Eau Claire Co. WIGenWeb what's new tools photos histories databases home
Histories >  Eau Claire County Historical Accounts >

"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"

Chapter  24 -
Eau Claire Fire Department

by James P. Welsh

Fire Department

(-as transcribed from pages 387 - 399 )

Prior to 1872 Eau Claire was composed of three villages, West, East and North Eau Claire, each under a separate government.  While East Eau Claire was the greatest sufferer from fire in those early days, it appears that West Eau Claire was the most progressive in regard to fire protection.  Eau Claire, dating from the year 1856, down through the years of its infancy and until such a time  when there was some organized effort made for fire extinguishment, suffered greatly from the ravages of fire.

I will herewith review a few fires which in those early days were considered of a serious nature.  On January, 1864, a fire occurred on the corner of Barstow and Eau Claire streets, completely destroying a building occupied by John Horan.  The citizens worked with great energy and finally succeeded in preventing the further spread of the fire.  This was the first fire that occurred on the east side of the river.  The Free Press comments on this fire and points the necessity of a hook and ladder company for this place.  On January, 1866, what was called the Williams block fire occurred, one of the sufferers in this fire was the Free Press, being the second time that they burned out; previous fire occurred in 1864.  On September 27, 1866, the Free Press came out strongly in an editorial urging upon the people to organize a fire department.  On August 8, 1867, Daniel Shaw & Co.'s mill burned, thereby sustaining a loss they could ill afford in those early days.  On October 17, 1867, the Free Press again advocated the organization of a fire department.  November 8, 1867, the Lower mill on the Eau Claire river, owned by Chapman & Thorp, burned.  On January 23 the Free Press again urged some fire protection.  Thursday, May 15, 1869, Eau Claire House barn destroyed; large body of river men succeeded in stopping spread of fire.  On May 27, 1869, a disastrous fire occurred, destroying the two blocks on the west side of Barstow street between Main and Gibson, also one block on the east side of Barstow street between Main and Kelsey (now Grand avenue E.).  A hard fight was successfully made at Main street to stop the fire.  The stop was made at Mommoth Wooden Store of S. Marston, in which the post office was located, S. E. corner of Main and Barstow.  Comment was made by Free Press that a small hand engine might have saved much property; loss estimated at $150,000.00.  June 16, 1869, Johnston Hall building, in West Eau Claire, burned.  H. H. DeYarman, owner.  Insurance, $11,000.00.  September 27, 1869, building opposite Niagara House, in West Eau Claire, occupied by E. C. Monroe harness shop; D. P. Barnes as fanning mill manufacturing; building adjoining the Anthony Schaefer liquor store; extraordinary labor prevented spread of fire.  January 26, 1870, unknown cause of fire in J. P. Nelson's barn.  Business houses destroyed.  E. Robert Hantzsch distillery; Foster & Jones grocery store; Buck & Anderson, hardware; Ed. Munden, grocer; John Moe, jewelry; comment by Free Press, one fire engine could have stopped fire.  This fire was west of Barstow, near Main street.  August 18, 1870, residence of D. Kennedy caught fire.  Capt. Frank Hatch, chief of fire department, LaCrosse, and editor of LaCrosse Leader, happened to be riding by at the time.  He combated the fire successfully.  January 19, 1871, Weber Hall, corner Main and Barstow, building back of hall occupied by Horrigan & Groundwater tailor shop.  G. B. Chapman & Co.'s establishment adjoining on Barstow street, threatened.  Loss, $16,000.00.  June 24, 1871, fire James Nobes' bakery, Gibson street.  Communicated to adjoining structures.  Nearly entire block in ruins.  Nobes' bakery insured for $2,000.00.  White tin shop insured for $3,000.00.  F. R. Skinner frame building on Eau Claire street, insured for $1,650.00.  E. R. Hantzsch saloon, insured for $800.00.  Total, $7,450.

April 24, 1875.  A block of buildings now occupied by the Y. M. C. A. property was entirely destroyed by fire which included the W. H. Bailey paint store; M. E. Stearnes shoe shop; James Black, barber; William Burns, dwelling, and the American House, which was owned by Peter Hart.

May 5, 1975.  Our jail, a large wooden structure located on Doty street between Main and Gray streets, was destroyed.

