The following text is a personal insight into our Company's history, as written by our 1st Lieutenant (Now Captain), Tom Prezioso, once to a young visitor of the station.

Brief History
The Dreadnaught Hook, Ladder and Hose Company 1 (also known as the "Dreads") is one of 4 charted volunteer fire companies in the town of Bristol, RI. The fire department is also made up of a volunteer Rescue Squad and an engine squad. The engine squad (Engine 4) is made up of 7 members from each of the 4 charted fire companies.

The Dreadnaughts have provided service for the town of Bristol for over 150 years. We argue this with the other companies because there is little to no history of our company. The reason for this is in 1899, a fire broke out 1 early morning, destroying the wooden structure housing the Dreads. The apparatus, at the time, was pulled out in time and saved along with our fire trumpets, but our records perished in the flames.

On Our Official Company Mascot 

Puff is a water-shooting dragon. If you notice on the patch, the tail of Puff is attached to a fire hydrant. The water from the hydrant runs through Puff and shoots out of his nose, like fire would shoot out of a fire-breathing dragon.

You may wonder how our ladder truck was named Puff. Well, I will tell you. A few days after Puff proudly rolled in to the small town of Bristol, Rhode Island in 1982, a demonstration of what she could do was put on for the town. There was Puff, the largest truck in the fleet and the largest and loudest in the surrounding towns. She was truly the pride of the fleet. When her jacks were lowered to raise the aerial, the thrust from the engine sounded like a loud roar. Once settled in to place, the aerial was raised to her full length of 110 feet with a nozzle at the tip and mid-point of the aerial. When the young school children observing the demonstration saw the long length of hose behind the ladder truck begin to move as it charged up with water and then witnessed the 2 powerful solid streams of water shooting out of the 2 nozzles towering above them, many of them began to say it look like a dragon. As the children described with excitement how the ladder truck looked and sounded like a dragon to each other and their parents, the name Puff began to emerge from the crowd of the children. It was from that moment on that the ladder truck was named from mythical dragon Puff from the children's song Puff the Magic Dragon.

The Dreadnaughts perform truck support at the fire scene (i.e. ladder buildings, ventilation, salvage and overhaul). We like to say; "We are the best ladder company in town." The joke is…we are the only ladder company in town. The other 3 companies are engine companies. We also perform auto extrications, handle hazardous materials, perform water rescues and assist rescue from time to time. You will notice in our company photo on our website the "special hazards" truck along side Puff and the bow of Marine 1 along the side of the members. We may be the only ladder company in town, but none the less we are certainly the busiest.

The photo of Puff (coming soon to our website) was taken in at the Dreads in December of 1999 while putting up Christmas lights on our station. It is a tradition we do every year. The station that you see was completed around 1900. It was built in the exact same location as the first station. Although our history is not complete, we have been at the same location (Church and High) for over 150 years. It is our home, and every member is "family".

Road Lines
You may notice that the middle of the road on Hope and High Streets has a red, white, and blue line, rather then the traditional yellow. The reason is that this line marks the route for the oldest continuing July Fourth Parade in our country.

Company Name
When most people hear the word Dreadnaught, they immediately associate the word with the great battleship. Or, a style of acoustic guitar. Although the spelling of Dreadnaught (with an 'a') could also refer to the great battleship, the actual word Dreadnought, with an 'o', is the appropriate spelling referring to the great battleships.

Our company spelling of the word Dreadnaught has another meaning. The word Dread means to fear intensely and the word naught means nothing. When the 2 words Dread and naught are combined the meaning is entirely different. It means "fear nothing."

Station History
The main part of the station was built right around 1900, after a fire destroyed the original Dreadnaught fire station, sitting on the same site. The addition on the Church Street side was built in the 1960's to house the new ladder truck at the time, a 1961 Ward LaFrance snorkel. The station has been well-maintained over the years, and has served the members and the town well. We have renovated and restored many spaces in recent years.

Department History

Can also be found in the local book titled Bristol, Rhode Island, Volume II, by author Richard V. Simpson, published by Arcadia Publishing. This book contains historical photos of the Company and department.