On March 2nd, 1866, after the bustling gold rush port City of San Francisco had burned to the ground not once but twice, the California State Legislature approved “An Act to Establish a Paid Fire Department for the City and County of San Francisco.”
Multiple volunteer companies were in place but had not been able to handle the increasing load of fires in the rapidly growing City.
According to the Department’s Museum and Anniversary organizing group, April 1866 saw 6 Engines, a hose wagon and 2 ladder trailers ordered from back east, costing a jaw dropping $17,655. 17 horses were also purchased and a full time staff was hired.
When incorporated on this day, December 3rd 150 years ago, the apparatus were staffed as follows:
Chief Engineer Frankilin ER Whitney
First Assistant Chief HW Burkes
Second Assistant Chief Charles H Ackerson
Superintendent of Steamers Daniel Hayes
Corporation Yard Keeper Tom Sawyer (A writer friend of his you likely know)
Fire Marshal John L Durke
Each Engine Company was staffed as follows:
8 extra call men
Each Truck was staffed as follows:
12 extra call men
(No Fireman assigned to the Truck…hmmm)
The first 7 months of operation saw 159 working fires.
I always wanted to be part of an organization with a deep rooted history and I think this timing is perfect.
Happy Birthday, San Francisco Fire Department!