August 20, 1875.  The Graham & White Co. plant (now the Phoenix Manufacturing Company) burned to the ground.  This plant at that time was located on north side of Eau Claire river, directly opposite the W. H. Hobbs garage.

April 23, 1882.  A fire occurred, entailing the largest loss ever sustained in the city of Eau Claire.  This fire occurred on Water street, completely destroying three blocks of buildings situated between Fourth and Sixth avenues.  Two blocks on the north side and one on the south side of Water street.  Seventy-three buildings were burned, of which thirty-three were business houses, and destroyed property to the extent of $250,000.00.  Fire brands from a steam boat while moving out from its landing at the foot of Fourth avenue ignited rubbish near an oil house and from there spread very rapidly.  Wales Willard, engineer of Fire Engine No. 1, with admirable fidelity to his trust, stood by his engine and worked it effectively upon adjoining property while his own house and shop, a short distance away, caught fire and burned.  No. 1 Engine House was also destroyed in this fire.

Early in the year 1870 three six-gallon fire extinguishers were provided for East Eau Claire, to be kept at the residence of each of the three trustees of the village.  B. J. Churchill was one of the trustees at that time and answered many alarms of fire with the chemical strapped to his back.  In the same year a hand fire engine was purchased by West Eau Claire which proved somewhat of a failure; later (1874) it was sold to Matt Johannes for $7.50, he buying it for his boys to play with.  On January 27, 1871, a new third class Silsby steam fire engine, purchased by West Eau Claire village, arrived amid great rejoicing.  this was the first substantial fire fighting apparatus that was purchased in Eau Claire.  About this time Captain A. M. Sherman was identified with the fire department, also was in charge of the police.  Nathan Rundle was at, or about this time, foreman of our only fire company, located at the site now occupied by No. 5 hose company, the new steam engine was also located there and christened the W. F. Bailey; this was brought about by Mr. Bailey furnishing some funds toward the purchase of the engine.  This engine was given its initial test by taking water at the foot of Fourth avenue and forcing it through 1000 feet of hose and over the Baptist church spire, on the corner of Niagara and Fourth avenue, then they forced water through two lines of hose to a height of eighty feet.  This test took place January 30, 1871.  W. H. Willard was given charge of this engine at this time, he being the first full paid fireman to serve in the Eau Claire Fire Department.  His term of service, dating from January, 1871, to May 6, 1885, at which time he resigned to accept the position of superintendent of our water works system, a position which he still holds.  The W. F. Bailey engine went into reserve in 1885 and was sold January 16, 1900, to the W. S. Nott Co., of Minneapolis, for $500.00.

In the spring of 1872 the three villages were combined and incorporated as a city, with great benefit to all concerned.

May 29, 1872, an appraisement of property owned by the city covered the following fire equipment:  One engine and hose cart, $7,150.00; one engine house, $1,800.00; runway to river and well, $375.00; stove and pipe in engine house, $15.00; firemen's shirts, caps, belts, trumpets, etc., $425.00; one Babcock hand fire engine and hose $000.00.  Total, $9,765.00.    On April 8, 1872, the first officers of the fire department of the city of Eau Claire were elected by the Common Council under the following motions:  On motion of Alderman Deming, William Lea was elected chief engineer.  On motion of Alderman McDonough, John T. Tinker was elected assistant engineer.  On motion of Alderman Bullen, M. J. Argand was elected second assistant engineer.

About the first move towards a fire company on the east side of the Chippewa river was made by the following communication:

April 30, 1873.  Communication from Mr. William Bonell, Sr., foreman of Eau Claire Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, informing Common Council of the formation of the company and asking such action by the council as would place the company upon an efficient working basis.  Referred to committee on fire and water.  Committee reported favorably and on May 7, 1873, Alderman Smith moved that a committee of two be appointed by the Mayor to visit St. Paul in company with Mr. Bonell to examine hook and ladder truck implements and that said committee report thereon at next meeting of council.  Motion carried and his honor the Mayor appointed Aldermen Smith and Kennedy such committee.  A favorable report was reported back and on May 14, 1873, a resolution that the city clerk be and he is hereby authorized to purchase from the city of St. Paul the hook and ladder truck offered by said city to be sold and which was examined by a committee of members of the Common Council of this city upon the terms offered by said city of St. Paul.  Adopted.  Truck received and placed in service shortly thereafter.

