Cumberland Fire Dept. to celebrate centennial

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CUMBERLAND — The Fire Department is having a party Sept. 12 that has been 100 years in the making.

With slide shows of old photos, educational activities and food, the department’s centennial celebration at the Fairgrounds will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The free event will include displays of the department’s old dispatch system, reflecting the days when it was firefighters’ wives who called the other members about a fire, Fire Chief Dan Small said Aug. 28.

Changes in medical coverage will also be showcased, comparing old CPR and defibrillators to today’s equipment.

“We want to show the progression,” Small said.

His family is a large part of the history of the department, which was incorporated in 1915.

Small has been chief since 1999, following in the footsteps of his father, George Small (1990-1992), and grandfather, Maurice Small (1969-1971).

Bragg is another prominent surname among Cumberland fire chiefs.

Lester Bragg, a captain with Portland’s fire department, was the department’s first chief from 1915-1921; Edward Bragg (1930-1936) and Harold Bragg (1942-1966) followed, according to the department website. Kenneth and Philip Chase were also chiefs.

Prior to the department’s incorporation, firefighting was “pretty much every person for themselves,” Small said, although the Tuttle Road Church had a hose wagon to battle fires.

Antiques trucks will also be on display Sept. 12, and representatives from the state fire marshal’s office and Maine Forest Service will tell historical stories. Smokey Bear and Sparky the Fire Dog will be in attendance, along with the fire marshal’s arson dog Chasta.

Chebeague Island, part of Cumberland until 2007, will also be included in the event.

A bucket brigade and bean-bag toss are scheduled, a Lifeflight of Maine helicopter may be available for tours, and all of the department’s equipment will be on display, Small said.

A brief ceremony near the end of the event will recognize Cumberland’s past firefighters, the chief said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

The Cumberland Fire Department celebrates its 100th anniversary Sept. 12 with various activities, as well as displays like a rolling slideshow of historic photos and videos.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.