enter name and hit return
OUR FIREMEN : THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE
BROOKLYN FIRE DEPARTMENT
COMPANIES OF THE THIRD DISTRICT.
DISTRICT ENGINEER SAMUEL DUFF.
- A BUSY DISTRICT
RESIDENCES, SHIPPING, FACTORIES AND TENEMENTS THICKLY PACKED IN
THE HOME OF THE FIREBOAT
ELEVATED RAILROAD TERMINALS
ENTRUSTED to the companies that guard the interests of the
Third District is the valuable property which, with what is in
the First and Second Districts, completes the water-front of
the Western District of the city. From the East River to
De Kalb Avenue and Fulton Street, and from Fulton Street
to the Navy Yard and Washington Park, includes a district in
which residences, shipping property, factories and tenements
arc thickly packed in, prone to take fire and easy to consume,
and requiring eternal vigilance on the part of the five companies that
protect them. It is in this district that the fire-boat " Seth Low " is at
home, lying at the foot of Main Street, ready for a call from
any point on the water-front as far in both directions as the city line, and
even, in an emergency, from New York. Besides this. Engines Nos. 6, 7, and
8, and Truck No. 3 are stationed in the thickest part of the district,
within the net-work of elevated railroads which have their terminals in this
- DISTRICT ENGINEER DUFF, HIS BRAVE DEEDS AS A LIFE-SAVER
DISTRICT ENGINEER SAMUEL DUFF.
SAMUEL DUFF, District Engineer in command of the Third District, has spent a
life-time in service as fireman, and has a banner record as a life-saver.
He was born in the Sixth Ward about forty-two years ago and has stuck to
that ward and attended its public schools. As a boy he shared the prevalent
admiration for the red-shirted firemen of the Volunteer Department and as
soon as he reached a suitable age he joined, with other young men, in the
organization of Hook and Ladder Co. No. 6, in the house on Hicks Street,
near Degraw. formerly occupied by Neptune No. 2. James Dunne, the present
keeper of the City Hall, was Foreman, and Mr. DUFF Assistant Foreman. When
the new Department was organized he became a member of Engine Co. No. 3,
located in the same neighborhood, and became its Foreman on Jan. 1, 1870.
Further promotion came very near to him in 1885, when Engineers FANNING and
MCGROARTY were promoted, his percentage in the examination being equal; but
the number of vacancies being limited, circumstances necessitated his
awaiting another opportunity, much to his disappointment and the regret of
his appreciative superiors. But his turn came soon and on Dec. 1, 1887, he
was made District Engineer and placed in charge of the district he now
commands. His deeds of bravery have been numerous and have made M Sammy
DUFF" famous in the Sixth Ward, and indeed throughout South Brooklyn. A few
of them should be mentioned. At a fire at No. 515 Henry Street, on May,
1870, an old lady named Corn, unable to escape, was left in the burning
building. Learning of her perilous position on his arriving on the scene.
Foreman DUFF with his company made a good fight to reach her, and succeeded
so far as to bring her out alive, though her burns were so serious that she
died a few hours later. In making this rescue Foreman DUFF was
himself severely burned. On July 4, 1876, he fought his way through the
smoke to Mrs. Brown, whose escape from No. 318 Court Street had been cut
off, and though nearly suffocated he brought her in safety to the street.
On Sept. 19, 1879, he rescued Emma MCCANN from the top floor of the
three-story house. No. 43 President Street, where she had been left by the
fleeing inmates of the house. At the fatal burning of the old glass house
on State Street, in 1885, where thirteen lost their lives, he had his
company early on the ground and he was the first to realize the extent of
the terrible calamity. It was to the prompt efforts of himself and his men
that many of the rescued owed their lives. Perhaps his most signal service
as a saver of lives was the rescue of James CONNELLY, a young man who, on
July 22, 1882, was doomed, but for Mr. DUFF's interposition, by having his
escape from the top floor of the four-story building at Court and Nelson
Streets cut off entirely by the burning away of the staircase. The fire
originated in a grocery store on the ground floor and it soon swept upward
and involved the whole building in flames. Foreman DUFF exposed himself to
the greatest danger in effecting his rescue, but happily it was accomplished
without accident, either to himself or to the rescued man. Mr. CONNELLY
and his friends were profoundly grateful for this service, and they
generously acknowledged it by presenting to the brave fireman a handsome
gold watch, suitably inscribed. Engineer DUFF has hosts of friends all
over Brooklyn, and especially in South Brooklyn, which has been the scene of
his services and his heroism.
- ENGINE COMPANY NO. 6, ONE OF THE EARLY ORGANIZATIONS IN THE NEW DEPARTMENT
Among the first of the city's engine-companies to be organized on the
establishment of the present Department was Engine Company No. 6. The order
creating the organization was issued Sept. 15, 1869, and on the following
day the men reported for duty at the quarters which they have since occupied
at No. 14 High Street. PATRICK LAHEY was selected for the honor of being the
company's first Foreman, and the choice proved to be an excellent one, for
he served with signal success for a period of twenty-five consecutive years,
lacking a few months, and until transferred, on March 24, 1890, to be
Foreman of Engine Company No. 24. Engine No. 6 is located in a two-story
brick building, 20 x 80 feet, which from time to time has been repaired and
refitted to accommodate it to the continued improvements in the methods of
fire fighting. Like most of the old fire-houses, it is now badly adapted
to the wants of a modem Department, and with the progress of the Bridge
Terminal improvements will probably soon be razed to the ground. A new
site will be chosen for the location of the new engine-house and when it is
built it will be a structure wanting in nothing that goes to make the
equipment of a first-class engine-company of the present day. In interior
arrangement, the present house varies but little from the others in the city
of the same size and general character. The apparatus-room is, of course, on
the ground floor, and there also are comfortable stalls for the splendid
team of grays that draw the engine and the handsome sorrel for the tender.
Upstairs are the sleeping apartments, bath and drying room and clothes lockers.
Foreman JAMES SMITH, who came to this company from Engine No. 22, on March
24, 1890, when Foreman LAHEY was transferred to Engine No. 24, is a veteran
fireman. He was born in Ireland, July 17, 1846, and came to this country in
time to be made a member of Truck No. 1, on Sept. 15, 1869. He did not
join the Department as a stepping-stone to some more lucrative position, but
from a love of the calling, and having quickly mastered the details of his
duties he performed them with zeal and fidelity and was frequently commended
by his superior officers for his efficiency. These, and the other
qualities that go to make a good fireman, brought him his reward in time.
It came on July 1, 1885, in the form of a promotion to the Foremanship of
Engine No. 22.
There the characteristics that marked him as a fireman were more pronounced
as a Foreman, and it was much to the regret of his old command that for the
benefit of the Department he was transferred in 1890 to the charge of Engine
No. 6 as Foreman. He is an exemplary fireman and a devoted husband and
father. He lives with his wife and children at No. 14 Hicks Street.