I might state here that said truck stood at or near our present government building site, exposed to the weather for about one year; at times it was necessary to chop the wheels out of the ice before it could be moved; finally a shed was provided to protect it from the weather.  May 21, 1873, the officers of the fire department were elected under the following motions:  On motion of Alderman Angel the council proceeded to the election of officers and elected Eugene S. Bullard chief engineer; D. C. Whipple, first assistant engineer, and Arthur Smith, second assistant.  On June 18, 1873, a communication from the Turnvereins, tendering their services to the council as a hand fire engine company for present and for a steam fire Engine company, as soon as the city shall procure another steamer.  Services accepted.  On July 16, 1873, a communication from Chief Bullard urging upon the council the necessity for another hose cart, 1000 feet of hose, a fire-alarm bell, and a heavy team and equipment.  Referred to committee on fire and water.  On August 20, 1873.  Resolved by the Common Council of the city of Eau Claire that the committee on fire and water be instructed to purchase a good horse team, one hose cart and at least 1000 feet of hose immediately on the best terms possible and also to select and purchase a lot in some good central location on the east side of the Chippewa river and build a building of sufficient size to accommodate a new engine and hook and ladder truck recently purchased.  The building to be built of some fire proof material, also to purchase two fire bells for the two engine houses.  Passed and approved August 20, 1873.
George W. Deming,
President of Council and Acting Mayor

C. R. Gleason, Clerk.

On August 20, 1873, the chief of the fire department reported to the council the following officers as elected by the fire department:

Fire wardens:  First ward, Frank McDonough; Second ward, W. A. Teal; Third ward, J. T. Tinker; Fourth ward, Mills Bain; Fifth ward, George W. Deming; Sixth ward, Texas Angel.  Treasurer, W. H. Willard; secretary, H. Slingluff.  Election confirmed by the council October 17, 1873.  Resolved by the Common Council of the city of Eau Claire that the committee on fire and water be and they are hereby authorized to purchase fifty feet front on Eau Claire street by eighty feet deep on Farwell street, of lots five and six of block fifty-nine at a price not exceeding $1000.00, provided perfect title thereto can be had and such terms of payment agreed upon as the city treasurer can meet and that said committee procure proposals for the immediate erection of a foundation and frame of a building thereon of suitable dimensions to accommodate the hook and ladder truck and a steam fire engine and hose cart and the teams necessary to handle the same.  Passed and approved October 17, 1873.
C. R. Gleason, Clerk.          
J. P. Nelson, Mayor.

January 22, 1874, the committee on fire and water reported an agreement entered into between them in behalf of the city and Graham and White Co. for the carpenter work on engine house, which was read and agreement ratified by the Common Council.  The action of October 17, 1873, and of January 22, 1874, was the first move towards the construction of our present city building, and considering the entire absence of mention of city officers, makes it quite evident that the first plans were for a building suitable for fire department purposes only.  April 6, 1874.  The report of the proceedings of the annual meeting of the fire department reporting the election of:  E. S. Bullard as chief engineer; William Bonell, Sr., first assistant engineer; Phillip Fitzpatrick, second assistant engineer; J. H. Minton, secretary; John Joyce, treasurer.  Fire Wardens:  John Hancock, First ward; Elijah Ross, Second ward; Mr. Karlan, Third ward; George Wilcox, Fourth ward; H. G. Stafford, Fifth ward; John Clark, Sixth ward.  Trustees:  James Tarrant, John McCoole and W. H. Willard.  On motion of Alderman Spaulding the election was confirmed by the council.

