Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 09-11-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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Page 49 of 67

14 NORTH PROVIDENCE PUBLIC SAFETY COMPLEX SEPTEMBER 11-17, 2019 | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION and Zarlenga recounted on a Friday afternoon at the Memorial Hall, back in 1896, the first volunteer fire com- pany formed in North Providence in Lymansville followed by one in Geneva in 1902, one in Fruit Hill in 1904, one in Centredale in 1906, and the fifth in Marieville in 1910. The organizations were created to "help protect their neighbors' lives and property" but they also became social focal points in the villages, said Murphy, who became a volunteer firefighter in 1954 and later served as a district chief until 1985. Some 60 or 70 years ago, volunteer firefighters, who could join starting at 16 years old, were the center of atten- tion of the town, Murphy said. "Young people didn't have much to do," he said. "The volunteer fire com- pany became their home." Back in the volunteer days, Zarlenga said he remembers convert- ing a secondhand Harvest Bread truck into a rescue vehicle. The town was growing in the mid- dle of the 20th century, and as early as 1964 volunteer firefighters began to see the need to have semi-permanent staff at the stations. In July 1975, the North Providence call system went into effect, which helped cut down on response times. The town's call system was well- respected and "recognized as one of the best in the state of Rhode Island," Murphy said. With the new call system, firefight- ers had to commit time where they were guaranteed to respond to a call and were compensated based on the calls they answered. The five fire sta- tions were manned 24 hours a day, including on weekends, with the semi- permanent department covering from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the call system from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Working under the call system were 147 men and women, a deputy chief, and five district chiefs under the full- time permanent chief. In the first year of operation the call system handled approximately 75 percent of all fire and rescue calls, Murphy said. In two decades Lombardi said he responded to approximately 2,600 rescue and fire calls. "I learned a lot," he said. When the department switched from strictly volunteer-run to a call system, Lombardi said he didn't see too much of a change. "I think the call system was more of a transforma- tion in getting the volunteers a little stipend for what they did," he said. The conversions from an all- volunteer fire department to a call system to a permanent department went pretty smoothly, Murphy and Zarlenga said. "I think it was the camaraderie," said Zarlenga. FIRE DEPARTMENT From Page 12 BREEZE PHOTO BY MELANIE THIBEAULT Artifacts from over the decades that were once used by members of the North Providence Fire Department, now housed in the FIREFIGHTERS MEMORIAL HALL, at 1995 Smith St. Hot & Cold Sandwiches • Prepared Foods • Soups • Salads Gourmet Coffees • Cold Cuts • Bakery Items • Full Service Catering 1290 Mineral Spring Ave • North Providence, RI 02904 tel. 401-722-3222 fax: 401-722-0300 e-mail: G o u r m e t I t a l i a n D e l i Pauly Penta's REPAIRS FOR ALL INSTRUMENTS & Music Learning Center 1530 Mineral Spring Avenue, North Providence, RI – 401-353-3805 LESSONS FOR ALL INSTRUMENTS Congratulations on your new home! We Rent Band Instruments! Orchestral Instruments Saxophones Trumpets • Clarinets Violins • Flutes Trombones • Mandolins Join Us for a Meet & Greet Night! OCTOBER 7 t h Meet the instructors, enjoy entertainment and more! 1846 Smith St., N. Providence, RI 354-4410 262 Broadway, Providence, RI 455-1212 2190 Broad St., Cranston, RI 490-0033 Fresh Baked Goods Daily ~ Specialty Coffees ~ Chai Kams Furniture 1243 Mineral Spring Ave., North Providence, RI HOURS 12 noon - 6 p.m.; Fri. til 8 p.m.; Sat. til 5 p.m. SAVE! 30%-50% Quality Furniture at Discount Prices! Choose From •New Fabrics •New Colors •Made in USA Size 60" • 70" • 80" Also Apartment Sizes 1755 Smith Street, North Providence, RI 02911 401-559-9986 A Healthy Alternative Meal Preps

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