Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fire Department "Shorts"

Amoskeag Horseless Engine
  In 1897 it was suggested in Buffalo to run a horseless fire engine.  Fire Commissioners Davis, Malone and Grattan accompanied by Chief McConnell departed for Boston December 5th to witness a test of the Amoskeag horseless fire engine.  The Commissioners did not regard it as a desirable thing. It weighed 17,000 pounds and ran on wheels with iron teeth which, it was thought, would ruin some of the fine asphalt pavement.
   The membership of the Fire Department in 1889 was 275 men. The equipment included, twenty one engines(including fire boat), 20 hose wagons, four chemicals, and six hook and ladder trucks, with two steamers and one chemical in reserve.
  In October, 1837, in accordance with a prayer of petition long before presented to the common council by Millard Fillmore and others, a bell was bought and placed on the terrace market, to be used for fire alarms and other emergencies.  This is all that was used until the telegraph fire alarm system was put into use in 1865.
  September 10, 1895, Edward Gardner was the first person in Buffalo to be convicted of turning in a false fire alarm. Fined $50 by Justice King. In November of 1816 a special meeting of trustees was held. The meeting directed the trustees to adopt measures for securing a supply of water for fire purposes, "by means of water courses, aqueducts, reservoirs or otherwise." At the same meeting they were directed to "obtain twenty ladders and two fire hooks;"  and every occupant of a house was required to "provide himself with a good leathern fire bucket, and all chimneys were required to be cleaned every two weeks."

Fire Boat in Action on Buffalo Waterfront

   Like a swan the fire boat W.S. Grattan, September 1, 1900 sped on it's initial trip from it's cradle at Nixons Ship yard, Elizabethport  NJ.  The fireboat was christened the W.S. Grattan, in honor of the Fire Commissioner, as little Miss Lucia Grattan stood at the bow and smashed a bottle of wine on the nose of the boat as it slid down the ways amid the cheering of 1,000 people, and the blowing of many whistles in the Harbor. The Fire Commissioners were all present on the stand, as was also Chief McConnel. The boat is 118 feet long and is built entirely of steel.  She is able to make over fourteen knots, and will crush ice twenty inches thick.

Driver John H. Downing of Engine 13 
Answers an Alarm

Be sure to visit my other fire fighting links: FIRE FIGHTING IN THE HORSE DRAWN ERA post, and the the fire fighting in the horse drawn era special Video Page in the EXTRA EXTRA SECTION in the right hand column.


ajlounyinjurylaw said...

This is incredible firefighting history.

Jerry M Malloy said...

Be sure to visit my other fire fighting links: FIRE FIGHTING IN THE HORSE DRAWN ERA post, and the the fire fighting in the horse drawn era special Video Page in the EXTRA EXTRA SECTION in the right hand column.
Thank you for your comment.