April, 1874.  At this time the city of Eau Claire bought and placed in the fire service a team of horses; however, they were under the control of the superintendent of streets and during the day were worked anywhere within the limits of the city with the result that they were very often not in evidence when wanted to haul apparatus to a fire.  Frank Ferres was the teamster, he being the second full paid fireman doing service in the Eau Claire Fire Department.  His service was alone one, dating from April, 1874, until his retirement, April 1, 1902.  On May 20, 1874, the committee on fire and water reported the result of its bids received for all mason work on Engine House No. 2; eight bids were received, of which the total cost under four of the lowest, upon an estimate of the amount of each kind of work required, are as follows:  Nelson McNeal, $1,589.80; McCool & Gray, $1,603.45; N. H. Nasher, $1,654.27; Isiah Nauman, $1,707.78.  By Alderman McDonough -- Resolved by the Common Council of the city of Eau Claire that the mason work for Engine House No. 2 be and the same is hereby let to Nelson McNeal, provided he will contract to do as good work in all respects as is done in the Eau Claire Library building, situated upon the south part of lot one, block sixty, plat of village of Eau Claire.  Which was adopted and the clerk directed to have the city attorney draw the contract, therefore,

Resolved by the Common Council of the city of Eau Claire that the committee on fire and water be and they are hereby authorized to purchase a third class steam fire engine and a two wheel horse hose cart for same, capable of reeling one thousand feet, upon the best terms possible.  Passed and approved February 10, 1875.
C. R. Gleason, Clerk.        
G. E. Porter, Mayor.

Another resolution passed at the same meeting authorized the purchase of a two-horse hose cart for No. 1 Engine company (now No. 5).  The carts and engine were purchased.  Engine was named the G. E. Porter, and is at this writing in reserve service in this department.  March 24, 1875.  On motion of Alderman McDonough the election of the following named persons as officers of the fire department was approved:  Chief engineer, Eugene Bullard; first assistant engineer, William Bonell, Sr.; second assistant engineer, John Clark; treasurer, John Joyce; secretary, Phillip Fitspatrick.  Fire wardens:  First ward, John Hancock; Second ward, Joseph Lawrence; Third ward, John Foster; Fourth ward, Noah Shaw; Fifth ward, G. A. Buffington; Sixth ward, Frederick Kutzner.  Approved.

March 31, 1875.  Communication of hook and ladder company No. 1, asking for the control and management of the new steam fire engine, was taken up and considered.  Alderman McDonough moved that the control and management of the fire engine No. 2 be given to hook and ladder company No. 1.  Alderman Leinenkugel moved that action upon said motion be postponed until the next regular meeting, which was lost.  Motion of Alderman McDonough adopted.  April 9, 1875.  The committee on fire and water reported upon the four applications for the position of engineer of the fire engine G. E. Porter, and recommended that the position be given to Charles Cutler.  Adopted.  I might state here that Charles Cutler had charge of Engine G. E. Porter from this date until February 1, 1882; also being the third full paid fireman to take service in the Eau Claire Fire Department.  James Tarrant succeeded Charles Cutler as engineer of the Fire Engine G. E. Porter, hold the position until water works system was installed, thereby retiring the engine.

Free Press of April 10, 1875, had this to say:  The new fire steamer G. E. Porter Thursday had a trial test with the old steamer named W. F. Bailey, previous to the acceptance of the new machine by the city council.  We learn that entire satisfaction with reference to its efficiency was manifested by the committee of inspection, also states that our citizens ought to feel a degree of satisfaction with reference to the efficiency of our fire department.  New Years night of 1875-1876 the firemen held a dance that was patronized by over seventy couple.  Fowler's band furnished the music.  Supper was served at the Peabody House and during or immediately following the banquet Mr. William Bonell, Sr., foreman of the hook and ladder company, was the recipient of an elegant silver trumpet as a testimonial of esteem from his company.  The presentation was made by Alexander Meggett, Esq., in a neat speech and some appropriate remarks in acceptation was made by Mr. Bonell.

On June 1, 1875, Mr. Eugene Bullard tendered his resignation as chief engineer, which, upon referred at this meeting, was accepted June 16, 1875.  On Jun 16, 1875, A. M. Sherman was elected as chief of the fire department.  March 23, 1876.  Communication from the fire department informing the council that the officers elected for said department for the ensuing year were:  Chief engineer, W. F. Cook; first assistant engineer, William Bonell, Sr.; second assistant engineer, Edward Oliver; treasurer, John Joyce; secretary, Phillip Fitzpatrick.  Confirmed.  September 12, 1876.  Secretary W. E. J. Deming submitted the annual report tot he foreman and members of Engine Company No. 1, placing the loss for the year at $38,140.00, and the membership of Engine Company No. 1 as follows:  J. H. Tarrant, I. R. Soath, W. H. Willard, W. E. J. Deming, Jere Murphy, S. F. Benjamin, J. H. Minton, J. J. Merritt, C. E. Bullard, G. T. Rowlings, Frank Lampman, F. H. Green, John Wells, J. W. Kiddell.

