USA — GRANBY The Lost Acres Fire Department Womens Auxiliary has just completed 65 years of service to the community. The organization was begun the Spring of 1946 and replaced the Womens Forest Fire Crew which was established in 1942 with the men away at war. They were a volunteer organization just as they still are with duties to augment the men & assist in the fire protection needs of area. These pioneering and brave women gave of their time to actively serve. Armed with shovels, rakes, brooms & buckets they would frequently stop their lives & fight to put out fires that would pop up. A sample of this is shown in this local article from The Hartford Currant March 24th, 1942;
Crew of Women Help Fight Fire after One Lesson
Newly organized, a crew of feminine fire fighters received their first instructions at a session Monday night and on Tuesday afternoon, purely by chance, they had their baptism of fire. They put the fire out.
Under direction of Mrs. George Beeman, the Hartland Womens Forest Fire Crew was organized during the last few weeks and a course of training was started Monday night.
At the first session they were shown how knapsack pumps are used to put a blight on flames that come creeping through woods or brush or grass. The women took turns at wearing and practicing with the knapsack pumps which weigh about 50 pounds when filled to capacity with water.
Equipped with such a pump a fighter can move along a blazing line of brush or grass, spray and quench several yards of flames before a refill is needed.
Three of the women who received the instructions were gathered at a home nearby Tuesday afternoon when a grass fire broke out on the property owned by John Lichdi in East Hartland.
The blaze kept spreading, pushed along by a stiff wind. Fire Warden James J. Thompson started rounding up help. The Lost Acres Fire Department sent a pumper and a crew of men. Another pumper was also sent from the Lost Acres Farm of Horace B. Clark.
While this aid was being summoned, the women moved into the battle. Warden Thompson provided them with the knapsack pumps they had seen demonstated and with which they had brief practice. He said later they acted like seasoned veterans once they had their pumps working and saw how efficiently the spray killed off the flames.
Their best work was done against flames which had raced through dry grass and threatened to ignite a 10 room house owned by Mrs. Lena White of North Granby and Mrs. Emily Thomas of Westfield, MA. Tongues of fire were lapping the foundations of the house when the women turned the hose on them.
Two other women, without benefit of knapsack pumps also helped fight the fire. They went out with brooms, another worthy weapon against grass fires, and put out flames that started from sparks which jumped a woodland road and threatened to spread over other acres.
The photo is one of our first showing these women in action. We currently are now called the LAFD Womens Auxiliary. Serving as a volunteer group which serves the community but in a more supportive role then our predecessors. We are so proud to share with the local area this monumental year for us just as the Town of Granbys 225th & Lost Acres Fire Department s 75th were celebrated in 2011. These other photos are of our current members. So when you see this women remember they not only support the LAFD but each and everyone of you in this community.Thank You for all your support.