Engineer JAMES LAHEY is also built on the lines of a model fireman. He is
a born Irishman as well as a born fireman, and first saw the light Sept. 22,
1838. He reached America when the first shots on Sumpter were
reverberating over the land and calling patriots to arms. He quickly saw
where duty called and enrolled himself under the Stars and Stripes in the
navy, where for four long years the Union had no truer hearted defender than
the young Irishman. When the war was over and there was no more fighting
to be done against the country's enemies, Mr. LAHEY entered in the lists to
fight against the element that daily threatens homes, and on Sept. 14, 1869,
he received his appointment as a member of Engine No. 6. Though no longer
youthful. Engineer LAHEY is one of the youngest old men in the Department,
and it is the wish of his associates that it may be a long time before he
fails to hear the alarm to which he responds now with alacrity.
DAVID O'KEEFE, of No. 9 Adams Street, the driver, was born in New York City,
July 4» 1859. and although only in the Department since March 21, 1888, he
is an indispensable adjunct to Engine No. 6. He handles the reins
cleverly, and when the call to a fire is sounded nothing can be heard on
Fulton Street above the clatter of the hoofs of O'KEEFE'S iron gray team.
MICHAEL H. BOYLE was born in Ireland, Nov. 16, 1851, and early in life chose
Brooklyn as his future home. He was appointed and assigned to Engine No. 6
on Nov. 12, 1880. He has a comfortable home at No. 104 Concord Street.
GEORGE W. GURNELL, of No. 128 Raymond Street, was born in New York City on
May 8, 1845, and at the outbreak of the Civil War joined the Union army, and
fought in many of the principal battles of that bloody strife. On April 1,
1890, he was appointed a fireman, and assigned to Engine .No. 6, where he
has proved himself to be an excellent fireman.
JOHN M. CONNELL, whose home is at No. 109 Rapelyea Street, was born in
Louisville, Ky., April 28, i860. He was appointed July 21, 1890, and
assigned for duty with Engine No. 6, where during his two years of service
he has gained an excellent reputation for himself.
PATRICK F. MCLAUGHLIN. who has been a resident of this city all his life,
and at present lives at No. 46 Hicks Street, was born Sept. 18, 1865. He
was appointed on Aug. 1, 1890, and assigned to Engine No. 6, and he is now
considered one of the best and bravest in the Department.
THOMAS F. FARRELL, who lives at No. 114 Johnson Street, was born in this
city, March 3, 1849. He served all through the war with the 28th N. Y.
Vols. He was appointed a fireman, March 1, 1884, and assigned to Engine
No. 6 for duty. On the morning of Jan. 10, 1892, with the assistance of a
citizen, he rescued Mr. and Mrs. RAYDER from the third floor of a burning
building at No. 39 Henry Street.
FRANCIS RILEY, who lives at No. 35 Middagh Street, was born in New York
City, Sept. 7, 1845, and at the outbreak of the war enlisted in the army and
fought in both the battles of Bull Run and also at Antietam and Gettysburg.
He was appointed a fireman in Oct 1, 1875, and assigned to Engine No. 6,
where he still performs his duty with the same energy that he displayed when
he went to the front.
JAMES WRIGHT, who resides at No. 325 Tenth Street, was born in England, July
12, 1839. He came to this country a short time before the war, and
enlisted in the 13th N. Y. Vols., and fought at the battles of Bull Run and
Vicksburg. On Jan. 23, 1887, he was appointed a fireman, and assigned to
Engine No. 6, where he has served without interruption.
JAMES A. JONES was born in this city, Jan. 28, 1866, and was appointed a
fireman on March 12, 1891, Engine No. 6 being his original assignment He
lives at No. 310 Water Street. At a fire in a building on the corner of
Myrtle Avenue and Bridge Street he was seriously injured. He started up a
ladder on the Myrtle Avenue front. When he reached the top round the ladder
slipped, and Jones fell into a pile of broken glass and the heavy ladder
fell on him; he was taken home in an ambulance, and it was several weeks
before he could return for duty.
JOHN KEENAN, who lives at No. 66 Columbia Street, was born in this city June
24, 1865, and was appointed a fireman on Dec. 10, 1891. He was assigned to
Engine Co. 6, and has done good work.
- ENGINE COMPANY NO. 7 AND ITS ONE VETERAN
ENGINE COMPANY NO. 7.
Of the sturdy band of firemen who, on the morning of Sept 15, 1869, reported
for duty at the old house of Volunteer Engine No. 6, at No. 245 Pearl
Street, to be reorganized under the name of Engine Company N0.7, of the new
Department, but a single man is a member of the company to-day, and he came
very near losing his life by being buried under a falling wall at the Smith,
Gray & Co's fire. This is Assistant Foreman John MALLON. The original
company comprised the following nine men, the picked firemen of Volunteer
Engine No. 6:
William HAGEN, Foreman;
William CUNNINGHAM, Engineer;
Charles FOUGH, Stoker and Fireman;
Of these Foreman HAGEN, Stoker FOUGH and Foreman McSHANE and SMITH are dead, and all
the others, except Fireman MALLON, have left the Department, and are now
following other occupations. No. 7 is located in what has come to be known
as the " firebug ' district, where Firebug MILLER and others of his kind
gave scope to their villany, starting fires to see the engine run. Whether
from the constant danger of incendiarism, or for what other cause, certain
it is that the men of No. 7 have achieved the enviable distinction of being
quicker to get to work than any company in the district. They have even
been known to. take engines out of their district to distant fires, and, on
the whole, their record in this respect is a glorious one.
The men are comfortably housed in an old but a substantial three-story brick
building, which covers a lot 25 x 80 feet. The ground floor is devoted to
the engine and its tender, and as District Engineer Samuel DUFF makes the
building his headquarters his wagon is ever in readiness for instant use.
The four horses are quartered in stalls in the rear, and "Bob" and "Terry"
composing the intelligent gray team for the engine are great pets with the
men. On the second floor besides the dormitory is the District
Engineer's room, and there is no better collection of portraits of
Brooklyn's most celebrated fire-fighters extant than is to be found there.
On the third floor are the firemen's lockers, the drying-room and the
bathroom. The history of No. 7 is the history of the men who for nearly a
quarter of a century have added to its lustre and its fame in the Department
by attention to duty that has frequently provoked the admiration of the
public, and calls for the warmest commendation of the Commissioner.
WILLIAM A. HAGAN, the first Foreman of the company, recently passed over to
the silent majority, after having earned an honorable retirement by over
twenty-one years of service.
He was succeeded in 1890 by the present Foreman, JAMES ROBERTS, who is now
about forty years of age. and in the prime of a robust manhood. He was
born in Ireland, July 21, i852, and entered the Department on April 15.
1878. After a service of eight years, which was marked by a conscientious
discharge of his duty as a fireman of Engine No. 8 he was promoted to the
Foremanship; and after a brief service in the same capacity on Truck No. 3,
he was transferred, in 1886, to the position he now so acceptably fills.