This report would indicate a somewhat independent action between the two engine companies at this time. 

February 3, 1877.  Report of Chief Cook gives manual force as follows:  W. F. Bailey, Engine Company No. 1, eleven men; G. E. Porter, Engine Company No. 2, fourteen men; Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, seven men.  Apparatus - Two steamers in good working order; three hose carts, with recommendation that they be changed from one horse to a two horse hitch; one hook and ladder truck in serviceable condition; 1500 feet good hose; 1200 feet inferior hose; 40 alarms with a fire loss of $24,585.00; insurance loss, $19,810.00; insurance on property at risk, $65,320.00.  April 10, 1877.  Council proceeded to the election of officers for the fire department.  Chief engineer, J. H. Tarrant; first assistant engineer, Peter Girnau; second assistant engineer, Frank Buell; treasurer Phillip Yager; secretary, S. F. Benjamin.  Fire wardens - First ward, Thomas Randall; Second ward, W. F. Cook; Third ward, William Bonell, Jr.; Fourth ward, George B. Shaw; Fifth ward, G. A. Buffington; Sixth ward, C. L. James; Seventh ward, Wallace Goff; Eighth ward, Victor Wolf.  Confirmed.  March 20, 1878.  Communication from the fire department stating that at an annual meeting of said department the following officers were elected:  Chief, John T. Tinker; first assistant, J. Heiman; second assistant, E. Oliver; treasurer, Phillip Yager; secretary, Samuel Nauman.  The chief's salary at this time was $50.00 per year.  Confirmed March 19, 1879.  On motion of Alderman Kepler the following officers were confirmed:  Chief, J. C. Churchill; first assistant, John Wells; second assistant, Henry Bradford; treasurer, H. R. Potter; secretary, Daniel Schaffer.

I might state here that J. C. Churchill held the office of chief of the fire department from the above date until May 1, 1887.  In the records of January 18, 1882, we find the report of secretary of department, D. J. Chandler, giving the time of members of Fire Company No. 2 for the year ending January 31, 1882, as follows:  William Moldenhouer, 12 months, $96.00; Fred Rawlings, 12 months, $96.00; Daniel Murphy, 12 months, $96.00; D. J. Chandler, 12 months, $96.00; reported 15 fires, classified as follows:  dwelling fires, 12; hotel, 1; store, 1; warehouse, 1.  Total, 15.  May 2, 1883, the following officers were elected:  J. C. Churchill, chief; T. A. Fletcher, assistant chief; George Stone, secretary; D. J. Chandler, treasurer.

January 3, 1884.  A petition was signed by J. C. Churchill, chief, and by the fireman asking that as they have now been in the service of the city five years the annual salary of each be raised.  That of the chief to be $200.00 and that of the firemen to $144.00.  Referred.  On February 9, 1884, the following salaries for members of the fire department were adopted.  Each fireman shall receive the sum of $13.00 per month for the months of March, November, December, January and February, and $8.00 for the months of April, May, June, July, August, September and October, and that the chief engineer shall receive $200.00 per annum.  April 9, 1885, the secretary reported the following officers elected:  J. C. Churchill, chief; E. Fuller, first assistant chief; F. O. Zimmerman, second assistant chief; Mike Schmitz, treasurer; W. H. Kendall, secretary.  May 6, 1885.  W. H. Willard tendered his resignation as engineer of Engine No. 1.  W. H. Rogers appointed to the position at a meeting of the Common Council held October 7, 1885, a committee was authorized to establish and build additional hose houses No. 1, No. 6, No. 3 and the Shaw Town Service.

