• Pasadena Fire Department

Pasadena Fire Department

  • A Rocky Start

    The firefighters organized, and elected officers. John Mills was President, E.A. Russell, Vice President, J.D. Johns, Sec., H.G. Cogswell, Treasurer, C. Russell, foreman, J.D. Jones, 1st assistant, U.T. Monus, 2nd assistant. The firefighters elected Peter Steil as Chief, but the City Council refused to confirm him because he had been convicted of illegally selling liquor a month earlier, and was under a $150 / month fine. On June 19, 1888, the City Council confirmed the other elected officers, apparently not realizing that 18 members of the Department had quit June 16, 1888 under protest of Peter Steil's non-appointment.

    PFD Fire EngineThe City appointed 19 new members of the Department, and chose Robert Heutig as the first official Fire Chief. Chief Heutig was a full time plumber, however, and could not devote much time to the Department to earn his $10 per month salary. Unfortunately, the rocky times were not over for the Department, and 12 more firefighters quit on August 16, 1888. These also were replaced, and the Pasadena Fire Department was at last truly established. On June 9, 1889 Chief Heutig resigned, and on August, 16 J.D. Jones was appointed as "Foreman and Acting Chief". Mr. Jones was discharged on September 10, and Chief Heutig was re-appointed. That same year, the second engine company was purchased. This rig, a Number 2 Silsby Rotary Steam Engine, was pulled by two to four horses, and weighed 7,725 pounds.

    When the bell on the church was rung, the engine company would gallop up Fair Oaks to Colorado, where the firefighters would run to meet it and jump on, non-stop, to the fire. Although the history books state that the firefighters usually made it, these journals point out that "they were frequently out of breath". On September 10, 1889, the City Council delivered a list of 29 rules and regulations to the Fire Department, including no drinking of liquor at the station, no firefighters permitted to be under the influence of alcohol, no gambling at the station, and a requirement that any firefighter aware of such activities report them to the City Council. These regulations created yet another upheaval in the ranks, and nearly resulted in more resignations.

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