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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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    Boston apparently had a paid chief and 12 paid firefighters.
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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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    Arrow More!

    By the way, CFD celebrates their 150th anniversary as a paid department next year!
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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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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    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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    Don't know the date but I thought Providence was the first paid department in the country.

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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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    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...........
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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

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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.

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    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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    Default First "paid" fire department

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    But the question was posed - did they have volunteers covering areas after that date? Still no answer....
    When we talk about the "first paid" department we have to set some rules. Based upon what I have seen on the internet and on Cincinnati's website, I think what we are talking about is the first "career" fire department. Paying someone, or even everyone, to fight a fire does not constitute a career fire department. Perhaps we should look at when fire departments achieved the same status as police departments. Cincinnati was the first to do this. Even if they still had some "reserve" firefighters they may have had the first career type department that was set up something like the police department. Does that help? That is the way I look at it. Perhaps I am wrong to do so.

    Wow this is an old topic.

    I draw this from the FD history page of www.CaptMica.com
    http://www.riotacts.com/fire/history.html#profireddept

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    Hi,

    Back on 07/24/02 I said that you had to define what was meant by a paid department. That question still hangs in the air. My comment regarding the FDNY and the 10 volunteer companies was to illustrate that the definition to the question was unanswered. I don't question that FDNY is a paid department.

    When the city of Cincinnati began hiring in 1853 the first group brought on, in addition to Chief Miles Greenwood, were 10 or so firefighters who were specifically hired to staff the newly purchased steam fire engine that the volunteers had expressed such a great deal of opposition to.

    Most of the firefighters hired by Cincinnati were not full-time members in the early days of the department. A given company might have 10 members of whom 2 or 3 had to be at the station at any given time. The members still held outside employment (occupations were listed along with the names, ages, and nationality in the early CFD annual reports). In the later part of the 1800's firefighters were hired on a full-time (career) basis for all companies.

    Areas that were annexed had a fire company assigned to the neighborhood; usually they only had a hose wagon or reel for apparatus, along with a couple of full-time firefighters. Volunteers from the former neighborhood fire company assisted in firefighting. Because of the speed, or lack of, that existed with horse-drawn apparatus the first due company in outlying areas had to make due for quite some time before any help arrived in the form of a staffed company.

    The last (highest numbered) company on the Cincinnati Fire Department was Company 55 in Hartwell. This village was annexed to Cincinnati in 1913 and had a fully volunteer company until 1920 when the station was closed. I have not been able to determine if the volunteers in Hartwell were the last of their kind within the city but the motorization of the department was completed in 1921 at which time all companies had full-time personnel.

    My vote still goes to Boston for being #1 for having hired any firefighters as an occupation. Use the following link to the page for Engine 3 on the CFD History Site and then scroll down to the bottom of the page and read the paragraph from the Williamsburg Gazette. Fire Companies on CFD History Site.

    I don't recall seeing any data posted that would detail when given cities reached the point where their entire department was fully paid. My guess is that many municipalities maintained a system that was similar to what Cincinnati used.

    The majority of the content on the CFD History site comes from my collection and I also write 95% of the photo captions. If you have any additional questions about the Cincinnati F.D. I will do my best to answer. There is a Forum for questions on the CFD History site. You can access that board here: CFD History Forums

    Sincerely,

    Steve Hagy

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    Default Baltimore's history

    Baltimore, like some of the other east coast cities, pushed out the volunteers when establishing the municipal fire department.

    Volunteer companies were prohibited to respond to fires after the municipal department was established. On the first night a Mechanicsville fire company was arrested for responding to a fire in the city.

    Greenburg, A. S. Cause for Alarm: The Volunteer Fire Department in the Nineteenth-Century City. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.

    ______________

    Steve Hagy, I appreciate the work you do to maintain the Cinncinati fire history. Excellent work!

    Mike

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    This history article was written in the early 90's.


    The Detroit Fire Department's 130 years of flames and heroics

    By Patricia Zacharias / The Detroit News

    On June 11, 1805, a blaze touched off in a stable by a spark from the pipe of a baker's helper, roared through the community of wooden buildings, leveling the century-old city of Detroit. The danger of fire was a constant concern for residents. An ordinance required every citizen to have a full water barrel and two buckets ready. Regular chimney sweeping was ordered as well as having ladders from ground to roof. Often during a blaze, bucket brigades of men, women and children formed to move water from the river to the fire.