Assistant Foreman JOHN MALLON is a native of York. Pa., where he saw the
light on New Year's Day. 1846. His training for the heroic duties of a
fireman was under the Stars and Stripes on the battle-fields of the Civil
War, and the return of peace found him one of the most enthusiastic members
of the old Volunteer Department When selections were being made for
appointment to the Paid Department, MALLON's name was one of the first to be
mentioned, and he has served continuously since the organization of the
Department. He has had some narrow escapes, but none that came so near
being a final summons as that he received at the Smith. Gray & Co. fire,
where his leg was broken and he was almost buried alive by the falling of a
wall. He was rescued by his companions, but for a long time was on the sick list.
Engineer JOSEPH R. REYNOLDS is a native Brooklynite and was a baby at the
outbreak of the war, for he was born on March 18, 1861. He has always
lived in the vicinity of the engine-house and his boyish ambition was to be
a fireman. He was appointed to Truck No. I on Sept. 2, 1883, and after
excellent service with Engine No. 3 he was made Engineer and transferred to
No. 7 in 1885. He is just the man for the place, steady, cool-headed and
not easily excited; and with his hand on the lever, No. 7 is always handled
with consummate skill. But without a nervy, courageous driver what signifies
the skill of an engineer, the judgment of a Foreman or the willing courage
of the men ? In this as in other things No. 7 is blessed, for it is the
boast of ARTHUR JOHNSON, the man who holds the reins over No. 7's grays, and
it is stoutly corroborated by most of the men, that it's a very rare
occasion when No. 7 fails to secure the hydrant nearest any fire to which
she is summoned. Driver Johnson is an Irishman, whose love of his adopted
country carried him into the navy for three years during the war. When the
war was over, JOHNSON was attracted by the courage of the boys of old
Washington Engine No. 1, and deciding that they were just the kind of
spirits for him to train with, he cast his lot with them. He shared all
their trials and successes until the organization of the Paid Department,
when he received his appointment and was assigned to Engine No. 6. He
was made driver of No. 7 in 1873, and the scars he bears from the war are
trifling compared with the evidences that his body bears of duty well done
in the Fire Department.
In Oct. 1881, he was almost roasted alive at the fire at the Ansonia Clock
Company's works. It was a three-alarm fire and a bad one, and when JOHNSON
responded to the third-alarm he was ordered to drive by the fire, which was
then burning fiercely. He made the attempt, but was caught by a sudden
rush of the flames. He was rescued, but was frightfully burned and one of
the horses had to be shot on the spot. In 1886 came his next serious
accident, when in driving to a fire in Smith Street he was thrown from his
seat and had his arm broken, not to speak of other serious injuries. Four
years later a vicious horse came very near relieving No. 7's driver
permanently from duty. The horse first kicked Driver JOHNSON into
insensibility and then proceeded to trample on him. After a long siege in
the sick-bay Driver JOHNSON had earned a rest and he was made the driver of
the District Engineer's wagon, which duty he still performs.
Another of No. 7's boys who had a narrow escape from death in the line of
duty is JAMES J. FULLERTON. It was at the terrible fire in the Planet
Mills on April 13, 1889, and though at that time given up for lost and only
nursed back to life by two months' tender care in the Methodist Episcopal
Hospital, Fullerton is now ready to again risk his life when duty calls.
At this fire Fullerton, then a member of Truck No. 1, was caught in the
second story with other firemen and almost blinded by the dense smoke:
he fell through an open hatch while groping his way to a window. He
received a compound fracture of the skull and he had a half-dozen ribs
broken. Fireman Fullerton was transferred to Engine No. 7, in Nov., 1890.
He was born in Brooklyn, on Nov. 10, 1854, and he has been a fireman since
Dec. 15, 1885.
JAMES FAY, one of the best men in the ranks of No. 7, came very near losing
his life at the disastrous fire which attacked the W. C. Vosburgh
Manufacturing Company's plant at No. 273 State Street, on May 5, 1884. Fay
was at the time attached to Engine No. 5 and there was a terrific explosion
caused by the collection of gases in an archway under the street. FAY was
thrown twenty feet and landed in a mass of debris, sustaining a broken wrist
and other serious injuries. After two weeks in the care of the doctors at
the Long Island College Hospital he was convalescent and returned to duty.
Fireman FAY was born in Ireland, on Dec. 15, 1843, and he has been a fireman
since Feb. 7, 1872, the greater part of the time with Engine No. 5. In
1888 he was transferred to No. 7, and he is popular with his officers and
WILLIAM H. DENNIN
Another of No. 7's men who has had a very close call is WILLIAM H. DENNIN,
who on account of his admirable qualities was chosen for the responsible
post of driver when the veteran Arthur JOHNSON was nearly killed and
incapacitated for duty. Early in 1890, when responding to an alarm from
Box 137, there was a collision at the corner of Pearl and Hilary Streets and
very much to DENNIN's surprise his machine stood up on its hind legs, so to
speak, and turned over on its side. The seat is not the safest place in
the world when an accident of that kind happens, and DENNIN was a little
late in extricating himself. The result was a bad fall, a cracked skull
and various contusions and bruises, from all of which DENNIN has long since
completely recovered. DENNIN is a native Brooklynite. He was born on Nov.
5. 1852, and has been a fireman since Oct. 1, 1883. He was first assigned
to Engine No. 2, but was transferred to No. 7 on Jan. 10, 1885, and since
then he has handled the lines over one of the best teams
in the Department.
JAMES RILEY has shared the fortunes of No. 7 for over twenty-one years, and
he is a veteran fireman as well as a veteran Jack tar, and so equally at
home with fire or water. He was born in Brooklyn, on Oct. 5, 1844, and in
the first year of the war he enlisted for three years in the navy. With an
honorable discharge and some ugly marks to remember the rebel gunners by, he
came back to Brooklyn and joined the old Volunteer Department. When the
Paid' Department was organized he was appointed and assigned to Engine No.
6, doing good service there until April 5. 1871, when he was transferred to
No. 7. Riley is a man of cool judgment and desperate courage when the
FRANCIS I. McCANN is another veteran fireman and veteran of the war who is
enrolled with Engine No. 7. He, too, is a Brooklynite, and after returning
with his regiment from the battle fields of the South he ran with old
Volunteer Engine Company No. 7, whose house was in Front Street, near
Bridge. He was appointed to the regular Department in 1875, and has done
duty with No. 7 ever since. He enjoys the distinction of having been born
on St. Patrick's Day, 1836, and thus is well on to his sixtieth year. He
is a man who can always be relied on in an emergency.
TIMOTHY RYAN is also a veteran member of No. 7, for he was appointed on May
28, 1870, and has seen over twenty years of active service with that
company. He was born in Ireland, on Jan. 18, 1844, and is still in his
WILLIAM HAMILTON has been on duty with No. 7 since his appointment on Nov.
9, 1884. He was born in Brooklyn on Dec. 28, 1850, and bids fair to be
hale and hearty for many years to come.
