'Old-Timers Clam Boil' keeps firefighting pride alive in Bristol

By Manny Correira
Posted 10/16/23

The Bristol Fire Department's annual “Old-Timers Clam Boil” once again appeased the appetites of the 80 or so fire department members in attendance Friday afternoon at the Hydes Fire Station on Annawamscutt Drive.

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'Old-Timers Clam Boil' keeps firefighting pride alive in Bristol

Posted

The Bristol Fire Department’s annual “Old-Timers Clam Boil” once again appeased the appetites of the 80 or so fire department members in attendance Friday afternoon at the Hydes Fire Station on Annawamscutt Drive.

“Most of the old-timers are gone now,” said longtime member Paul Vollaro, “but life members are eligible to attend. This is a good time for everyone. Plus, we’ve got some new blood in the department and they’ve all been outstanding in continuing to make the Bristol Fire Dept. what it is today.”

The menu on the day consisted of a complete clam boil with all the fixings, or steak dinner for those who preferred the latter. Heading up the cooking chores were Joe DaRosa, David Benevides, Paul Vollaro, Walter Munro, Bob Martin, Russell F. O’Connell and Ken Altice, assisted by a host of others.

Originally the brainchild of late Bristol Fire Chief David Sylvaria, this annual event has become a staple of the Bristol community.

“Chief Sylvaria started this event around 1987,” noted Mr. Vollaro, “but before that, there used to be fire department outings. Fire companies had their own clambakes during the summer months. But now, these annual clam boils are here at the Hydraulion Engine Co. No 1 Fire Station.”

Okie Falcoa, one of the senior members of the fire department along with Alvin Andrade, both 85 years of age, has spent 64 of those years as a member of the Ever-Ready Engine and Hose Co. #2.

“Chief Dave Sylvaria thought that something should be done for the old-timers in this department, so he came up with the idea to have an annual clam boil at the Dreadnaught Hook, Ladder, and Hose Co. #1 Fire Station at the corner of Church and High Street,” he explained. “I truly enjoy coming up here to the Hydes Station for this clam boil with all of these old friends.”

Town Administrator Steve Contente, a member of the Defiance Hose Co. #1, added, “We are fortunate in Bristol to have a well-trained and dedicated volunteer fire department. This tradition is a small way to thank the senior members of the Department for their years of service. Most, if not all, still contribute to the Department’s success in some way. Camaraderie and friendship are most important in keeping the Department an important part of our town’s fabric. Chief DeMello and all of the men and women do a great job and their service is greatly appreciated.”

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