The Gardiner Fire Department (GFD) will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a parade on Sunday, Oct. 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. The Gardiner Fire Company has had a proud history — all of it on a strictly volunteer basis — under the auspices of 21 fire chiefs since the days of Lee McIntosh, 14 of them still among the living. The original Fire District covered only the Gardiner hamlet, but a disastrous fire that engulfed much of the town’s commercial center in 1925 convinced the townspeople that a better-equipped fire squad capable of serving a larger area was badly needed. So the original Fire District was dissolved and a larger one incorporated, and in 1926 a new Sanford engine was acquired to replace the old Deming hand-pumper that had been built in 1896. That was but the first of many new pieces of firefighting and rescue equipment added to the GFD’s toolkit over the decades, culminating with a state-of-the-art Spartan Gladiator tanker purchased only a month ago.
One of the honored guests at the centennial celebration on Oct. 14 will be that very Deming pumper that got the GFD off to its start. It had been abandoned behind what was then John Moran’s General Store (now Majestic’s Hardware) during Moran’s 21-year tenure as fire chief, and was recently discovered 90 percent buried in the mud.
The big parade through downtown Gardiner on Sunday, Oct. 14 will begin at Steve’s Lane. From there the parade will proceed south on Dusinberre Road, west on Main Street and then south on Murphy Lane, concluding at Majestic Park. The “non-judged” parade will consist of local fire companies marching and showing off their vehicles, floats representing various Gardiner organizations and marching bands.
“Basically it’s a big party,” says First lieutenant Luke Lyons Jr.