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  1. #1
    Forum Member SPIPER's Avatar
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    Default First paid fire dept. ?

    Cincinnati OH claims to be the first paid fire dept. in 1853. But I have found that Boston MA had a paid fire chief and firefighters in 1679. So who was actually the first paid fire dept. in the United States?
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    SPIPER - Are you differentiating between having a paid chief and volunteers (combination) and having a fully (all) paid department when you are talking of the 1st paid department?

    My department (Norfolk, Va) became fully paid in 1871. Up to that point, was multiple volunteer depts. We claim (right or wrong) that we are the 3rd oldest, FULLY PAID department in the U.S. I'd be curious about when others became fully paid and also when the first paid/volunteer (combination) depts started.

    John

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    Forum Member SPIPER's Avatar
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    Boston apparently had a paid chief and 12 paid firefighters.
    Steve
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    Arrow A tough question!

    It's hard to answer that question as you have to define what you mean by a paid department. I personally think that since Boston was the first to pay any that they should be noted as first.

    If you want to define a paid department as to when they became fully paid then the answer can really get twisted. There are still 10 volunteer fire companies in New York City, does that mean that New York is not fully paid?

    Anyway, the way it is now described around Cincinnati is that the CFD was the first to combine paid firefighters, steam fire engines, and horses. Cincinnati had volunteers on some companies in outlying, newly annexed areas up until 1920 or so!

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    Forum Member Box2565's Avatar
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    Arrow More!

    By the way, CFD celebrates their 150th anniversary as a paid department next year!
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  6. #6
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Cincinnati, OH 4/1/1853
    St. Louis, MO 9/14/1857
    Louisville, KY 6/1/1858
    Chicago, IL 8/2/1858
    Richmond, VA 10/25/1858
    Boston, MA 1859
    Memphis, TN 1859
    Indianapolis, IN 10/1859
    Baltimore, MD 12/1859
    Detroit, MI 1860
    Nashville, TN 7/24/1860
    Dayton, OH 1864
    District of Columbia 5/19/1864
    Covington, KY 7/7/1864
    FDNY 6/24/1865
    San Francisco, CA 4/3/1866
    Philadelphia, PA 12/1870
    Norfolk, VA 12/15/1871
    Denver, CO 12/1880
    Tacoma, WA 1880
    Charleston, SC 1/1/1882
    Atlanta, GA 1882
    Spokane, WA 1884
    Los Angeles, VA 1/12/1886
    Jacksonville, FL 7/15/1886
    Evansville, IN 1888
    San Deigo, CA 8/15/1889
    New Orleans, LA 12/15/1891
    Salem, OR 1893
    Seattle, WA 1894
    Houston, TX 1895
    Tampa, FL 5/10/1895


    This was extracted from the departmentís web pages......

    Last edited by CaptOldTimer; 10-22-2007 at 04:50 PM.
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  7. #7
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Talking Hey Cap......................

    It took you 5 years and 3 months to come up with that??.....

    Sudden Thought............. Were you among Richmond's First Hires??
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    Smile

    Orlando Florida 1885

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    Default Oops!

    Orlando was a voly dept until 1923.

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    MembersZone Subscriber CFD Hazards's Avatar
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    Don't know the date but I thought Providence was the first paid department in the country.

  11. #11
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    It took you 5 years and 3 months to come up with that??.....

    Sudden Thought............. Were you among Richmond's First Hires??

    Harve, like you I am "almost" old enough to be one of the first!!

    Actually I was doing a Google search for something else and found this thread. I posted that information that I had. I actually had compiled this for part of a fire science project about 20 or so years ago.

    As I said, the data came from departments web sites through the city or county sites. So therefore if there wasn't any history page indicated or a paid career department date shown, I didn't include them. If it isnít posted then I can not show the information.

    You would probably be surprised that there are a lot of fire department web sites that do not have a history page or even a date indicating a career paid beginning.


    I did locate Providence, RI under their IAFF Local page showing their career start date of March 1, 1854.
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  12. #12
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Talking Ok..............

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Harve, like you I am "almost" old enough to be one of the first!!

    Actually I was doing a Google search for something else and found this thread. I posted that information that I had. I actually had compiled this for part of a fire science project about 20 or so years ago.

    As I said, the data came from departments web sites through the city or county sites. So therefore if there wasn't any history page indicated or a paid career department date shown, I didn't include them. If it isnít posted then I can not show the information.

    You would probably be surprised that there are a lot of fire department web sites that do not have a history page or even a date indicating a career paid beginning.


    I did locate Providence, RI under their IAFF Local page showing their career start date of March 1, 1854.

    I'm sure you caught my humor in the first post. That is quite an idea for a research project though. Maybe I should try it for my EFO...........
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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  13. #13
    Forum Member JJensenJr's Avatar
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    Default Galveston Fire Department

    Galveston Fire Department
    Galveston, Tx.
    1885

    First paid department in Texas.

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    Joplin, MO 1881. Combined (IIRC) three different vollie departments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hagy View Post
    It's hard to answer that question as you have to define what you mean by a paid department. I personally think that since Boston was the first to pay any that they should be noted as first.

    If you want to define a paid department as to when they became fully paid then the answer can really get twisted. There are still 10 volunteer fire companies in New York City, does that mean that New York is not fully paid?

    Anyway, the way it is now described around Cincinnati is that the CFD was the first to combine paid firefighters, steam fire engines, and horses. Cincinnati had volunteers on some companies in outlying, newly annexed areas up until 1920 or so!
    So they were not fully paid? Or were they?
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

  16. #16
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hagy View Post
    It's hard to answer that question as you have to define what you mean by a paid department. I personally think that since Boston was the first to pay any that they should be noted as first.

    If you want to define a paid department as to when they became fully paid then the answer can really get twisted. There are still 10 volunteer fire companies in New York City, does that mean that New York is not fully paid?
    Yes but those Volunteers are supplemental staffing. NYC has full minimal staffing 24/7 and has had such for over 100 years now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hagy View Post
    It's hard to answer that question as you have to define what you mean by a paid department. I personally think that since Boston was the first to pay any that they should be noted as first.

    If you want to define a paid department as to when they became fully paid then the answer can really get twisted. There are still 10 volunteer fire companies in New York City, does that mean that New York is not fully paid?
    Those Volunteer companies aren't part of the FDNY. The FDNY is paid...those volunteers largely exist in a vacuum of time and circumstance. They aren't part of us.

    PS-It is over 140+ years.

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    PS-It is over 140+ years.

    FTM-PTB
    Thats it? New guys....
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    Cincinnati Fire Dept. 1st in the nation. The first fully paid FD in the country, also, the first FD to provide public ambulance service.
    http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/cityfire/pages/-6664-/
    Last edited by FirefighterJKW; 12-26-2007 at 07:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FirefighterJKW View Post
    Cincinnati Fire Dept. 1st in the nation. The first fully paid FD in the country, also, the first FD to provid public ambulance service.
    http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/cityfire/pages/-6664-/
    But the question was posed - did they have volunteers covering areas after that date? Still no answer....
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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