One of the town's first and most critical tasks was the establishment of a working fire department. In 1878, local residents began digging a reservoir at the corner of Monroe and Railroad Streets and purchased a compound force pump and 300 feet of hose for use there. In 1881, the Reflector made reference to Bangor's steam engine, as well as the fire equipment including a hook and ladder. The town stored the equipment in a building that formerly belonged to Charles Southard, near what is now Diamond Alley. The town held a public meeting for a preliminary organization of the fire department in October of 1885. At that time, the Engine Co. had 20 men, the Hook & Ladder Co. had 18 men, and the Hose Co. had 13 men. During the meeting, the Village council voted unanimously to buy a new fire apparatus, complete with a large hand pump, hose cart, and a new fully outfitted hook and ladder truck.
In the ensuing years, the village had to lay new pipe and build cisterns to keep water available in the event of a fire. In 1885, two cisterns were built downtown: one in front of Calvin Cross' office, (later the Cross Insurance Agency) and one near the corner of Center and Monroe Streets. Within the year, a V inch pipe was laid between Nyman's sawmill and the cistern in front of the Cross office. R.C. Nyman agreed to pump water to keep the cistern full through the summer without cost to the village. Eventually, the community devised a method of collecting rainwater from rooftops to keep the cisterns full. Historical maps show that cisterns were later added at the comer of Charles and Walnut and in front of Miller's Opera House downtown.
In 1919, the Bangor Fire Department formally organized. Officers included President John Trim, Vice President W.V. Ackley, Secretary/Treasurer Herb Wood, Chief L.G. Church and Assistant Chief Henry Karsten. A new emergency siren was installed on the roof of the Bank Block in August 1921 after fire threatened to devastate the downtown area. A The siren is on top of the bank building in the middle of this photo and to the left different number Of blasts would Of the hanging street light. The Sebring Hotel is to the right. (Bob Emmert) tell fire fighters where the problem was located. If the siren sounded one to four times, the emergency was in one of four sections downtown. More than four blasts signaled that different areas around town had a problem. A few months after the alarm was installed, the decision was made to test the device every day at 12:00 noon. Today the siren is at the town hall and still sounds at noon .
Emmert, R. W. (2004). Bangor.