    An army of volunteer bucket, ax and battering-ram companies evolved as the boundaries of the city expanded. These volunteer fire companies were loosely knit clubs whose members loved to socialize and dress up in smart uniforms. The city provided hand-operated pumping engines but the firemen were responsible for everything else. Their lack of discipline was notorious; rivalry between the companies bitter.

    In l860, the city fathers hastily hired Detroit's first paid fire fighters, an engineer, five hosemen, two drivers and a foreman to operate the first steam fire engine. The engine cost the city $3,l50 and was delivered from the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company of Manchester, N.H. It was named "Lafayette No. 1" and was housed on the northeast corner of Larned and Wayne streets. Neptune No. 2 steam engine and Phoenix No. 3 were purchased the following year. In l867, an act of the Michigan State Legislature established the Board of Fire Commissioners. The following year, a successful telegraph fire alarm system was installed.

    In 1860 the city of Detroit purchased its first steam-powered firefighting equipment. It had a pumping capacity of 600 gallons and minute and was pulled to fires by two horses. Records show it cost $3,150.

    When the Great Chicago Fire broke out in October of l87l, frantic Chicago officials called for help from a number of cities including Detroit. Engine companies No. 3 and No. 6 were dispatched. They went by freight train to Chicago. The journey took three days to get there because of blocked tracks. They remained in Chicago for ten days.

    Since Detroit grew up along the waterfront, the need for fireboats emerged. The city's first fireboat, the Detroiter, built by the Craig Shipbuilding Company, went into service in the summer of l892. Dry rot set in a few years later. In l902, its fire fighting equipment was transferred to the new steel- hulled James R. Elliot, named after Detroit's second fire chief. The custom of naming fireboats after early chiefs began in l900, when the James Battle joined the Detroiter on the river. Later, Detroit's third fire chief, John Kendall, was honored by a boat built in l930 to replace the Elliot.

    Engine No. 2, purchased by the city in 1861, sits in front of its station on Hastings Street near Congress. The man at the back of the rig held the title of engineer and was required to stay with the engine at a fire to see that the machinery functioned properly.

    In 1948 the Kendall crossed the international border, never considered a barrier in a time of crisis, to help extinguish a spectacular fire raging in the waterfront buildings of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Windsor.

    By l900, the population of the city had grown to 308,000. The fire department consisted of 476 paid firemen, one fireboat, 423 fireboxes, 3,609 hydrants and 76 pieces of horse-drawn equipment.

    It seemed as if the fire horse would remain a vital part of the fire department forever. No one considered it a threat when the first automobile, a Carter two-seater, was purchased in l906. The firemen joked about the ridiculous purchase. They nicknamed it the 'Hustle Buggy'. Other horseless purchases followed.

    The city's first fireboat, the Detroiter, went into service on the Detroit River in 1892.

    The Detroit department acquired the first motor fire engine in the world, a Packard. A fury of objections by firefighters and Detroiters over their beloved horse's replacement continued for several years. The horse, it was argued, was much more reliable. The motorized vehicles were hard-starting and breakdowns too frequent.

    By l922, the age of mechanization had arrived. The future of the fire horse was doomed. The tough decision was made to retire the fire department's horses. On April 10, l922, more than 50,000 people turned out to witness the historic last run. The city's last five fire horses, Pete, Jim, Tom, Babe and Rusty, made their final dash down Woodward Avenue as a make-believe alarm sounded at the National Bank Building. Spectators lining the streets cheered as the fire department's band played 'Auld Lang Syne'. Many in the crowd, according to The News, cried as the horses passed. These last five hooved fire fighters were retired to an "Equine Elysium" in River Rouge Park.

    Over the years, barriers were broken. In l938, Marcena W. Taylor and Marvin White became the first black members of the department. In l952, Taylor became the first black officer. The Fire Commission appointed Taylor Sergeant at Ladder Company No. 4.

    The fire department's horses make their last run down Woodward Ave. in 1922.

    In l976, amidst public outcry, the order came down for the banishment of dog mascots at engine houses. Commissioner Melvin Jefferson argued that dogs might frighten citizens and that legal actions by a "bitten visitor" might follow. The age of "legalese" had arrived.

    The all male uniform force was altered when Sandy Kupper was awarded Badge No. l437 in l978 and instantly became, as she described it, "one of the boys." Sandy was among the first three women in the department's history to graduate from the Fire Academy, and the first of those three to complete the four-month probationary tour.

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    Thank you for adding Providence, RI. I was just about to. Growing up in Providence, I know first hand that Providence considers itself the second oldest paid dept. in the country. Heard it many times, cant confirm it myself, however.

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