enter name and hit return
OUR FIREMEN : THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE
BROOKLYN FIRE DEPARTMENT
COMPANIES OF THE EIGHTH DISTRICT.
DISTRICT ENGINEER DENNIS McGROARTY.
COMPANIES OF THE EIGHTH DISTRICT.
ON THE LINE OF THE KINGS COUNTY ELEVATED A DISTRICT OF HOMES ACCESSIBLE BY THE RAILROAD
HAVING the Kings County Elevated Railroad as a base line for the
description of the limits of the Eighth District, it may be said
that the district includes everything between the railroad, Flat-
bush Avenue and the city line at Flatbush, to the right of the
Elevated, going uptown from Cumberland Street to Rochester Avenue ; and
besides that, all between this road at the left and the Union Elevated on Lexington
Avenue, from Grand Avenue to Reid Avenue. This forms a large and important district,
and the four companies designated to look after it are distributed at intervals
throughout the length of it, not far from the elevated railroad as a central
line. It is a vast centre of homes that makes up the district, such as the
elevated road would be likely to develop along its line ; and while there is
a good deal of manufacturing too, it is principally as a residential
district that it must be regarded. A noteworthy feature of the
district is the presence in it of a large proportion, perhaps the majority,
certainly more than in any other districts, of the public institutions,
hospitals, etc., which, with their thousands of the helpless and young,
constitute a most sacred trust, and call on the fireman
to be especially careless of his own safety to lend succor to those who may
so sorely need it.
DISTRICT ENGINEER DENNIS McGROARTY.
The Eighth District is commanded by District Engineer DENNIS McGROARTY. He
was born in Ireland in 1844, and one year later his parents came to this
country and settled in the Ninth Ward of Brooklyn. He received his
education at Public School No. 9. When the Civil War broke out he was but
seventeen years of age, but he was bubbling over with patriotism and
resolved to give his life to his adopted country if necessary. He found
that his youth was a difficult obstacle to surmount in his ambition to
become a soldier, but he overcame it and it was the happiest day of his then
brief existence when he was allowed to wear the blue uniform provided by
Uncle Sam, and shoulder a musket as a private in the Fifty-first Regiment
New York Volunteers. In 1862, at his own request, he was transferred to
Battery K., First United States Artillery, in which company he was promoted
to be a corporal, and held this rank until January, 1864, when he was
honorably discharged from the service. He immediately enlisted in Battery
G., Third United States Artillery, and soon after was promoted to
the rank of sergeant. At the battle of Beverly Ford, Va., he was so
seriously wounded in the thigh as to incapacitate him for service, and
necessitate his second honorable discharge from the army on July 29, 1865.
On his return to his home in Brooklyn, Mr. McGROARTY found employment as a
hatmaker, with the firm of Pierce, Hall & Company. As a volunteer fireman
he was an active member of Goodwill Engine Company No. 4, then located on
Underhill Avenue, near Bergen Street.
When the new Department came into existence, Mr. McGROARTY was made a driver
and assigned to Hook and Ladder Company No. 2, the boundaries of their
district being from Fort Green to East New York. and from the Wallabout to
Flatbush. When Engine Company No. 14 was organized in 1872, Mr. McGROARTY
was promoted to the rank of Foreman and put in command. At the St. John's
Orphan Asylum fire, he saved the lives of three little boys, who but for his
prompt action would have perished in the flames. On July 1, 1885, he was
promoted to the rank of District Engineer, by Commissioner POILLON, and put
in charge of the Eighth District. His district, one of the most important
in the city, was, soon after his promotion, enlarged so as to include
the Twenty-sixth Ward, increasing his responsibilities, and although the
redistricting of 1892 has somewhat reduced the earlier extent of it, he
still has a vast territory to be responsible for. In his career as a
District Engineer he has performed many creditable and noteworthy acts, one
of which deserves especial mention, for it was through his promptness and
cool-headedness and with the assistance of members of Engine
Company No. 14, that the life of Eliza MILLARD, an elderly woman, was saved
on the night of Nov. 23, 1888, at No. 45 Albany Avenue. Mr. McGROARTY is
not only a popular man in the Department, but also in the district in which
he lives and over which he has supervision in fire matters. During his
career as soldier and fireman he has made a record of which any man might be proud.
ENGINE COMPANY NO. 14 : AMONG HOSPITALS AND PALACES
The city has no more efficient factor in its excellent Fire Department than
Engine Company No. 14, which was organized twenty years ago, and has since
won a record most creditable to itself and the Department at large. Its
house is at No. 231 Herkimer Street, between New York and Brooklyn Avenues.
The company covers a most important and extensive district, which includes
portions of the Seventh, Ninth, Twenty-third and Twenty-fifth Wards, and
nearly all the Twenty-fourth Ward. It is bounded by Ralph Avenue, Grand
Avenue, Lafayette Avenue and the city line. Several square miles of
Brooklyn's territory is included within these boundaries. Until a
few years ago the district was rather sparsely settled, but now it is dotted
all over with houses, adding largely to No. 14's labors and responsibilities
as a fine guardian. It is essentially a residence district, factories
being few and far between. And it diners from every other district in this
respect, that it contains probably one-half of Brooklyn's
public institutions, a condition of things which calls for the exercise of
the greater vigilance on the part of the men attached to the company.
