The Haddam Neck Volunteer Fire Department had its first organizational meeting on September 28, 1968. Prior to this period, fire service in Haddam Neck was provided by the town of East Hampton at a cost of $600 per year. When the fee was about to be raised to $1,800 per year, community members felt that it was time to start a local fire department.
At the first organizational meeting, Hank Johnson was made Chairman and Wayne Denman, Secretary. The meeting was held at Connecticut Yankee and the Chief of the Haddam Fire Department was present and brought along our future pumper, a 1951 American Lafrance. Bill Festke volunteered to find temporary housing for this pumper. Terry Taozier headed up a committee to establish a set of By-laws.
The first training began on Sunday, October 13th, with the pumper brought over again from Haddam. Hank Johnson became the first Chief of Haddam Neck. The other officers were as follows:
- Captain - Terry Tozier
- Lieutenant - Jim Way
- Lieutenant - Jerry Sitter
- Secretary - Wayne Denman
- Treasurer - Joe Forsythe
Other Charter Members: Dan Casey, Chan Brooks, Bill Fetske, Howard Field, Rudy Metzger, Barry Hackett, Dave Pender, John Kruger, Harry Nielsen, John Andeen.
Training lasted for a for a period of 30 weeks. Most training took place in East Hampton under the instruction of Jim Kiley from the State Fire School. The pumper was brought over from Haddam and used for training during this period.
The building committee was formed in 1970 with Bill Fetske as Chairman. Bill played an important role getting things done. Land for the firehouse was generously donated by the Haddam Neck Fair Association and the building was built by the Field Company out of Essex. The cost was $68,000 was funded by the Town of Haddam and community donations.
After the firehouse was built, the pumper arrived. Prior to this, our green brush truck, donated by Ed Hajek from Haddam was stored in Sanford Brainard's barn. Our first tanker was an old kerosene truck, a 1955 International purchased for $50.00. Members rebuilt the engine while Bob Johnson painted and Hank Johnson plumbed it. A 1948 Jeep was given to us by the town of Haddam for a utility vehicle. We became a complete unit. The hard work of the Volunteers was only just beginning and has continued today.