March 17, 1886.  The secretary of the fire department reported for confirmation the following named officers elected by the department at its meeting held March 15, 1886:  J. C. Churchill, chief; E. C. Fuller, first assistant chief; J. W. Wayland, treasurer; Frank Zimmerman, second assistant chief; D. J. Chandler, secretary.  February 2, 1887.  Alderman McDonough, chairman of committee appointed to investigate the report of the insurance underwriters, submitted the following recommendation, that the city purchase the hook and ladder truck and hose cart from the Daniel Shaw Lumber Company at a cost of $1200.00.  Truck to be placed in Engine House No. 2.  Also recommended a full paid department.  June 1, 1887.  Alderman McDonough, chairman of committee on reorganization of Eau Claire fire department, submitted the following report:  That the fire department of said city shall consist of one chief, one assistant chief, seven pipemen and six teamsters, located as follows:  Three in No. 1.  Four in No. 2.  Three in No. 5.  Two in O. 6.  One in No. 3.  Also two part paid firemen located at No. 2 and two at No. 3.  The following members were appointed:  George H. Daniels, chief; John McGawan, assistant chief; James Tarrant, Frank Zimmerman, Hugh Forest, James McMahon, Lanis Young, Joseph Eldridge, engineer and pipeman; Frank Ferres, William Seaver, Fred Rawlins, Patrick Kenney, Mike Schmitz, teamsters; William Bonell, Jr., A. Evans, Dwight Chandler, Wilhelm H. Wedemeyer, callmen-pipemen.  Thus a full paid fire department was fairly launched, giving the people of our city the benefit of a more efficient service.  June 15, 1887.  Recommendation of committee on reorganization recommending that the Richmond Fire Alarm Company be given contract for the installing of fire alarm system composed of three circuit No. 12 H. D. copper wire 24 boxes, and other instruments for receiving alarms.  Signed:  Frank McDonough, George A. Buffington, D. A. Cameron, George C. Huebener, George B. Shaw.  December 19, 1887.  Fire alarm system installed and accepted by recommendation of committee and chief of fire department.

Too much credit cannot be given George H. Daniels for the able manner in which he built up the fire departments after its reorganization in 1887.  While all other departments of the city were affected by political conditions from year to year, the fire department, under the guiding hand of George H. Daniels, stood out alone as the one municipal department unaffected by the many political changes of administration.  The committee on reorganization certainly chose wisely and well.  In the year 1897 a state law was passed placing fire departments in all cities of the second and third class under civil service, controlled by a police and fire commission, said commission appointed by the mayor.  Under this law all appointments were subject to the approval of the commission.  On January 1, 1908, a fireman pension law went into effect which provided for pension after twenty-two years' service and which also provided for the widows and orphans of deceased firemen, also provided for a fireman if permanently disabled.

On May 1, 1905, George H. Daniels retired from the fire department after a service of eighteen years.  Shortly after retirement he was appointed to the board of police and fire commissions, in which position he served as president of the board until the time of his death, which occurred July 17, 1912.  On May 1, 1905, Joseph Eldridge, assistant chief, was appointed to the position of chief of the fire department with James P. Welsh, superintendent of fire alarm system, appointed to the position of assistant chief, holding bot positions.  On November 2, 1906, Chief Joseph Eldridge resigned from the positon of chief of the fire department.  On November 2, 1906, James P. Welsh was appointed to the position of chief of the fire department with William Herron, captain of Hose Company No. 6, appointed assistant chief and Walter Ressler appointed to the position of superintendent of fire alarm.

The members of the fire department at the present time are as follows:  James P. Welsh, chief; entered the service November 7, 1889, as pipeman; on November 1, 1891, was appointed to the position of superintendent of the fire alarm system.  On May 4, 1899, was appointed city electrician.  On May 1, 1901, was appointed to the position of fire warden.  On May 1, 1905, was appointed to the position of assistant chief, holding the four positions until November 2, 1906, when appointed as chief of the fire department.

