|Salem Fire Department:
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
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
|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
|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...
|Tiger Engine Company No.
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
|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
|Yew Park Hose Team
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...
|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.
|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.