JAMES MULDARY is comparatively a young man, having been born in Brooklyn on
March 31, 1865. He has been a faithful member of No. 7, since Dec. 3, 1888.
JOHN I. DONOHUE is another of the young and active members of No. 7. He
was born in Brooklyn, on Jan. 24, 1860, and has been with the company since
his appointment on July 15, 1889.
MICHAEL J. CONDRON was born in Ireland, Feb. n, 1868, and was appointed and
assigned to No. 7, on March 12, 1891. He is an apt pupil of the old
fire-fighters and promises to emulate some of their deeds when the
WILLIAM A. RYAN was born in Brooklyn, on Nov. 20, l868. He was a boxmaker
by trade when he was appointed, a fireman on July 1, 1892.
- ENGINE COMPANY NO. 8, PROTECTORS OF THE NAVY YARD
ENGINE COMPANY NO. 8.
Engine Company No. 8 was organized on Sept. 15, 1869. The house provided
for them was a two-story frame structure which stood on the site of their
present commodious quarters on Front Street, near Bridge. For two years
the members of the company made themselves as comfortable as possible in the
little wooden building.
Then the city erected for them a handsome four-story building and fitted it
up in a manner which made it what at that time was considered a model house
for a fire-company. The house is yet, according to the statements of
members of the company, one of the most comfortable in the city, and they
are perfectly contented with it. The old building, prior to the formation
of No. 8, was the quarters of Constitution No. 7, of the Volunteer
Department, and some of old Constitution's men are now members oft
No. 8. The members of No. 8 are a bright, active, well-built and
courageous lot of men, and they are credited with having done some
excellent work at the many big fires which have claimed their attention
since they became members of the Department.
Their first engine was a "U " tank. This was soon found to be too small
for the work required of it, and it was exchanged for a Clapp & Jones
steamer. Two years later this was replaced by an Amoskeag engine, one of
the first introduced in the Department. At the present time they have a
first-class Amoskeag, which weighs 8,100 pounds. "Harry" and "Jim," two
fine dapple bay horses, furnish the locomotive power when the engine is in
transit to and from fires. "Tom " a chestnut sorrel, seventeen hands high,
rattles the two wheeled hose-cart along with surprising speed.
The first big fire to which the company was called was at Conklin's lumber
yard which covered nearly the entire block bounded by Pearl, Plymouth and
John Streets. The loss was over $200,000 on May 10' I872, the company worked
twenty hours on a fire at the sugar refinery, foot of Gold Street. The loss
was $300,000. In the summer of 1875, they did some excellent work at
Baxter's paint works on Jay Street. Among the other large fires at which
No. 8 rendered valuable services, were those at the Averill Paint Works, on
Water Street on Dec. 6, 1872; at ex-Alderman RUGGLES's wallpaper and button
factor, on Oct 21, 1884; in the Equpipment Department of the Navy Yard, on
Jan. 6, 1888; at the carpet works at Front and Washington Streets on Jan. 6,
1883; at Campbell & Thayer's linseed oil factory on Pearl Street, on May 13,
1877; at Harbeck's stores, Nov. 13, 1884, at Havemeyer's sugar refinery in
1882; at Pond's Extract factory; at the Brooklyn Oil Refinery; at the
Gowanus Oil Works and E.B. Bartlett's Central grain elevator, Nov. 13, 1888.
The damages at these fires ranged from $100,000 to $800,000. One of the
worst fires with which the company had to contend was in the Arbuckle Coffee
and Spice Mills at the foot of Adams Street in 1883. For eighteen hours
they battled with the flames. It was a stubborn fire, and the fight was
against the brave men, who never left their post until the building was
burned to the ground. In their work at this fire several of the men had
their hands badly cut by falling glass. The damage to the building and
stock was estimated at $200,000. A paper box factory which stood on the
same site had been burned in 1881. The company also did some excellent work
at the fire at the Pierrepont stores, on Sunday, Jan. 26, 1890, when the
full-rigged iron ship "Pythomene," ladden with jute butts and linseed meal,
was totally destroyed. On that occasion several firemen came very near to
From the date of its organization until July 18, 1892, a period of almost
twenty-three years, the Foreman of No. 8, was James WALSH. The proper place
for a sketch of his life is now among the District Engineers, and his
services will be found chronicled as the responsible chief of the newly
created Tenth District, of which he was placed in command when he was
promoted on the above date. But the history of No. 8 would be incomplete
indeed without mention here of the long service as its Captain of District
Engineer James WALSH.
Pending the appointment of a successor to Foreman Walsh, the command of the
company devolved on Assistant Foreman JOHN McCOLE, who was born in Ireland
on March 7, 1837. He is married, and is the father of eleven children,
four of whom are living. He lives at No. 113 Jay Street. As a member of
the Volunteer Department, he had some thrilling experiences while attached
to Constitution Engine No. 7. He is a retiring man, and dislikes to talk
about himself, even to his most intimate friends.
Although he never has been injured in the discharge of his duty, it has been
through good luck, for he has many times been in perilous positions while
doing his part toward saving valuable property. He severed his connection
with the Volunteer Department on Sept. 15, 1869, when he received his
appointment to the Paid Department and was assigned to duty with Engine No.
8. His valuable services as an ordinary fireman, and strict attention to
duty led to his promotion to the grade of Assistant Foreman on March 1, 1887.
Engineer FRANCIS J. QUAL, JR., was born in this city, on Aug. 25, 1884, and
was appointed to the uniformed force on Dec. 3, 1888. He was promoted to
the grade of engineer on Feb. 16, 1891, and assigned to his present
position. He is a very able, careful man in the discharge of his duty, and
is highly esteemed by his superior officers.
BARTLEY GUNNING sits on the driver's seat of Engine No. 8 and guides the
horses "Harry " and " Jim." He was born in Ireland, on May 10,1846, and
was appointed to the force on Sept. 15,1869.
WILLIAM E. DOLAN was born in this city, on Feb. 27, 1861, and received his
appointment to the uniformed force on Feb. 27, 1885. He distinguished
himself about two years ago, at York and Jay Streets, when by his promptness
and coolness he saved Lung FOO, a Chinese laundryman, from being killed by a
live electric wire, which in its fall had struck the Chinaman and knocked
him down. Mr. DOLAN never speaks of the affair, but his comrades take
pleasure in praising him for the brave act. He is at present detailed as a
lineman at Fire Department Headquarters.
SAMUEL BURNS was born in Brooklyn, on Nov. 7, 1845, and was appointed a
fireman and assigned to Engine No. 8 on Sept. 15, 1869. At present he is
detailed at Fire Headquarters as a telegraph operator.
JOSEPH G. GREEN was born in New York City, on March 14, 1840, and was
appointed to the force Aug. 15,1870, and assigned to duty with Engine No. 8,
in the capacity of engineer. He is at present detailed at the
ALEXIS R. LAVIGNE was born in Lowell, Mass., on Nov. 2, 1857, and became a
member of the Fire Department on Sept. 17, 1883. He is detailed at present
as lineman at Fire Headquarters.