Under the roofs of these institutions-asylums, homes, retreats and
hospitals-from six thousand to eight thousand persons are housed
temporarily or permanently. A large percentage of them are
children, aged men, and women or invalids who would be helpless in case of a
fire. Among the more important ones are
St. John's Catholic Home for Boys,
St. Mary's Hospital,
St. John's Hospital,
Home for the Aged, and
Home for Orphans,
St. Joseph's Home for Mutes,
Nursery and Children's Hospital,
Home for Consumptives,
Colored Zion Home for the Aged,
Colored Orphan Asylum,
Brooklyn Orphan Asylum,
Besides these there are twelve public schools,
3. 15, 25, 26. 28, 35, 41, 42, 44. 57, 68, 70, the Girls' High School,
the new Boy's High School, fifty-three churches, the Union League
Club-house, the Brevoort Hotel, and a number of magnificent apartment
houses. Some of the most costly residences in Brooklyn, especially those
on St. Marks Avenue and Pacific Street, are located in No. 14's district.
A number of street car companies have immense stables there also.
Something like seventy per cent. of the structures are frame.
Fires have occurred within this district that would have been marked by the
most disastrous consequences but for the timely arrival and effective work
of this engine-company. This is a matter of public record and one of which
the gallant members of it feel proud. Engine Company No. 14 may be ranked as
a veteran, as it has been in existence for over twenty years. It was
organized in 1872, or shortly after the old Volunteer Department passed out of
By a happy coincidence, it began its career on the nation's holiday, July 4,
with DENNIS McGROARTY as Foreman.
At that time its district was much larger than it is at present, and the men
had to attend to every call coming from that part of the city which was
bounded then by Flushing and Washington Avenues, the city line on the south
and the New Lots line on the east. It seems hardly possible that one fire
engine company could cover so extensive an area and yet do it well, but No.
14 did it and did it with splendid results, as the fire records show.
To-day No. 14 answers all alarms in the section bounded by Lafayette, Grand,
an Ralph Avenues and the city line. Second-alarms call it to points in
some cases nearly a mile beyond these limits, except on the southern or city
line. Third-alarms call it much further, and special alarms bring it to
the furthermost parts of the city. The recent organization of Engine
Company No. 31 in the Twenty-sixth Ward, has reduced the eastern end of No.
14's territory about one-half mile. This change was absolutely
necessary in view of the rapid increase in the number of buildings in the
Twenty-fourth, Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth Wards. Within a few years
several hundred frame structures have been erected in the Twenty-fourth Ward
alone. During its extended career Engine No. 14 has attended hundreds of
fires and has done effective work. It has always been prompt in answering
calls, and zealous in its efforts to save life and property, and citizens
living within its bailiwick have always been loud in their praises
of its work. To the credit of this branch of the fire service it may
truthfully be said that very few of the fires which have occurred within its
territory were marked by loss of life. This can be said without detracting
in the least from the splendid records of the other fire-companies.
The worst fire that ever occurred in this territory was the burning of St.
John's Home for Boys, in which over 1000 children were being cared for. It
broke out late in the afternoon of Dec. 18, 1884. The fire had gained
twenty minutes' headway before No. 14 was summoned to it. About 1000 of
the inmates were gotten out in safety. A Sister of Charity and fourteen
boys lost their lives, however. Nearly all of the latter were in the
infirmary in the upper part of the building. No. 14 and its gallant crew
did splendid work at this disastrous fire and prevented a frightful holocaust.
Foreman McGROARTY (now District Engineer of the Eighth District)
distinguished himself at the fire by catching in his arms a boy who had
jumped from a window of the upper story. Mr. McGROARTY was standing on the
top rung of a ladder at the time.
Foreman EDWARD FITZGERALD
The commander of the company is Foreman EDWARD FITZGERALD, a fireman of
twenty-three years' standing, with a record as honorable as it is long. He
is one of the best-known and most popular members of the Department. He
was born in Ireland, Sept. 25, 1840, but he has been a Brooklynite the
greater part of his life. He joined the Department Sept. 15, 1869, and
proved himself a valuable acquisition to it. He worked his way from the
ranks, advancing to Assistant Foreman, and as a reward for meritorious
service he was made Foreman on Aug. 5, 1886. During his career he has
distinguished himself on several occasions by the rescue of lives.
Assistant Foreman ALEXANDER J. SHERIDAN was born in England, Sept. 8, 1850.
In early life he was a mechanic. He joined the Fire Department July 1,
1885. Proving to be a faithful and efficient man he was less than two years
in the Department when, on March 1, 1887, he was made Assistant' Foreman.
