Along the Stepney Heritage Trail

Heritage Trail Guide

Stop #17 - The Stepney Fire House #1 (c.1916)

Stepney Volunteer Fire House #1 - 1916
The Stepney Fire House #1 built in 1916 with the first fire truck. The “Karnival” sign can be seen announcing the annual fireman’s carnival. Young and old alike eagerly anticipated this event. In the background, volunteers are erecting booths for the event, which included a wooden dance floor, a popular attraction at early carnivals. (Photo courtesy of: Images of America - Monroe, Monroe Historical Society, 1998, Arcadia Publishing.)

As you leave the Stepney Green and travel south on Main Street, located at 88 Main Street, is the Stepney Volunteer Fire House #1.  In 1916, 45 men and women formed the Stepney Volunteer Fire Company.  It was the first volunteer fire company in Monroe.  That same year the Stepney Company built its own firehouse.  It housed the group’s first fire truck, purchased as used equipment from a Bridgeport fire-fighting company, with money raised by holding annual “Karnivals” behind the firehouse.

Stepney Volunteer Fire Company 1967
The Stepney Volunteer Firemen in 1967. The Dalmatian dogs of fireman Bob Lederer shown here were a signature attraction to the group. William Heimstra, was the department dog handler. Mr. Heimstra is the father of Stepney resident Mary Orsellio. (Photo courtesy of: Images of America - Monroe, Monroe Historical Society, 1998, Arcadia Publishing.)

The original building, expanded and updated, continues to serve as headquarters for the oldest of the three volunteer fire companies in Monroe that include Stevenson and Monroe Volunteer Fire Companies.  The Stepney Fire Company is located approximately 10 miles north of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The response area consists of 26 square miles and a population of over 20,000.  The Company operates from two stations using four engines, a truck, a heavy rescue, a squad and a chief’s vehicle.  Stepney Fire House #1 includes Engine 101, Truck 100, Rescue 120 and Squad 130.  The fire company’s primary coverage area includes the Stepney, Stevenson and Monroe Center sections of Monroe.  The company also provides coverage to the Towns of Trumbull, Easton, Newtown and Shelton on a mutual aide basis.  The Stepney Volunteer Fire Company is dedicated to protecting the lives and property of the residents of the Town of Monroe and is under the direction of a single Fire Chief.  According to the company’s website ( ) the firemen responded to 485 calls in 2005.

Stepney Volunteer Fire House #1 - 2005
The Stepney Volunteer Fire House #1 as it is appears today. The firehouse has been updated and expanded to accommodate new fire equipment and trucks. Robert Painter, Sr. is the fire chief. The annual firehouse “Open House and Lobster Bake” has replaced the firemen’s “Karnival.”

The station includes social quarters, meeting hall, weight room, entertainment room and four truck bays.  In the event of a town wide emergency, the station is designed and designated as an emergency shelter.  It also serves as a dispatch center for fire control operations.

First Fire Truck
A close up of the Stepney Volunteer Fire Company’s first fire truck. Here, Stanley B. Joyce, Austin Dinkler, and Frank Keller Of the Stepney Volunteer Fire Company (organized in 1916) pose proudly with their first fire truck, purchased second-hand from Bridgeport. The sign that the men held as they drove slowly from the city advertised the “Karnival,” which would help pay for their new purchase. (Photo courtesy of: Images of America - Monroe, Monroe Historical Society, 1998, Arcadia Publishing.)

Volunteers have and continue to play an important role in the development of Stepney and Monroe.  The Volunteer Fire Companies in Monroe are fine examples of dedicated citizens giving of their time and service to the community.

Bucket Brigade
Stepney’s bucket brigade perfects its skills. The members of this brigade are, from left to right, Charles Nichols, Stanley Joyce, George Beck, Charles Keller, and Edward Lee. Until permanent quarters were obtained, the brigade stored its equipment in the barns of members. (Photo courtesy of: Images of America - Monroe, Monroe Historical Society, 1998, Arcadia Publishing.)

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