WILLIAM SCHIEBEL was born in this city, on Oct. 27, 1868,'and was appointed
a fireman on Nov. 16, 1891.
THOMAS P. CONNOLLY was born in England on Dec. 26, 1853, and entered upon
his career as a fireman Feb. 1, 1887. Prior to becoming a member of Engine
No. 8, he did duty with Engine Company No. 5.
JAMES BRIDGES was born in this city, on Nov. 26, 1870. He is a fine
stalwart young fireman, and his ambition undoubtedly will receive its reward
in due time. He was appointed Nov. 15, 1891.
JOHN GILLEN is a native of Brooklyn and was born on Jan. 17, 1855. He
entered upon the career of a fireman on May 1, 1881, and has done duty
faithfully since he first stepped into his present position.
JAMES H. QUINN also was born in this city, his natal day being Oct. 27,
1864. He became a fireman on May 20, 1889.
JOHN VIRTUE hails from Boston, Mass., in which city he was born on April 7,
1856. It was on June 19, 1882, that his name was enrolled on the blotter of
Engine Company No. 8. He is a thoroughly efficient fireman.
This completes the roll of membership of Engine Company No. 8. They are,
all in all, a fine body of men, and their standing in the Department as a
company is A 1. They have done good work and are ready to do more, no
matter how perilous it may be, whenever the big gong in the engine-house
summons them to battle with the flames.
Among the large buildings within the district covered by Engine Company No.
8 on a first-alarm are those of Boerum & Pease, manufacturers of fine
stationery and books ; the Brass Rolling Mills; Campbell & Thayer's paint
works; the Empire Storage Company; the Consolidated White Lead Works;
Arbuckle Coffee and Spice Mills; Robert Gavi's paper box factory, and the
Navy Yard buildings.
- ENGINE COMPANY NO. 23, THE FIRE FIGHTERS AFLOAT
ENGINE COMPANY NO. 23. (FIREBOAT "SETH LOW.")
There is no engine-company in Brooklyn of which the city is more Justly
proud than No. 23, known as the fireboat "Seth Low." It is only within the
last seven years that Brooklyn has had a fireboat in its Department, but
within that time the boat has done such work that every citizen is proud of
her and of her achievements.
On Jan. 1, 1886, the "Seth Low" --technically Engine Co. No. 23, went into
commission, being then stationed at Harbeck's stores, near the head of
Furman Street. James CONNELL was her first Foreman, and on June 1 of the
same year he was succeeded by Foreman John FINN, who held the position until
Dec. 1, 1891, when Edward DOUGHERTY, the present Foreman, took charge of the
boat. Although the "Seth Low " had several stations during the first
eighteen months of her existence, she settled down on July 3, 1887 to her
present station at the foot of Main Street, and it is from this station that
she has done her most praiseworthy work as a protector of property and
lives. " The Low," as she is familiarly called, has a firecrew of eleven
men: one Foreman, an Assistant Foreman, four engineers and six firemen.
Beside-this uniformed crew she has two pilots, Joseph DELANEY and John R.
HUGHES, and four stokers, these men being necessary for the proper handling
of the boat, while her crew fight fires.
The " Seth Low " was built of wood by Trundy & Murphy, at the foot of Smith
Street, South Brooklyn, in 1886. After her hull was launched she was towed
over to Jersey City where her engines, built by Brown & McWilliams, were put
in. It is claimed by the engineers who have handled her ever since her
trial trip that for her equation of power and displacement the " Seth "
rivals any boat of her size afloat.
She is a twin propeller with two single-acting engines that may be used as
either high or low pressure engines as the exigencies of the occasion may
demand. Her cylinders are sixteen inches in diameter with an eighteen-inch
stroke. The boat itself is ninety-nine feet and six inches over all, with
twenty-three feet beam and nine feet draught with her coal-bunkers full.
She is all wood, copper-fastened and copper-bottomed to her water-line.
Red and black are the prevailing colors on her freeboard and upper works,
but there is so much brass about her that the black trimmings are almost
lost in the flashes of gold.
Outside of her appearance the " Seth Low " is what seafaring men call a "
sweet boat"; that is, she is well-balanced, a good sear-boat, and handles
easily, although she has not the modem steam-steering gear that her other
equipments would presuppose. On deck she is much like an ordinary sea-going
tug, her pilot-house and upper works being of the usual pattern. Below
deck she is made for fighting fire. Her engine and pump rooms take up most
of the space,, although there is a small officers' forecastle for the
officers, and, abaft the engine-room, bunks for four men. Alongside the
engine-room are the coal-bunkers, within handy reach of her stokers, and it
is no idle boast that a lady could handle every joint of the engine or pumps
without soiling a pair of white kid gloves, for everything is bright and dry
and clean. The business end of Engine Company No. 23 is forward of the
"Seth Low's " beam. That is where the big pumps are. These pumps are
probably as fine as any afloat. They were built by Clapp & Jones of
Hudson, N. Y., and have at the end 15% inches diameter and a ten inch
stroke. At the water end the diameter is eight inches and the stroke ten,
the steam end difference increasing the capabilities of the pumps in almost
geometrical ratio.. As a reasonable criterion of what these water-carriers
can do, it must be remembered that to pump a few million gallons into the
hold of a vessel or into a blazing warehouse at the water's edge is counted
but an ordinary job. The pumps worked at their full capacity can throw no
less than 3,500 gallons of water in sixty seconds, or 210,000 gallons in an
hour. This mass of water can be delivered in more than a dozen ways.
Foremost of all, as the boat lays, is the water-tower, with a diameter at
the nozzle of three and one-half inches. This stream alone can be thrown
at least 250 feet, and when it is considered that the average land
fire-engine uses a nozzle from one to one and one-half inches in diameter,
the worth of this marine water-tower may be imagined. Arranged in the
form of a horseshoe and just forward of the pilot house is what is called
the " battery" This battery consists of twelve separate connections, all
three and one-half inches, but capable of being reduced to two and one
half inches at the battery if more force should be needed. Aside from this
reduction are "Siamese connections," revolving nozzles, and other modem
means of scattering water over fire. Should the fire be in the hold. of a
ship, where no access-can be gained without cutting open decks and feeding
with air a fire that ought to be smothered, the fireboat is equal to the
occasion. On either side, just under the battery are the "floodgates,"
each of them six inches in diameter and through which the entire capacity of
the pumps can be most handily used. It is only when the hold of a ship
needs flooding that these gates are used. At such times six-inch holes are
cut in the decks and the flood hose nozzle inserted. The ordinary suction
for the flood-gates is below the water line but should the boat be in
shallow water and likely to suck mud or refuse in, her pumps and outboard
suction can be rigged, drawing from the surface of the water. In all fires
the usefulness of the boat is enhanced by the ease with which her twin
propellers enable her to turn. Should she, by reason of closely lying
shipping, be unable to get bow on to the fire, lines of hose are led from
the battery aft. Then the fire is fought stern foremost. Abaft the
deck-houses is a hose-reel and under the reel lie big coils of hose.
