an Homeland Security Grant to purchase a new pumper, $308,750; the Town provides $70,000 to complete the purchase. We receive an assistance to Firefighters grant for $25,460 to complete the Plymovent exhaust system for all bays. We receive two CEDAP grants – one for $11,000 to purchase five multi-gas detection meters and send personnel to Houston, Texas for training in their use (while there a tornado came dangerously close to their hotel!). The second was for $15,000 for “Stedi-eye Binoculars” for use in HazMat and rescue incidents. We receive a $7,500 grant from the University of Nevada Fire Science Academy to send three personnel to a class on Flammable Gas and Terrorism. We receive a grant from the State to purchase a Positive Pressure Ventilation Fan and a portable generator to run it. Lastly, we receive a donation from a resident of $5,300 to purchase two ice/cold water rescue suits and one Rapid Deployment Inflatable Boat. The Firefighters Association purchases a set of chains and shackles specifically made for the Lukas “Jaws” System. Captain Anthony Thomas Jr. retires, his expertise will be missed.
2008 – At Town meeting, the Town votes to sell the firefighters the 1960 LaFrance pumper for one dollar. We keep the bell and sell the truck to a Fire Apparatus Collector. The GFD starts a Junior firefighters program for teens 14 to 18 years old. The new Pumper, 56-E-2 arrives in late fall. It is a Darley on a Spartan 6 man cab chassis, 1,500 GPM pump with a compressed air foam system (CAFS) and a 1,200 gallon polypropylene tank and body. It will be placed in service after training on it is completed. The Bell off the 1960 LaFrance is mounted on the new pumper. The Firefighters Association covers the cost to have the GFD patch logo applied to E2. December 11/12 sees a severe ice storm strikes western Mass. Some areas of Town are without electricity for 4 days. The GFD and Highland EMS perform wellness checks on ALL elderly residents throughout this emergency.
2009 – 56-E-2 is placed in service in January. At Town meeting, the Town votes to fund the Firefighters Incentive Program. The GFD received an Assistance to Firefighters grant of $64,978 to purchase equipment for the new pumper. The Firefighters Association received a grant from Pittsfield Generator for a K-12 ventilation fan and from the IW Foundation for two Honda 2000 watt generators with lights. A “Brick Wall Circuit” was installed to protect the computer in E2. The Firefighters Association purchases a back-up camera for E1. The Firefighters Association purchases a CPAP machine and a back-up camera for Highland EMS. In April, the GFD held an open house and Wet Down ceremony to welcome E2.
2010 – Entered the world of social media with the creation of the GFA Facebook page.
2011 – In February the GFD was saddened by the unexpected passing of Captain Steve Mollison who had been on the department for 47 years. A Memorial Fund was established in his honor. The GFD receives an Assistance to Firefighters grant to purchase a new Thermal Imager. We also receive a Volunteer Fire Assistance grant for $1500.00 towards the purchase of a Floating Portable Pump. The Firefighters Association pays the balance of the cost, $1630.00. Weather was the big story this year. On August 28 the GFD became the Emergency Operations Center for the duration of Hurricane Irene. We provided Elderly wellness checks, Dam and Bridge monitoring. We rescued five residents over a flooded road. The Highlight of this was the rescue of the “Irene 6”. Someone found a cardboard box floating in the Big-Y parking lot in Northampton and brought it to a friend in Goshen . Inside were six probably 2-3 day old kittens. They landed at the GFD OPs Center where Paramedics and Firefighters devised equipment to feed them and warm them until Animal control could get them to veterinary care. Their story was on Facebook and made National news! On October 29, when the report was for possibly 2-4 inches of snow ,we received THIRTY inches so again we were the Emergency Operations Center. The Firefighters Association receives a donation from a citizen to purchase High Illumination Helmet Lights for all Firefighters.
2012: The FCC requires ALL two-way radios to be “narrow banded”. The Town votes to replace any that are too old to accept this process, From government surplus property the GFD gets a 1995 KME pumper with a 1250 gpm pump,750 gallon tank and electric ladder rack. This truck was the structure fire apparatus at Westover Air Force Base. The Town votes $25,000.00 to refurbish this truck. We decide to keep its designation as E7. The Firefighters receive a grant from the Mass Call/Volunteer Firefighters Association to purchase a new Stokes Rescue Basket. The Firefighters receive a Private Donation of $5,000 to purchase Low Angle Rescue equipment. We also receive another Private Donation of $4,000 to purchase Reflective Response Jackets. The Firefighters Association has an aluminum sign of our patch logo made to replace the original wooden one that has been repainted 3 times. We also purchase a new portable suction unit for Rescue 1.
