Paskamansett Engine Company

140 Cross Road, Dartmouth, Massachusetts 02747    

Established 1900



In 1900, the inhabitants of Smith Mills, a village in the Town of Dartmouth, formed an association to better the community: the Paskamansett Engine Company. The organization’s primary purpose was to create and maintain a place for social meetings and to house the Company’s fire engine and equipment.

The Engine House was approximately 20’ x 24’ and stood in front of the present one, facing the south side of what was Kempton Street, what is now State Road (Route 6). The first Smith Mills fire engine was hand operated and either pulled by manpower or horses. In the center of the engine was a tank, which water was drawn into and pumped out by men, who worked the bars up and down to suck water through the tank and force it out a hose. On the roof of the Engine House hung a large bell, operated by a rope.

On Wednesday, September 25, 1901, the front-page headlines of The Evening Standard read, “HEROIC WOMEN! Assist in Extinguishing Serious Blaze at Smith Mills. Hawes’ Hall Building Almost Totally Wrecked. New Bedford Department Summoned to the Scene.”

For over two decades, the citizens of Smith Mills relied on the small Paskamansett Hand Engine and the New Bedford Fire Department to protect the town, but on January 12, 1923, they began to discuss the formation of fire districts and the obtaining of necessary fire apparatus. On April 5, 1923, Smith Mills Fire District was established. In May of 1923, the district’s name was changed to Dartmouth Fire District 3.

According to the State of Massachusetts records, the Paskamansett Engine Company No. 1 was dissolved in 1948; nevertheless, the organization still exists under the name Paskamansett Engine Company and its members include active and inactive firefighters and the Lady’s Aid Society, an organization formed to support the firefighters. Today, the Paskamansett Engine Company is an independent entity from Dartmouth Fire District 3.

The article began, “What bade fire to be a very serious conflagration at Smith Mills this morning was prevented by the villagers of that place with the assistance of the members of the New Bedford Fire Department. Had it not been for the little hand engine at the village, the property adjoining the Hawes hall building would certainly have been involved, but the old hand tub kept the fire in check until the arrival of a New Bedford steamer, when the flames were speedily got under control.”