Altogether the " Seth Low " carries 2,350 feet of hose, and there have been
times when she needed and used it all. As she is built entirely of
wood and has been more than once in dose quarters, paint is no small feature
of her expense account; but there has never yet been any charge for burning
off old paint- the boat does that in her work.
There have been not a few fires in the harbor that needed hard work from the
fireboat, and there have been a great many calls that were for life-saving
as well as the preservation of property. Shortly after ten o'clock on the
evening of Feb. 27, 1886, there was a call from Coney Island Point for the
fireboat to aid the crew of the scow "Sarah" which was dragging, her anchor.
Application had been made to half a dozen tugs in port, but none would
respond as a strong gale was blowing from the northeast and hail and snow
squalls were sweeping down every half hour. It took the "Seth Low " one hour
and five minutes to reach the scow, from her pier, and daring that time the
fireboat was the only vessel in the harbor under way. When the scow was
reached the fireboat was one mass of ice from the top of her pilot-house to
the water-line, but in spite of the disadvantages under which the men worked
they rescued Thomas OLSEN, of No. 227 West Twenty-seventh Street, New York
City, who was in charge of the scow. OLSEN was nearly frozen to death, but
hot coffee and dry clothing brought him around and after nearly four hours'
fighting with the icy gale the "Seth Low" got back to her pier. Pilot John
MAHONEY and Assistant Chief DALE were in charge of the "Low" in
When the big Nova Scotian ship " Thorva " was loading cases of oil at the
foot of Kent Street on June 5, 1886, fire was discovered in the cargo
between decks. It was after eleven o'clock at night when the order to
attend the ship was received by the fireboat, and for three hours the " Seth
Low " pumped water through two lines of three and one-half inch hose into
the ship. There were 33,000 cases of oil in the vessel, but only a small
portion was damaged, owing entirely to the work of the fireboat, which
received no aid from the shore force. Pilot Francis Bell and Assistant
Chief Smith were in command of the fireboat.
When the German bark " Maria," loaded with bales of rags, paper, rosin and
guano, was on fire at the foot of Fourtieth Street, the fireboat pumped
water into her for nineteen consecutive hours. The vessel was ablaze below
decks fore and aft. Holes were cut in her decks and ten lines of hose
worked at once. Some of the new revolving nozzles were inserted and did
good work. Although for a long time there seemed little hope, the fireboat
kept at work and finally saved the ship. It has been on some of the
occasions when the fireboat was needed to aid the land force that she has
done her most efficient work. Just before midnight on May 28, 1887, the
"Seth Low " was ordered to report to Chief Smith at the foot of North Fifth
Street. The fire was in two brick buildings owned and occupied by Lowell
Palmer as a cooperage. Seventeen lengths of three and one-half inch hose
were used to reach the fire, and for sixty-nine consecutive hours the
"Seth Low" pumped water on this fire. The first stream fell on the fire at
midnight May 28, and the pumping stopped at six o'clock. May 31, during
which time the fireboat alone had thrown 3,510,000 gallons of water. At
the fire in the Havemeyer sugar house, on the afternoon of June 10, 1887,
the fireboat pumped 194,000 gallons through twenty lengths of three and
one-half inch hose in six hours. It was necessary to use a two and
one-half inch nozzle at the end of the two long lines of hose. On Sept. 2,
1887, the two thousand ton pile of coal in the yard of J. C. Provost, at the
foot of Vernott Avenue in Long Island City, caught fire. Two lines of
hose, each four hundred feet long, and the water-tower were used. For
twenty-seven consecutive hours the fireboat's pumps kept going and in that
time threw 4,860,000 gallons of water.
The fire in the Brooklyn Navy Yard just after midnight of Jan. 3, 1888, was
one of the hardest pieces of work imposed on the fireboat. The building,
which was stored with gunpowder and munitions of war, was a long way from
the water's edge. The fireboat stretched 1600 feet of rubber and five
hundred feet of canvas hose and a pressure ranging from one hundred and
fifty to two hundred and sixty pounds was necessary to force the three and
one-half inch stream of water up to the building. The dangerous nature of
the contents of the building made the work all the harder, and the fire-
boat's entire crew were at work for over twelve hours, the streams being
thrown eleven hours and forty minutes. On March 1, 1888, the fireboat
extinguished the fires on five hay-laden barges in the Wallabout Canal,
making six lines of hose at once and pumping 2,250,000 gallons. When the
big English ship " Glen Lam " was on fire at the foot of Harrison Street, on
April 13, 1888, the dock and shed also caught fire. The fireboat towed the
ship out from the flames, and, after beaching her on the shoal off Liberty
Island, pumped her full of water, discharging 1,620,000 gallons into her hull.
To enumerate all the big fights which the " Seth Low " has had with fire
would take too much space, but two others cannot pass unnoticed. At the
fire in the coal elevator and railway of the Philadelphia & Reading Coal
Co., at the foot of North Eleventh Street on Oct. 10, 1888, the "Seth Low "
did splendid work. There were practically three fires. The first was in
the elevator and railway. On this the water-tower was used. Then the
storehouse of the Pratt Manufacturing Company caught fire and next
the bark " Ella Voss " was ablaze. For one hundred and seven hours the "
Low's " pumps worked continuously, throwing 19,260,000 gallons of water.
For one hundred and ninety-seven hours the men of the company were at work
on the fire. Never did a city more thoroughly realize the value of a
fireboat than did Brooklyn on the night of Nov. 23, 1891. At that time
fire was raging in the heart of the block bounded by Court, Harrison and
Degraw Streets and Tompkins Place. Although there were plenty of engines,
there was no water, for the break in the big conduit had not been repaired
and there was little or no water in the city's reservoirs. It seemed
certain that the entire block would go, for not one of the engines could get
water enough to throw an inch stream twenty feet. A special call from
Headquarters brought the fireboat to the foot of Harrison Street, but then
she was nearly half a mile from the fire and at the foot of a hill. All of
the hose on the fireboat was stretched and some more borrowed from
the land engines, until 2350 feet of hose were laid. This enabled them to
get a stream on the rear of the fire. Another connection was then made
with Engine No. 21 at the comer of Union and Van Brunt Streets, where
another and smaller fire was in progress. For three hours and a-half the "
Seth Low " furnished water for both these fires.
Without her aid the Court Street fire would have been terribly disastrous,
and so well was this fact appreciated that all the residents on the Harrison
Street side of the block were ordered out of their houses. When the stream
came from the fireboat there was a cheer from the big crowd, and within a
short time the fire was under control. Brooklyn is proud of her fireboat,
and justly, for the " Seth Low " has saved millions of dollars worth of
property since she first went into commission. The crew of Engine Company
No. 23 'the fireboat' are a splendid set of men and good fire-fighters.
