History Of Flanders Fire Department
The Flanders Fire Department was organized in 1946 following a fire that occurred on Flanders Road at the old Comstock building. At the time, the Niantic Fire Department was the only department serving the East Lyme area. Due to the distance from the fire to the Niantic Fire Department, the fire was able to grow, eventually destroying most of the building before the fire department was able to arrive. It was then decided that the Flanders section of town needed its own fire protection.
The original Flanders Fire Department building was constructed at 171 Boston Post Road in 1945. The first apparatus to be housed in the station was also purchased in 1945. Due to America’s involvement in World War II, metal and supplies were scarce and the apparatus was not delivered until the following year, 1946. This apparatus was a 1946 Ahrens Fox Engine with a 500 gallon water tank. 1946 was also the year that the first full-time firefighter staffed a Flanders station.
The following three decades saw a growth in the department with the purchase of a 1958 Ford Engine with 500 gallons of water. 1970 brought Flanders its first rescue vehicle, a 1970 Econoline Van used for motor vehicle accidents and other technical types of rescues. The Flanders Fire Department was the first department in the area to receive a set of “Jaws-of-Life” tools. In 1972 a second full-time firefighter was hired in order to staff an ambulance that was purchased in 1973.
1973 was also the year that the current station was built at 151 Boston Post Road. This station was built along with the old Town Garage located on Roxbury Road and Niantic Fire Department Station #2 on West Main Street. In 1973 the new building cost $125,000. The old station located at 171 Boston Post Road became an East Lyme Arts Center before being converted to the Emergency Dispatch Center and East Lyme Fire Marshal Office in 1982. Both agencies continue to occupy the building today.
In 1986 the full-time firefighters of both the Niantic and Flanders Fire Departments joined the International Association of Fire Fighters and became the local 3377 union.
In 1987 Flanders purchased its first heavy duty rescue truck in order to improve its operations when responding to high speed motor vehicle accidents on the ever-busier Interstate 95 that runs through East Lyme. In 1989 Flanders also purchased its first aerial device, a 95-foot E-One Platform, to respond to the growing residential and commercial structures in district.
Today, the Flanders Fire Department operates out of the current station at 151 Boston Post Road. It is staffed by both full-time, part-time, and volunteers. Two engines, one rescue truck, one tower truck, one brush truck, one pick-up truck, and one ambulance are housed in the station.