Former Fire Chiefs of the Hampton Fire Dept.

History of the Hampton Fire Department

A tradition of service, courage and pride

Courtesy of Atlantic News & Advertiser

January 10, 1984

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- SECTION 13 -

1911 -- 1998

Chief Lemuel C. Ring
1911 - 1916

[First Fire Chief in Hampton Beach
Volunteer Fire Department]

Chief Lemuel C. Ring
Chief Lemuel C. Ring
1911 - 1916

Update of Hampton Fire Department History

Compiled by Beverly Ring Prakop

[From Randall's Hampton: A Century of Town & Beach -- 1888 - 1988]

Tuesday, April 10, 2001

1904 - Page 398: "... Beach residents petitioned the selectmen to form a Beach precinct for fire protection. The request was granted, and the Precinct became a reality in 1907. The fire department was organized under the Precinct commissioners. The first equipment, purchased in 1908, consisted of three hand-drawn hose carts that could be attached to the hydrants of the newly operatiing Hampton Water Works Company. ..."

July 1911 - Page 399: " ... The Portsmouth Herald reported that few resorts could boast of better fire protection than Hampton Beach. Three fire companies were organized and a fourth was planned, each manned by summer resident volunteers, with Lemuel C. Ring as [Fire] Chief. ..."

Summer 1915 - Page 400: The fire equipment was stored in the former Thomas Nudd barn. A fire alarm system, said to be 'scientific and inexpensive,' using alarm boxes, was installed.

Sept. 23, 1915 - Page 400: The Beach was engulfed by its worst fire.

Page 404: The heaviest losers [in the fire] were George Ashworth and Fire Chief [Lemuel C.] Ring.

1916 - Page 155: Precinct meeting: Several unusual votes were recorded: They voted that the Chief and all firefighters would be chosen by the voters and the names submitted to the selectmen for their approval.

In a final vote, the clerk recorded, "That every man opposed to L. C. Ring as [Fire] Chief of the Hampton and Hampton Beach Fire Department, stand up. No one stood up."

Ring, owner of much Beach commercial property, was the town's fireward or Fire Chief.

Frank J. O'Dea was chosen as Chief. Apparently, O'Dea was not appointed by the Selectmen, so the commissioners chose Alexander H. Brown as the first permanent fire chief, although it is unclear just how much he was paid (as the first full-time Hampton Beach fire chief). 19 men were elected as permanent firefighters.

Page 156: They rented Brown's new garage but that burned one week after the 1923 town meeting. Brown sold the lot to the Precinct to build a equip a new firehouse.

July 11, 1912 - Page 396: Finally on July 11, 1912, the Hampton Fire Department was organized in the town hall with Elmer C. King, Sr. as Chief and Roland C. Emery as clerk.

1913: 5 officers and 20 members were appointed.

1914: "Apparently, the first fire department was somewhat unofficial, as King's second report in the 1914 town report asked the Town officially to appoint a fire chief according to state law. King said he would continue to serve if asked, but the 1914 town meeting voted to elect Uri Lamprey as chief fireward.

This was still a volunteer fire department, although apparently the men were paid for fighting fires, as the Town Reports list payments to the department for various fires. In 1914, that sum was $136.50, with $33.00 paid to the Beach department.

Chief Elmer C. King
1912 - 1914

Hampton Fire Department Fire Chief

(No photograph available)

July 11, 1912 - Page 396: "Finally on July 11, 1912, the Hampton Fire Department was organized in the town hall with Elmer C. King, Sr. as Chief and Roland C. Emery as clerk."
[Randall's "History of Hampton 1888-1988]

Chief Fireward Uri Lamprey
1914 - 1915

Hampton Fire Department

Chief Uri Lamprey
Chief Uri Lamprey
1914 - 1915

1914 - page 396: "Apparently, the first fire department was somewhat unofficial, as King's second report in the 1914 town report asked the Town officially to appoint a fire chief according to state law. King said he would continue to serve if asked, but the 1914 town meeting voted to elect Uri Lamprey as chief fireward."
[Randall's "History of Hampton 1888-1988]

Chief Alexander H. Brown
1916 - 1923

First Permanent Chief

Chief Alexander H. Brown
Chief Alexander H. Brown
1916 - 1923
Alexander H. Brown,
First Full Time
Hampton Beach Fire Chief.

After the serious fire which occurred in September 1915, the first major change took place within the Hampton Beach Fire Department. At that time, the local fire department was not equipped to handle major fires, which resulted in help from nearby towns. So the Spring of 1916, a reorganization was made, and the commissioners appointed Alexander H. Brown as the first permanent chief. They also ordered the first motorized apparatus for the department.