2013: At Town meeting the Town votes to sell the 1937 Dodge Fire Truck to the Firefighters Association for ONE dollar. Semi-automatic defibrillator units are purchased for E2 and R1. The Firefighters purchase a small trailer to be pulled by the “Qaud” for the floating pump. We purchase a back-up camera for E7. We purchase a used 16 ft tandem axle cargo trailer to haul the “Quad”, its trailer and the low angle rescue gear. We donate a CPAP machine to Highland Ambulance.
2014: At Town meeting the Firefighters Association receives a grant from the Community Preservation Funds to start restoration of the 1937 Dodge Pumper. 1812 Auto Body of Florence, Ma. offers to do the work at cost. The Department mourns the passing of Retired Chief Francis Dresser. The Firefighters and Police Associations provide the food for the memorial service. Monica Neveu was promoted to the rank of Captain. Jon Schwaiger was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.
2015: At Town meeting the Town votes $10,200.00 to replace outdated SCBA cylinders. The Firefighters Association donates an intravenous solutions warmer to Highland EMS.
2016: On July 17th, Highland Ambulance dedicated their new headquarters building on Williams Drive. With Highland moving to their new building the GFD gained two bays on the apparatus floor but we lost having the building occupied 24/7 which greatly reduced the problems associated with an unmanned building. In the early spring Goshen had a severe weather event which generated approximately a 100 mph wind sheer. Our station was in the path and the wind tore our logo sign off the building and folded it in half! The Firefighters Association had another sign made and remounted it on the building. Highland EMS purchased new carpet for our meeting room which was worn out due to their 24/7 use of the area. The Firefighters Association installed it. The Firefighters Association purchased large flat screen monitors for the training and recreation rooms.
2017: The GFD receives an Assistance to Firefighters Grant for $17,143 to purchase a turnout gear washing machine and a gear drying cabinet. The SAFE program is in its’ 21st year of operation. We have now trained a generation in fire safety. Since the inception of SAFE Massachusetts has seen a marked decrease in fire related deaths and losses. The Firefighters Association purchases job shirts and jackets for all GFD personnel. The Goshen and Chesterfield Firefighters Associations join with the Hammond Acres Club to purchase a semi-automatic defibrillation unit for New Hingham Regional Elementary School.
2018: The Firefighters Association purchase a treadmill and weight bench for the upstairs recreation room.
2019: The Town votes to replace Car 1 and Brush 1. The new Car 1 is a Toyota Tundra extended cab with a slide out tray/storage bin in the bed. Brush 1 is a Ford F450 dual wheel extended cab with a custom flat bed with cabinets. The GFD receives a grant for a portion of the tank/pump skid unit for Brush 1. The Firefighters provide the $2000 match for this grant. Williamsburg Fire Department sponsors a 5K run for charity. The team from GFD brings home the trophy!
2020: The Covid 19 Pandemic hits. Following CDC and State guidelines, most department activities are curtailed while we try to stay safe. Three town drills are put on hold as are many in house trainings and Firefighters Association meetings. We do receive from government surplus a Kawasaki side by side mule. It required some major repair work to make it operational. It is being equipped as a wildlands fire unit AND rescue unit. In July, the Firefighters Association committed $6000 dollars to be added to Town funds to purchase a new cargo trailer with headroom to accept the mule unit. It was supposed to be delivered in 12 weeks however due to COVID shutting down the factory it probably won’t be until 2021. Cam Lacey and Steve Estelle are promoted as Lieutenants.
2021: After 15 years of leadership, Chief Susan Labrie retired from the department. Captain Bob Labrie retired as well. After a hiring process, Cam Lacey was appointed Chief of Goshen Fire. At ATM the town voted a sum of $8600 to purchase a used ambulance from Highland Ambulance as a replacement for Rescue 1 2002. The association then dedicated $5000 to refit the new Rescue 1.
2022: With support of the Hampshire County Fire Chiefs, the first class of RIT or Rapid Intervention Team, graduated. 3 Goshen Firefighters were part of the class. Jon Schwaiger was promoted to Captain and Jake Lulek was promoted to Lieutenant.
2023: At the annual town meeting, the residents committed $8000 towards replacing turnout boots, helmets and gear. The voters also approved borrowing up to $470000 for the purchase of a tanker pumper apparatus to replace Engine 7. After 56 years of Service, Deputy Chief Kim Dresser retires and joins the department auxiliary membership. Jon Schwaiger was promoted to Assistant Chief. Thanks to a grant from Florence Bank the department purchased a set vehicle extrication struts for car accidents.