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Salem Online History This site is provided by Salem Public Library (Salem, Oregon).
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Salem Fire Department
     
Salem Fire Department logo.
 
Chief J. H. Haas
 
Alert Hook & Ladder Company No. 1 lined up with their hook & ladder truck.
 
Capital Engine Company No. 1  Fire Station.
 
Tiger Engine Company was the first of the Salem engine companies to switch to a steam powered fire engine in 1883.
 
Drawing copied from a Salem Fire Department Exempt Certificate, 1884.
 
Salem's paid fire department, 1896.
 
Yew Park Hose Team
 
Salem firefighter Floyd McMullen.
 
A. J. Coss
 
 
Salem Fire Department: An Overview
Salem, Oregon's first fire company, Alert Hook and Ladder was formed in 1857. Alert Hook and Ladder's firefighters fought fire with leather buckets filled with water, ladders, and a few basic hand tools. In 1865, Salem purchased a hand-operated fire engine and 300 feet of leather fire hose to form Capital Engine Company No.1. Tiger Engine Company No. 2. was added in 1869, and Salem Engine Company No. 3 followed in 1883. Tiger Engine Company No. 3 was the first to switch to a steam... Learn More

Salem Fire Department Chiefs
Title of Chief not used : 1857-1864
George Stroud: 1865
Samuel Bass: 1865
John Holman: 1869
John G. Wright: 1871
A. B. Croasman: 1872
J. N. Matheny: 1873
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Alert Hook & Ladder Company No. 1 (1857-1896)
The name of "Alert Hook & Ladder' company was suggested by the Honorable George K. Sheil. Formed on December 4, 1857, Alert Hook & Ladder Company No. 1 battled fires with leather buckets filled with water, hooks (or pike poles) and axes. Firefighters and citizens would form a human chain known as a bucket brigade to bring water from the nearest source to the fire. Learn More

Capital Engine Company No. 1 (1865-1893)
In 1865 firefighting in Salem progressed beyond the bucket brigade with the addition of Capital Engine Company No. 1 (Originally called Webfoot Engine Company No. 1). Now, instead of dipping buckets of water from horse troughs, Salem's new fire engine could lower its suction nozzle into a body of water and draft water into the human powered pump that would send a powerful stream through a nozzle connected to leather fire hose. To provide a reliable water source for the new fire engine, wood-lined water tanks, called cisterns, were dug in strategic locations... Learn More

Tiger Engine Company No. 2 (1869-1893)
Salem's second engine company was originally called Eureka Engine Company No. 2. Four months later, the membership changed the name to Tiger Engine Company No. 2. The name Tiger would remain until Salem's 220 man volunteer force was replaced by 14 paid firefighters and a few volunteer "call men." Learn More

Salem Engine Company No. 3 (1883-1893)
Salem Engine Company No. 3 was created on March 28th, 1883. Equipped with the Hunneman hand pumper from Tiger Engine Company No. 2 and a hose cart, Salem Engine Company No. 3 was the only Salem engine company not to convert to a steam fire engine prior to the formation of the paid fire department in 1893. Learn More


Salem's Paid Fire Department (1893 to 1919)
Salem Fire Department began its move from a volunteer force to a paid force in 1893. The beginning of the end of the volunteer era actually began in 1883 with the introduction of Salem's first steam fire engine. After the introduction of horses to Salem Fire Department in 1889, there was no longer the need for a 220 man force. Because of the labor savings achieved by steam and horse power, the 220 man force was reduced to 14 paid firefighters and a handful of volunteer "call men" in 1893. Learn More

Yew Park Hose Team (1901-1904)
Yew park hose team was Salem's last volunteer engine company, and the last fire company to operate the Hunneman human-powered fire engine. In the picture above a single firefighter is standing in front of a large wheel of the hose cart. To the right of the hose cart is a line of men standing in front of the fire engine; above a row of boys is sitting on the engine's suction hose that is nested above the engine. Formed February 11, 1901 Yew Park Hose Team worked under the direction of the Salem Fire... Learn More

Salem Fire Department Photos
This page contains historic Salem Fire Department photographs. One of the photographs is of Floyd McMullen. Floyd McMullen is the only Salem firefighter to die in the line of duty. Floyd was killed on April 25, 1935 when the Oregon State Capital burned to the ground. Floyd was a Willamette University Student and a volunteer "sleeper" for Salem Fire Department. Other photographs include historic firefighting equipment, like the chemical wagon and quick harness system. Learn More

Photos of the Members of the Salem Fire Department (1896)
This page contains the photograhps of members of the Salem Fire Department in 1896, including Fire Chief A. J. Coss. The other members of this fire department were P. G. Norgran, J. H. Duncan, L. R. Murphy, F. J. Fagan, B. Savage, F. H. Welch, W. H. King, M.H. Savage, H. J. Lehman, E. G. White, and G. Thompson. Learn More
 
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