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Gene Doherty, Fire Chief
Revere Fire Department - 400 Broadway - Revere MA. - 02151
The mission of the fire department is to provide high quality emergency and life safety services within the confines of the City of Revere, by maintaining a specialized expertise in and placing highest priority on emergency response to all life safety situations, as well as proactive customer safety services.
The Revere Fire Department was formally organized in 1885. Milton Ray became the first Chief and a Board of Fire Engineers was appointed. In its first year, the Revere Fire Department responded to seven fires, with a total loss of $14,289. Apparatus consisted of a hook and ladder and hose carriage which were pulled by hand. In 1885, a station was built at Park Avenue and Broadway, and in 1886, stations were built in Beachmont and Crescent Beach. In 1886, horses were first used to pull the hook and ladder. The Revere Fire Department had a total compliment of sixty-three men in 1897, including the Chief, two Assistants, four permanent members and fifty-six call men. During this period, several fires along the beach occurred including the Old Cove House, the Robinson Carusoe, and the Strathmore Hotel.
The station currently on Winthrop Avenue in Beachmont was built in 1905 for $10,500. The Walden Street station was build in 1907 for $25,000, and the Central Fire Station was completed in 1912 for $40,000. The waterfront portion of the city called Revere Beach was internationally known at the turn of the century for its luxurious hotels, beautiful oceanfront and spectacular attractions. Early on, Revere firefighters became veterans combatting the grand and spectacular fires which occurred along the beach, a trend which continued over the years up until the 1970s. Open to the ocean and usually fanned by "stiff" onshore breezes, the Revere Beach fires became almost as renowned and famous as the beach itself.
Organization of the Fire Department moved swiftly and Revere was one of the first Massachusetts communities to become fully motorized by 1917. During the same year, the station at Freeman Street was built for $17,300.
In 1924, the city entered into a mutual aid agreement with Everett and Chelsea. On 4th alarms, aid was received and given to Boston, Winthrop, Saugus, and Lynn, even though no formal agreement was in effect with these communities. Large fires continued to occur along the beach, and in 1938 a station was built in Point of Pines, the last and newest of Revere's five stations. On June 25, 1947, Revere voters voted 5 to 1 to reduce the work week to 48 hours, and the department increased in size from 73 members to 109 members. In 1949, fire alarm headquarters was constructed at Central Station. At the time, it was one of the most modern and advanced alarm systems in the nation. Other major advances in technology included 2-way radio communications, portable and self-contained breathing apparatus. The Revere Fire Department entered the 1980's with a uniform force of 144 officers and men operating five pumps and two ladder trucks out of five stations. Under the constraints of proposition 2 1/2, difficult financial times and reduction in federal and state aid, the Revere Fire Department has been decimated to 103 uniformed personnel operating three pumps and two ladders out of three fire stations.
In 1949, the Revere Fire Department appointed its first Fire Prevention Inspector. Captain Mastronardi succeeded in reducing the fire loss in the city, his first year on the job. During the 1970's, Revere as well as many other communities in the northeast, were experiencing frequent large loss suspicious fires. Insurance companies were quick in paying claims and the fires continued. Cities and towns suffered loss of tax base and worse yet, many citizens were becoming fatalities. Additionally, firefighters were suffering injuries further compounding a difficult and complex problem. In the 1980's, an aggressive Fire Prevention and investigation effort began to diminish the fire problem. Lawmakers passed legislation mandating smoke detectors, sprinklers and other technology to prevent and provide early detection of fires. Aggressive investigation of suspicious fires resulted in convictions and insurance companies began to cooperate with fire investigations to stop payment on arson related claims and fraud.
Revere Fire, under the direction of Chief Connery, was especially aggressive and effective in investigation and prosecution of arson related fires. Investigation and fire prevention efforts succeeded in dramatically reducing the occurrence of hostile and suspicious fires in the City of Revere. Today, Revere is experiencing only 100 to 125 structural fires per year, with only 20 to 25 resulting in losses in excess of $10,000.
The Revere Fire Department currently responds to approximately 6,000 incidents per year. Nearly half are for medical emergencies. Many others are for motor vehicle accidents, and other calls for emergency assistance. The role of the fire department has changed dramatically from strictly fire fighting to more of emergency services.
As the fire service moves into the 21st century, fires will still occur and need to be extinguished. Increased use and transportation of highly flammable fuels, chemicals, and other hazardous materials perpetuates the need to be adequately equipped, staffed, and trained to mitigate the possible disastrous effects of accidents and fires involving these type of materials.