Needham History Center & Museum Needham History Center & Museum, Needham Massachusetts 02492

48. Old Needham Heights Fire Station

Needham had organized a force of “fire engineers” in the early 1800s to respond to fires in town, but for the most part this response was haphazard. Fires were fought with buckets of water, and the primary task was to rescue people and valuables from the burning building, since there was little chance of actually putting out a large fire.

Needham began to acquire fire engines in the 1870s – hand-pumped tankers that could bring large amounts of water to the scene. Surrounding towns also sent engines to each other when needed. In 1885, the town organized a systematic fire response, building two fire houses – Company #1 in Needham Center, and Company #2 in the Heights. A town wide alarm system and a hydrant system were installed a few years later. In August 1885, the Needham Chronicle reported: “The new tower on Engine House 2 is completed and is strong and stable, though not very ornamental, evidently built for use and not for show.” The station was in use until 1948, when a new Heights Station was built on the corner of Highland Avenue and Webster Street.

This fire station is also where Officer Frank Haddock was killed by the fleeing thieves after the Needham Trust Co. robbery in 1934. Haddock was on patrol in the Heights, and had stopped to speak with fire-fighter Timothy Coughlin (also wounded in the attack). The robbers shot them as they drove by, thinking that the two men were responding to the alarm.

Back to Map 3 – Needham Heights

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