Foreman EDWARD DOUGHERTY has a ship-master's license as well as an enviable
record as fireman. He was born in Brooklyn, on Dec, 28, 1848. On April 1,
1871, he was appointed driver of Engine No. 6, where he- served nine years
and was then transferred to Truck No. 3. Five years later, at his own
request, he was made a pipeman with Engine No. 8, and while there was
promoted to be Assistant Foreman on March 1, 1887, and transferred to the
fireboat. On Dec. 1, 1891, he was promoted again, being made Foreman, and
master of the boat. Besides being a good fireman, Mr. DOUGHERTY
has done some life-saving. . On Oct. 29, 1889, he and Engineer Charles
NICOLLS rescued Thomas KEEGAN from drowning, when his boat was swamped. On
Sept. 30, 1889, Mr. DOUGHERTY with Engineer Moses Morgan saw a row-boat
capsize and went to the assistance of the occupants. There was not much
time to spare, but they succeeded in saving the lives of William MALLOY and
Assistant Foreman FREDERICK J. SNOW was born in New York City on March 22,
1859; appointed to the Department on Nov. 10, 1881, and assigned to Engine
No. 15, where he served ten years and three months, making an enviable
record for himself. On Feb. 13, 1892, he was made an Assistant Foreman and
assigned to the fireboat.
Engineer CHARLES NICHOLS JR., was born in New York City, on March 27, 1863;
on Dec. 15, 1883, he was appointed as fireman and assigned to Engine Co. No.
20. When the fireboat was undergoing her experimental trials, Mr. NICHOLS
was detailed to her engine-room. On Jan. 16, 1886, he was made an engineer
and the temporary detail to the " Seth Low " was made permanent. Mr.
NICHOLS is one of the best-equipped marine engineers in the service of the
city. Besides the rescues already mentioned, Mr. NICHOLS,
with Engineer John BISHOP, rescued James LAHEY from drowning at the foot of
Washington Street. LAHEY had fallen off the pier just after midnight and
NICHOLS and BISHOP reached him in a row-boat in time to save him.
Engineer JOHN BISHOP was born in Brooklyn on June 28, 1863. From Aug. 2,
1879, till June 28, 1884, he served in the United States Navy. On April 1,
1885, he was appointed as a fireman and assigned to Engine Co. No. 18. He
was made an engineer on Jan. 14, 1886, and assigned to the fireboat. The
rescue of James LAHEY, mentioned above, is but one of many brave acts to
Engineer BISHOP's credit. Mr. BISHOP is a first class marine engineer.
Engineer MOSES MORGAN was born in Brooklyn, in 1845, and appointed to Engine
Co. No. 9, when first made a fireman on Sept. 15, 1869. In 1877, he was
made an engineer and was transferred to Engine Co. No. 1, in the following
year afterwards being transferred to the fireboat.
JAMES HENRY BYRNE was born in Ireland, on Sept. 12, 1849. He came to
America when a young man and was made a fireman on Dec. 15, 1885, and
assigned to Engine Co. No. 1. During the trial trips of the fireboat Byrne
was one of her details, and on Jan. 16, 1886, he was permanently transferred
to her. While working at a fire in the bark " Maria " off the foot of
Thirty-ninth Street on Feb. 25. 1887, Fireman George Rogers was overcome by
smoke and fell into the vessel's hold. Byrne saw his brother fireman fall,
jumped after him at once and succeeded in saving him. On the night of Jan.
7. 1888. Richard MCDADE fell off the pier at the foot of Washington Street
and would have been drowned but for Fireman Byrne. Also it was Byrne who
heard LAHEY's cry for help and called the men who rescued him.
CHARLES E. COSTELLO was born in Brooklyn, Sept. 15, 1862. He was appointed
a fireman with Engine Co. No. 2, on April 1, 1885, and transferred to the
fireboat when she went into commission, Jan. 1. 1886. On the night of
Sept. 2, 1889, John WILLIAMS and William GRESHAM, sailors belonging to the
United States Steamer " Boston," fell off a ferryboat near the fireboat's
pier. The tide swung them in and Mr. COSTELLO hauled. them both out by
means of a boat-hook.
GEORGE W. YOUNG was born in Canada on Aug. 24, 1858, and was appointed to
the fireboat March 25, 1891.
DAVID H. McCLYMONT was born in New York City on Sept. 13. 1851. He was
made a fireman May 1, 1883, and assigned to Engine No. 3. Later he was
transferred to Engine No. 20 and from that to the fireboat.
GEORGE CUNNINGHAM was born in Brooklyn on April 4, 1854. appointed to the
Fire Department on Sept. 15, 1879, and transferred to the fireboat in Jan. 1886.
JOHN HENRY TRAPP was born in New York City on Dec. 5,1862, and appointed as
fireman on the fireboat on Oct. 14, 1890.
GEORGE W. McDONOUGH is a native of Dublin, Ireland, where he was born on
June 5, 1864.- He was a railroad man before becoming a fireman on July 1, 1892.
- TRUCK COMPANY NO. 3, THE MEN WHO FIGHT AT CLOSE QUARTERS.
HOOK AND LADDER COMPANY NO. 3.
Truck Company No. 3, which at present is stationed at No. 183 Concord
Street, was organized on Sept. 15, 1869, and occupied the house at No. 236
Gold Street, which was formerly used by Volunteer Engine No. n and later by
Volunteer Truck No. 2. That house was a two-story brick building, 20 x 50
feet; the whole first floor was used as an apparatus-room, with two stalls
in the rear for the horses, the second floor being fitted up as sleeping
apartments for the officers and men. On April 29, 1874. the company removed
to its present quarters on Concord Street, a two-story brick building. 25x75
feet. The apparatus-room has three stalls in the rear, and has lately been
supplied with a patent extension ladder.
On July 29, 1878, Foreman HUESTIS was transferred to Engine Co. 5, and
Thomas BYRNE succeeded him, remaining until Oct. 26, 1878 when he was
removed and Peter CAMPBELL became Foreman. The next Foreman was David
KIRKPATRICK appointed on Aug. 6, 1886, but he remained only four days in the
company when James ROBERTS, Foreman of Engine Co. No. 17, was transferred to
Truck 3 and John FITZGERALD was promoted to be Assistant Foreman. On Feb.
n, 1890, Assistant Foreman JOHN FITZGERALD was promoted to be Foreman to
succeed Foreman ROBERTS, who was transferred to Engine Co. No. 7. Up to
the present there have been no further changes in the Foremanship.
This truck-company is one of the best in the city. It takes the men just
twelve seconds from the first tap of the gong to get the truck out of the
house and well started, which is good time considering that the horses have
a run of fifty-nine feet to get under the harness and that there are three
collars to snap and six lines to buckle up. The actual time of raising the
extension ladder and putting a man on a roof as timed by eight stop-watches
before the Oxford Club and Fire Commissioner Richard R. POILLON, was
fifty-nine seconds, and the second man reached the roof about four seconds
after. The truck weighs 9100 pounds.
