On September 6 & 7, 1980, a second large tire fire off of Braley Road required assistance from nine towns. Also in 1980, an army surplus Jeep is converted into a forestry unit to combat brush fires. Another surplus Army truck, a yellow tanker nicknamed the “Banana”, was decommissioned due to mechanical failure.
In 1983 the 1960 Rescue truck at Station 1 was replaced with a 1000 gpm 4X4 Rescue Pumper. Also a government surplus 1969 dump truck was converted by department personnel into a Brush Breaker to fight brush fires. This unit was placed in service at Station 2. The 1950 Ford was disposed of.
The year 1984 brought advanced life support to the citizens of Freetown, with the first group of department members certified to the level of Emergency Medical Technician – Intermediate. On September 27-28, 1985, Hurricane Gloria hit, forcing the evacuation of Station 1 due to flooding in the Village.
1986 was a busy year for the Fire Department, with the appointment of an additional fulltime member. This now brought the total to five full time firefighters and the Chief. At this time the need for more specialized training for Freetown Firefighters came to the forefront as all firefighters receive the first in a long line of Hazardous Materials Training. All members were outfitted with new bunker gear to meet with current standards for firefighter safety. Also, the department accepted delivery of a new Ford Class 1 Ambulance in February. The 1970 Oldsmobile was retired from service. The Fire Department now operated two Class 1 Ambulances, In April of that year, a new Ford 1250 GPM Pumper was placed in service at Station 2. The Selectmen approved the opening of an office on the second floor of the town hall for the Fire Chief due to expanding administrative duties needed to operate the department.
In 1988 by order of House Bill 5395 signed by the Governor on June 1, the Route 140 overpass on Chace Road was dedicated as the Freetown Firefighters Memorial Bridge. Also in this year the full time members unionize as members of IAFF Local 3213.
In 1989, a new addition is put on Station 2 to house the Ladder Truck and to add much needed space for training. August 23, 1989, was a sad day for the Freetown Fire Department. Chief Allan Whitcomb died from a heart attack while preparing for the annual Fireman’s Clambake.
Other memorable fires in the 80’s included a sizeable fire at Assonet Industries located on Mill Street in Assonet which required Mutual Aid from most of the fire departments in South Eastern Massachusetts. A large forest fire in the Freetown / Fall River State Forest kept firefighters on scene for more than a week. Firefighters also fought two additional tire fires off of Braley Road during this period. The Fire Department provided assistance to the City of Fall River for conflagrations at the Notre Dame de Lourdes Church and the Kerr Mill complex.
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