Chief Brown's era consisted of many new ideas toward fire protection. He installed the first telegraph box system from Gamewell during 1917. He directed operations for the first fire house which was built in 1922, and put into service an Aherns-Fox pump and ladder combination.

In the month of March 1924, Chief Brown resigned his office after having been with the department for over 9 years of active service.

Chief Homer B. Whiting
1923 - 1937

Chief Whiting

Homer Whiting was born in Haverhill, Mass. on June 14, 1895. He enlisted in World War I and served as a sergeant in the United States Signal Corp., 54th Telegraph Battalion, as driver of the big combination pumping engine in Balboa, Panama Canal Zone, fire department. Mr. Whiting was made permanent member of the Haverhill Fire Dept. when the two-platoon system went into effect in 1920. Upon the death of Lloyd Walker, the chief's driver, who was killed in an accident in May 1923, Whiting served as the Chief's driver for two months. When the new Seagraves aerial ladder was added to the apparatus of Haverhill, he was assigned as one of the drivers of the ladder truck.

Mr. Whiting was granted a leave of absence from the Haverhill department and it was during that time he accepted a position as chief of the Hampton Beach Fire Department. On September 30, 1924, he resigned as a member of the Haverhill department and was made Chief of Hampton shortly thereafter, holding the position continually until early spring, 1937. His appointment as head of the Hampton Beach Fire Department was at first for a six-month period. Later he was elected permanent. He succeeded Alexander Brown, who had resigned.

Chief Whiting was elected president of the New Hampshire Fire Chiefs club and the New England Association of Fire Chiefs, as well as the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Mr. Whiting invented lights for fire apparatus, including the so-called flasher lights. He was proprietor of Whiting's Express Co., an enterprise which he personally directed. He died May 23, 1937, following an operation for appendicitis.

Chief George Lamott
1937 - 1958

Chief Lamott

George Lamott became a member of the Hampton Beach Fire Deprtment in 1923, when it was solely a Precinct institution. He was the first payed permanent fireman under Chief Alexander Brown. The department was then housed in Brownie's Casino Garage, which burned that year.

It probably was in 1927 that George Lamott was made Lieutenant under Chief Homer Whiting and the department was housed in its new station. He was made Deputy Chief in the early 30's and in April 1937 was named Chief, a position which he filled for 21 years. During this time, in spite of the obvious of divided municipal responsibilities, the organization had grown with respect both to personnel and equipment and attained an outstanding record of achievement in the field of fire prevention and protection. George Lamott served the fire department with poise and distinction for 35 years.

Chief Perley R. George
1958 - 1967

Chief George

Perley George filled the position of Fire Chief after the retirement of Chief George Lamott in 1958. He started with the Hampton Fire Department in the 1920's, where he progressed with the department until retirement over 35 years later in 1967.

Chief George was elected president of the New Hampshire State Firemen's Association during the organization's 63rd annual convention which was held at Hampton Beach in 1960. Approximately 600 firemen attended the weekend convention including Governor Wesley Powell.

Chief George was a knowledgeable and well-liked man, and was famous for his special Clam Chowder.

Also, Chief Perley George was well known for playing "Santa Claus" at the Hampton Beach Precinct Christmas Party they held every Christmas for the children of the Precinct.

Chief Paul A. Long
1967 - 1974

Chief Long

Paul Long of Haverhill, Mass., at the age of 42, was appointed unanimously as Fire Chief of Hampton in April 1967. He replaced Perley George who retired in December, after serving on the department for 41 years.

Long was a graduate from Haverhill, Mass. High School in 1941, and then joined the Federal Bureau of Inventigation at the age of 17 as a fingerprint classifier, becoming one of the youngest FBI agents in the country. He was assigned to headquarters in Washington, D. C. and remained there until October 1942, when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps.

Two years later, he was commissioned a second lieutenant and then spent the next two years as a combat flyer in France. During that period he was promoted to first lieutenant. He joined the Haverhill fire department in 1946 and was promoted to lieutenant in November, 1951. The following month he was recalled to active duty for the Korean conflict.

Paul Long remained Hampton's Fire Chief until he resigned in December 1974 to take on a new position with the Durham, N.H. Fire Department.

Chief Robert W. Fitz
1974 - 1976

Chief Fitz

As Deputy Chief, Robert Fitz assumed duties as acting Chief for the Hampton Fire Department in June 1974, replacing former Chief Paul Long, who took a similar position in Durham.

