Members of the Woodmont Fire Company are keeping alive the traditions of volunteer firefighting in Milford.

"Members of my family have been with the company for generations," said Kristine Hunt, who joined four years ago. Hunt, whose great-great-grandfather was a company member, said she fondly remembers watching her father, William Hunt, walking down city streets during parades wearing his bright-red uniform with royal blue pants.

"The volunteer fire companies are an important part of the city's history," she said. "It's important to keep the tradition alive."

The Woodmont Fire Company was chartered by the state in 1897. It continued to be active until 1983, when the city switched from a volunteer-based department to a paid fire department. Though company members no longer fight fires, they remain active in the community, organizing a variety of events during the year, such as summer picnics and tag sales.

The organization meets monthly at its station house, a small, red barn on Kings Highway. Inside sits the company's pride and joy: a 1931 Maxim Pumper that was used until 1975. Company members keep the truck in running condition and routinely bring it to parades and fire musters throughout the region. A wall inside the station is filled with dozens of trophies the company won with the pumper truck. The walls of the station house are also adorned with vintage photographs depicting the company's long history in the city.

City resident Robert Collins joined the company in 1953 and remains an active member.

"We had our share of bad fires in our day," he said. "I remember when we had a couple of kids who were running around the city lighting fires. They kept us pretty busy."

Bob Grober, a physics professor at Yale University, is one of the company's newest members. He joined two years ago.

"The company is an organization that's been in the community for a long time," he said. "When the company was active, it had a clear role in the community that's different from its role today. "What its role will be in the future remains to be seen."

Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. noted the company's long history with the city.

"The men and women who continue to be active in the volunteer company are keeping the tradition and the history alive," he said.

Chuck Rockwell, a member for 15 years, said anyone interested in joining the organization may call 294-4665.

"We are always looking to recruit new members," he said.

Dirk Perrefort, who covers Milford, can be reached at

878-2130.