The New London Fire Department was born in 1767 when Nathaniel Shaw Jr. presented the city with its first fire engine. Since then, New London has had a successful history of emergency medical service, heroic assistance during natural disasters, and fantastic 0firefighting. The city's most notorious fire occurred on September 6, 1781. Under the command of the infamous traitor and New London County native, Gen. Benedict Arnold, British troops set New London ablaze. A great deal of life and property was lost. At a 1786 town meeting, residents began the first regular fire company, which eventually evolved into eight volunteer companies. New London Firefighting proudly chronicles its initial humble volunteer system up to today's technologically advanced apparatus and career personnel.