The men of Truck No. 3 are noted for their courage in the face of danger,
and in this they have an excellent example in their
Foreman, JOHN FITZGERALD. He was born in this city, on Oct. 8, 1856, and was
appointed on Dec. 15, 1880; and detailed to the Kerosene Bureau. He remained
there until July 6, 1886, when he was transferred to Truck No. 3, and on March 1,
1887, he was promoted to be Assistant Foreman and succeeded Foreman James
ROBERTS on Feb. n, 1890. On Oct. 5, 1891, while working at a fire on the
roof of the old ferryhouse at the foot of Bridge Street, the supports burned
away and the roof fell and carried him down with it. He received a
contusion of the spine which confined him to his bed for two months. He
has rescued a number of persons from burning buildings since he was
connected with the Department.
Assistant Foreman CHARLES SHAY, who lives at No. 137 Jay Street, was born in
New York City on Nov. 9, 1851. He was appointed to the Department on May
5, 1874, and detailed to Engine Co. No. 8. He was afterwards transferred
and promoted to be Assistant Foreman of Truck No. 3, on Jan. 1, 1891, and
served faithfully until Feb. 28, 1892. Then he was seriously injured at the
fire which occurred in Smith, Gray & Co.'s building on the comer of Fulton
Street and Flatbush Avenue. He was going down a ladder from the
second-story window when the ladder slipped from under him and he
fell to the sidewalk headforemost, receiving a compound fracture of the
skull, and he was not able to report, for duty for months.
JOHN SILK is known among his companions as " the life-saver," as no less
than eighteen lives, saved at six different fires, stand to his credit.
The names of those who owe their lives to Fireman SILK are not all known,
but among them are Mr. and Mrs. MALLOY and their two children, whom he
rescued at great peril to himself from burning building at the corner of
Doughty and Elizabeth Streets. He saved the lives of Mr. and Mrs. VAN
DUSEN and their three children, when they were overcome by smoke
at a fire at No. 123 Atlantic Avenue. One of his most daring rescues was
the saving of five persons at the big fire at No. 199 Concord Street.
Though the place was all ablaze when SILK reached the third floor, he got
John CARROLL and his wife to the ground in safety, and then went back to the
second floor and assisted Patrick MCHUGH and his wife and Arthur DONNELLY
out of the flames that had almost been fatal to them. He was the leader of
a daring band of life-savers at the fire of Feb. 21. 1891, supposed to have
been the work of " firebug- Miller, in the six-story tenement at No. 129 and
131 Sand Street. Notwithstanding his efforts seven lives were sacrificed,
but SILK carried two helpless women down five flights of stairs in safety.
He also saved the life of Mrs. GOETZ at a fire in the house at No. 342
Bergen Street, and at a fire in State Street near Smith he rescued a child
that in the excitement had been forgotten on the top floor. At this
fire two other children lost their lives. At the Smith, Gray & Co. fire.
SILK received a severe cut on the left hand that incapacitated him for duty
for a long time. He was born in New York. June 24, 1838, and after
returning from three years' service in the war he became a fire-fighter.
He was appointed Nov. 10. 1869 and has been a conspicuous member of Truck
No. 3 ever since.
GEORGE MATTHEWS, of No. 223 Bridge Street, was born on Sept. 15, 1835, in
the County of Longford, Ireland, and was appointed and assigned to Truck No.
3 on May 1875. On Dec, 26, i883. at a fire in a four-story building at the
comer of Cranberry and Henry Streets, he fell through a cellar grating and
dislocated his shoulder. In 1884, at the fire in St. John's Home, he was
knocked from a ladder by a falling line of hose and fell thirty-five feet,
breaking his ankle and badly lacerating his body. At another fire in
Briggs' cooperage on Durman Street, he broke a blood vessel in his left leg
and was unable to report for duty for seven weeks.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, of No. 192 Pearl Street, was born in this city on Dec. 12.
1843 and was appointed on July 15, 1878 as Kerosene Inspector, under
Commissioners RYAN, GALLAGHER and WILLIAMS. He was dismissed from the
Department in 1880, but was reinstated by the Courts in 1887. He was then
detailed to Truck No. 3. where he remains.
CHARLES RIKEL, of No. 140 Duffield Street, was born in Jan. 1.1860, in Troy,
N.Y. and was appointed a fireman on April 8. 1885. He was assigned to duty
on Engine No.6, and transferred to Engine No. 5, and then to Truck No. 3, on
May 21, 1889. He remains on the rolls of that company.
ROBERT Mc NEARN, of No. 137 Jay Street, was born in Germantown, Pa., on June
3, 1858. He was appointed a fireman on Dec. 15, 1885, and assigned to duty
with Engine Co. No. 24. He was transferred to Truck Co. No. 3 on April 5,
1889, where ever since he has bravely done his duty as a life-saver.
PATRICK DOUGHERTY, of No. 244 Bridge Street, was born in County Donegal,
Ireland, on June 10, 1837, and received his appointment when the Department
was organized, in 1869. He was assigned to Truck No. 3, and though he has
served nearly a quarter of a century he is a wonder to some of the younger
men when the gong sounds.
Driver CHARLES McFEELEY. who lives at No. 182, York Street, was born in this
city on July 4, 1856, and was appointed on July 30, 1883 and detailed to
Truck Co. No. 3.
JOHN J. DALY, of No. 367 Gold Street, was born on Feb. 23, 1850, in this
city and spent three years of his life in the service of his country in the
navy. He was appointed a fireman on March 7. 1887, and was assigned to
Truck Co. No. 3 and has seen five years of active and meritorious service.
CHARLES DORAN, of No. 184 North Elliott Place, was born in this city on
March 1, 1863, and was appointed as a fireman on March, 12, 1891 and was
assigned to Truck Co. No. 3.
WILLIAM J. WILTON, of No. 310 Pacific Street, was born in July 7, 1865, in
this city and was appointed on Feb. 1, 1891 and was assigned to Truck No. 3.
CHARLES McGREGOR was born in the city of New York, on Jan. 13, 1860, and
his appointment dates from July 1, 1892.
The three horses that spring to duty at the sound of the gong are great
favorites with the men. They are known as " Billy," a white ; "Paddy," a
bay, and " Charlie" a chestnut, which last one has the reputation of being
the gentlest and most intelligent animal in the Department. The history of
Truck No. 3 would be incomplete without a mention of " Rags." " Rags " is
only a dog, but he has a friend in every member of the company. He is a
coach dog, beautifully marked and spotted. He can do anything but talk and
the men say " Rags " understands everything they say and knows every signal
as well as any of them. He sleeps between " Billy " and " Paddy " and is
always the first at a fire.
Transcribed for the Brooklyn Pages by Mimi Stevens
BROOKLYN FIRE DEPT. Chapter 11
Back To HISTORY of the BROOKLYN FIRE DEPT. Index
Back To FIRE Index
Back To CIVIL Index
Back To BROOKLYN Main