Robert Fitz was appointed Chief in September, 1974. He came to work for Hampton five and a half years prior as a Deputy Chief. He was the top man examined for the chief's position in both written and oral categories. Prior to coming to work in Hampton, he was employed by the Gamewell Company, a business selling fire alarm systems. He also worked as a fire underwriters' engineer. In addition to his duties, Fitz was also the president of the Interstate Emergency Unit, a mutual aid firefighting association. Chief Fitz resigned from the department in 1976.

Chief Howard W. Stickney
1976 - 1980

Chief Stickney

Chief Howard Stickney was appointed Hampton Fire Chief in February 1977, after serving as acting chief since 1976. Howard first joined the department as a callman in 1952, becoming a permanent firefighter in 1959. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1965 and again promoted in 1967 to Captain. Several years later during 1975, he filled the shoes as Deputy Fire Chief. Prior to his employment with Hampton, he served with the United States Army as a Platoon Sargeant, with seventeen month in Korea.

Chief Stickney was a very active man. He graduated from North Shore Community College, Civil Defense Training Academy, and the Southern Maine Technical Institute. He was a member of the New Hampshire City Management Association and a State Fire Instructor for 10 years. He also completed the State of New Hampshire Department of Education Fire Science School. Chief Howard Stickney retired from the Hampton Fire Department on January 1, 1980.

Chief Donald R. Matheson
1980 - 1982

Chief Matheson

Chief Matheson was born in Lynn, Mass. on October 21, 1943. He graduated from the Haverhill Trade School in Haverhill, Mass. and held an Associates Degree in Fire Science from the North Shore Community College in Beverly, Mass.

He was a veteran of the Vietnam War serving in the U. S. Navy. He served with the Newburyport, Mass. Fire Department for 10 years, three years as lieutenant, before his appointment to Hampton. He was a chief forest fire warden for Hampton at the same time of his appointment to the department as Deputy Chief in July 1977. He had been employed privately by the General Electric Fire Department in Lynn, Mass., previously.

Chief Matheson served as secretary of the Seacoast Fire Chiefs Association. He was a member of the New England Fire Chiefs Association, the New Hampshire Fire Chiefs Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Chief Matheson was appointed Hampton's Fire Chief in April 1980 where he served in that office until his sudden death while cross country skiing February 13, 1982. He was 38 years old.

Chief Anthony Kuncho
1982 - 1987

Chief Kuncho

Chief Kuncho is the former chief of Salem, New Hampshire Fire Department where he served a force of 60 men as chief and sereved on the department for 16 years.
Kuncho's expertise is in fire prevention and suppression as well as investigation. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and an associates degree in law enforcement/public service. His concentrations have been extensively based on arson investigation. He also served in the U. S. Navy for four years as a firefighter air-sea rescue officer.
Chief Kuncho was sworn into office as Hampton's Fire Chief June 21, 1982 where he still holds that position today in 1983.

Chief William Sullivan
1987 - 1998

Skip Sullivan
[In 1987 Chief Kuncho was replaced by William "Skip" Sullivan, who retired at the end of 1998. For a synopsis of his career, see these articles from the Herald Sunday October 4, 1998 and Atlantic News December 18, 1998.]

Chief Hank Lipe
1999 -

Hank Lipe
[In March 1999, Hank Lipe took over as Fire Chief, after "Skip" Sullivan retired at the end of 1998.]

10 years of Change

"Over the past decade, Hampton Fire & Rescue has experienced a huge increase in call volume. When looking at the historical trend, all indications point to an equally busy year next year, then, we may experience an upward spike for years 2001, 2002, and 2003. Several factors, specifically economic growth, tourism, and demographic changes have driven our business since 1989.

"Our fire equipment needs to be replaced due to the increased call volume. We began the process in 1999 by studying new fire apparatus through visits to exhibits, manufacturers, and other regional fire departments looking at new fire apparatus to replace our two first fire engines. We will be asking you for the funds in 2000 and 2001 for the new vehicles.

A Century of Change

"As we enter into the new millennium, Hampton Fire and Rescue has had a tradition of service, courage, and pride. The Hampton Beach Village Precinct was formed in 1907 and the town fire department became a town expenditure in 1913, as it was no longer considered a miscellaneous order due to three fires in 1912. In 1923, the town was asked to appropriate the money to hire 4 men, thus to becoming a permanent fire department.

"In closing my first report to the town, I can proudly say that all the members of the department rose to the many challenges, demands, and emotional stress that they encountered on a daily basis. These proud individuals met the Town mission by "providing proactive and professional quality services that will meet the needs of all citizens in an effective, coordinated and responsible manner" while responding to over 4,000 calls for assistance in 1999. Finally, on behalf of the past and present members of your fire department, I would like to thank you and your past families for your continued community support this century since 1907.

Hank Lipe, Fire Chief"
[Year Ending December 31, 1999]

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