The Board of Fire of Police

Gamache Melony Block Fire May 1908 2 (CTS Tony Clark Collection 4.1 #43) med.jpg

Melony block fire (1908) with interested spectators

In addition to the police and fire departments, there was also a group who policed the scenes of fires. As this photograph from the Meloney fire in 1908 suggests, officers were needed to prevent intrigued bystanders from hampering the firefighters' efforts.


According to The History of Windham County written in 1889, "The Board of Fire of Police was started with six members... Their duties are to protect property exposed at fires, and to keep the crowd from interfering with the firemen, and they are empowered the same as regular policemen". 

In 1910

As listed in the 1909 Willimantic Annual Report of the Mayor, the members of the 'Fire Police' as it was known at the time, were volunteers: 

  • Captain: Frank L. Williams (Connecticut-born, Age: 45, Occupation: Bookkeeper at thread mill)
  • Lieutenant: John Haran (No data)
  • Hollis H. Lyman (Connecticut-born, Age: 36, Occupation: Plumbing shop owner)
  • Walter J. Costello (Rhode Island-born, Age: 34, Occupation: Supervisor cut end at silk mill)
  • Clinton Rood (Connecticut-born, Age: 29, Occupation: Liveryman at stable)

This list was supplemented with information from the 1910 Census.

The Board of Fire of Police