Article and photos by John Galla

The town of Arlington is located six miles northwest of Boston and encompasses an area of 5.5 square miles. In 2010, the census recorded a population of 42,844 people. The town was originally settled in 1635 and was called Menotomy. In 1807, Menotomy and what is now Belmont were separated from Cambridge and incorporated as West Cambridge. Then in 1867, the name was finally changed to Arlington in recognition of the heroes buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. 

Of historical significance, Arlington is the birthplace of Uncle Sam, the location of the first public children's library, and a site of major combat at the start of the Revolutionary War. Arlington has also been diligent in preserving many of this history by maintaining buildings of historic significance and the town common. Some of the current attractions include the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum, The Russell House, Spy Pond Park, the Old Shwamb Mill and the Arlington Friends of Drama. The Old Shwamb Mill is considered to be the oldest continuously operated mill in the United States and is open to the public twice a week. There are also many events held in the town, including reenactments of Civil War battles. 

According to the town website, there are 95.27 miles of public streets and town ways, 24.36 miles of private streets open for travel, 6.11 miles of state highways and parkways, and 3.24 miles of paper streets. Major routes of travel include Route 2, Route 2A and Route 3 with a short distance of travel to Interstate 93 and Interstate 95. The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority provides public bus service to the town with the Alewife Station of the Red Line being the closest subway station in nearby Cambridge. 

The Arlington Fire Department has a rich history that dates back to the inception of the town with the first recorded fire apparatus purchase being in 1825. Today these traditions are continued by over 60 firefighters lead by Chief Robert Jefferson. The department has three fire stations that are staffed by 15 firefighters per shift. An officer and two firefighters staff three engine companies and one ladder company while two firefighters staff one ambulance. A Deputy Chief is in charge of the shift and responds in a command vehicle. The fire apparatus in Arlington has seen a variety of changes as the years have marched on. A big proponent of Pierce for a period of time, the department has purchased apparatus from other manufacturers in more recent times. Currently, the department maintains a total of five pumpers, one ladder truck and two ambulances.  

The oldest pumper is Engine 5, which is a 1987 Seagrave. Equipped with a 1500 GPM pump and 500 gallon tank, this unit was purchased from Cherry Hill, NJ in 2009. It was used as a frontline piece for a brief period of time and now serves as a reserve rig. Ladder 1 is the next oldest piece operating a 1994 Pierce Arrow with 105 foot rear mount aerial. In 2009 this truck was going to be replaced by a 2009 Seagrave quint, however it was decided to reassign that piece to Engine 3 and keep the 1994 Pierce in service as Ladder 1. Engine 4 is currently assigned a 2001 Pierce Saber with 1250 GPM pump and 750 gallon tank. This rig had served as Engine 2 up until this year, when it was replaced by a new engine. It currently serves as a reserve engine assigned to Station 2. 

2008 marked a change in apparatus purchases when the department switched from Pierce and placed into service a new Seagrave Marauder II for Engine 1. Equipped with a 1250 GPM pump, 500 gallon tank and 30 gallons of foam, this unit responds from headquarters and was the first Seagrave purchased by the department in the modern era. The department would again buy from Seagrave in 2009 when it purchased a quint with 1250 GPM pump, 500 gallon tank and 100 foot rear mounted aerial. Originally purchased to replace Ladder 1, the department opted to assign this unit to Engine 3 in order to have 2 aerials in service. At one time, Arlington Fire operated two ladder trucks but had to take the second ladder company out of service due to budget cuts. By assigning the new quint to Engine 3 and keeping Ladder 1 in service at Headquarters, this was seen as a measure to return two aerials to active duty. The newest piece of equipment would again see a change in manufacturer choice. In 2013 Engine 2 would be assigned a brand new E-One Typhoon pumper with 1250 GPM pump, 500 gallon tank and 30 gallons of foam. Also delivered in 2013 was a new ambulance for Rescue 1. The primary ambulance was assigned a new rig built by Horton on a 2013 Ford F-450 4X4 chassis. When this new rig went into service, the former Rescue 1 became the backup unit and designated Rescue 2. This vehicle was built by Osage on a 2009 Ford E-450 chassis. 

Headquarters Station- Broadway and Massachusetts Avenue
Station 2- 1007 Massachusetts Avenue
Station 3- 291 Park Avenue
Engine 1- 2008 Seagrave Marauder II 1250/500/30F assigned to HQ
Engine 2- 2013 E-One Typhoon 1250/500/30F assigned to Station 2
Engine 3- 2009 Seagrave Marauder II 1250/500/100' RMA assigned to Station 3
Engine 4- 2001 Pierce Saber 1250/750 assigned to Station 2
Engine 5- 1987 Seagrave 1500/500 assigned to HQ
Ladder 1- 1994 Pierce Arrow 105' RMA assigned to HQ
Rescue 1- 2013 Ford F-450/Horton 4x4 ambulance assigned to Station 2
Rescue 2- 2009 Ford E-450/Osage ambulance assigned to Station 2


Engine 1 

Engine 2 

Engine 3 

Engine 4 

Engine 5 

Ladder 1 

Rescue 1 

Rescue 2