William Herron, assistant chief, entered the service May 13, 1892, as reliefman, retiring April 1, 1893.  Re-entered the service June 1, 1893, as reliefman.  Appointed captain May 1, 1896.  Appointed assistant chief November 2, 1906.  Appointed fire warden November 2, 1906.  At this date holding last two positions.  Walter Ressler, superintendent fire alarm and city electrician, entered the service September 1, 1904, as house watchman, retiring September 25, 1906.  Re-entered service November 8, 1906, to accept above positions, which he holds at this date.  John Dougherty, captain, entered the service May 10, 1890, appointed captain April 1, 1905.  Fred Welsh, captain, entered the service April 1, 1901, appointed captain August 1, 1905.  Joseph Eldridge, captain, entered the service May 1, 1887, appointed assistant chief July 15, 1891, appointed chief of department May 1, 1905.  Resigned from the position of chief November 2, 1906.  Accepted position of captain of No. 6 November 2, 1906.  Mr. Eldridge is the oldest man in point of service in the department, having served in the volunteer days.  Edward Bullis, driver of motor apparatus.  Entered service September 1, 1910.  Edward Golden, driver hook and ladder.  Entered service March 20 1902.  Joseph Robillard, pipeman.  Entered service December 27, 1912.  John Hancock, pipeman.  Entered service February 1, 1893.  Appointed captain September 1, 1904.  Retired from the service August 1, 1905.  Re-entered the service November 1, 1911.  Paul Miley, house watchman.  Entered the service May 1, 1912.  Lawrence Smith, reliefman.  Entered the service April 1, 1912.  William Ward, pipeman.  Entered service November 19, 1906.  Nels Geroux, pipeman.  Entered service September 8, 1901.  Retired February 27, 1903.  Re-entered July 4, 1904.  William Cowan, driver.  Entered the service May 1, 1906.  John Segoin, driver.  Entered service May 1, 1905.  Clarence Chambers, pipeman.  Entered service December 1, 1897.  Retired January 15, 1902.  Re-entered November, 1912.  William Lawrence, driver.  Entered service July 1, 1907.  Joseph Gort, pipeman.  Entered service September 19, 1898.  Retiring August 1, 1908.  Re-entered January 21, 1911.  Edward Farrell, reliefman.  Entered service September 19, 1913.

The department equipment and fire quarters consists at the present time of four hose company's equipped with three hose wagons, horse drawn, 1 hook and ladder truck, horse drawn; 1 hose chemical truck, motor propelled; 1 chief's motor car with chemical equipment; 8 horses; 8000 feet of hose; the old Porter fire engine in reserve.  The fire alarm system has been greatly improved since its first installation and now consists of a first-class gamewell office equipment, which includes an eight circuit storage battery control switch board, one six circuit non-interfering, interlocking automatic repeater, one central office transmitter, one tape register, one tower bell transmitter and one private telephone switch board in addition to this, all hose houses and pump house are equipped with 18-inch gongs, tape registers and department private telephone instrument.  Outside equipment consists of thirty miles of copper wire and 41 alarm boxes.  Our water service for fire purposes is ideal, giving us 120 pounds pressure at hydrant.  We have 450 hyrants [sic] within the city to work from.

A review of the terms of service of the different fire chiefs are as follows:

William Lea
Eugene S. Bullard
A. M. Sherman
W. F. Cook
J. H. Tarrent
John T. Tinker
J. C. Churchill
George H. Daniels
Joseph Eldridge
James P. Welsh
April 8, 1871
May 21, 1873
June 16, 1875
March 23, 1876
April 10, 1877
March 20, 1878
March 19, 1879
May 1, 1887
May 1, 1905
Nov. 2, 1906
May 21, 1873
June 16, 1875
March 23, 1876
April 10, 1877
March 20, 1878
March 19, 1879
May 1, 1887
May 1, 1905
Nov. 2, 1906

Please use this form to search this site:
Site Search by PicoSearch pico

The WIGenWeb Project logo was designed and provided by Debbie Barrett.

DISCLAIMER:  No claim is made to the copyrights of the individual submitters. The contents of this entire website may be used for personal use only by individuals researching their ancestry. Commercial use of this information for profit is strictly prohibited without prior permission of the owners. Other genealogical websites may link to this website; however, permission is not granted to duplicate any of the contents. Anyone contributing material for posting does so in recognition of its free, non-commercial distribution, as well as the responsibility to assure that no copyright is violated by the submission.  This website and its coordinator are not responsible for donations of copyrighted material where explicit written permission has not been granted for use.

copyright footer

Copyright © 1998 - 2012 wigenwebcc
All Rights Reserved
This website was first established on 28 Jan 1998