During his career as a fireman he has distinguished himself by assisting in
the rescue of several persons at fires. A fire broke out in the tenement
No. 45 Albany Avenue, Dec. 23, 1888. A woman named Eliza WILLIAMS was
hemmed in by flames on the third floor. Assistant Foreman SHERIDAN and
another member of No. 14 reached the imperiled woman and with much
difficulty brought her down in safety.
Engineer PATRICK H. TRAVERS was born in Ireland, March 12, 1846, and came to
the United States when a boy, entering the army when only sixteen; he served
with gallantry for three years with Company H.., 164th New York Volunteers,
and was seriously wounded at Cold Harbor. TRAVERS became a fireman Dec.
19, 1872, and after ten years' service he was appointed engineer of Engine
No. 12. He has been connected with Engine No. 14 for several years.
While attached to No. 12 TRAVERS had a thrilling experience at the fire at
Palmer's cooperage, Kent Avenue, Williamsburg, May 30, 1887. He was buried
under a four-story brick wall which collapsed. The hydrant to which his
engine was attached was at the curb directly under the burning building.
The wall fell. TRAVERS saw it bulge and totter and he dropped to the
ground behind the engine so that it would interpose as a shield. The great
mass of bricks completely buried the engine and the brave engineer. The
fall of the mass of bricks was broken by the engine, which, however, was
wrecked. TRAVERS was dug out by his comrades. The two young men who set
fire to this place were sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment each.
JOHN J. MARTIN is a native of Pennsylvania; he was born at Carbondale, June
24, 1854. He joined the Department July 1, 1889. He is a steady,
reliable man and as brave as he is reliable. He has performed excellent
service during his connection with the Department and is deservedly popular
with his comrades.
JOHN MULLADY was born in Maryrath, Ireland, on June 24, 1864 and his
connection with the Department began on July 1, 1892.
THOMAS F. KILFOIL was born in Brooklyn on June 4, 1865. Prior to his
appointment on May 4, 1892, he had served seven years in the 14th Regiment,
THOMAS F. REILLY is an Irishman by birth and was born Nov. 17, 1854.
He became a fireman Sept. 10, 1887. He is regarded by his comrades and
superior officers as a brave, steady and reliable man, prompt in responding
to every call of duty. He is bound to make his mark in the Department.
CHARLES A. U. SCHULZ was born June 30, 1858, in Germany, and was only
twenty-two years of age when he joined the Fire Department. He was
appointed Dec. 1, 1880. He has an excellent record and has on many
occasions distinguished himself by his bravery at fires.
GEORGE VAN COTT was born at Farmingdale, L. I., May 17, 1850. He became
a member of the Fire Department, July 1, 1885. During his career as a
fireman he has earned for himself an enviable reputation as a thorough-going
fire-fighter. On more than one occasion Mr. VAN COTT has performed acts of
the highest bravery at fires great and small.
JOHN T. FARRELL has been in the Department over four years, having been
appointed Feb. 10, 1887. Since then he has won golden opinions by his
splendid work. He is one of the junior members of the Department. He was
born on Oct. 8, 1862, in New York City. He has on several occasions
assisted in the saving of human life.
THOMAS F. SWEENEY is the senior member of No. 14 and his record is one of
which he may well be proud. He has seen nearly a quarter of a century of
active service as a member of the Department, which he joined Sept. 15,
1869. Mr. Sweeney was born in New York City, June 30, 1843. He was only
nineteen years old when he joined the army, on April 12, 1862. He went out
with the 106th New York Volunteers and fought like a hero to the end. He
was mustered out July 1, 1865, when he returned home. He roughed it for
four years and then he joined the Fire Departments He has been connected
with several engines. While connected with Truck No. 2 he distinguished
himself by rescuing several lives. He is a brave, unassuming man, and
it is difficult to induce him to speak about his record.
WILLIAM H. EGAN is one of the junior members of his company and a native of
Brooklyn, He was born in 1853 and joined the force March 20, 1888. Mr.
EGAN is an excellent fireman, proud of the company to which he belongs. He
has rendered the city faithful service during his connection with the Department.
ENGINE COMPANY NO. 19 : AMONG SCHOOLS, CLUBS CHURCHES AND ARMORIES
The home of Engine Company No. 19 is in Dean Street, near Underhill Avenue.
The company was organized Dec. 24,1880, and is located in a very large and
important district, which is bounded by Park Avenue, Kingston Avenue, the.
city line, and Carrol and Nevins Streets. There are 112 boxes in this
territory, and on a second-alarm the men respond to calls from 94 additional
boxes. They are expected to be first on hand should a fire occur in any of
the following places : Knox's hat factory, Budweiser's brewery, Reilly's
storehouse, Vosburgh's gas fixture factory. Graves' storehouse, Webster's
silver-plating establishment, the Brooklyn Riding Academy, the Home for
Destitute Children, St. Joseph's School, St. Theresa s School, Adelphi
Academy, Pratt Institute, Public Schools Nos. 9 and 42, Chester's
silver-plating works. King's furniture and carpet house. Long Island
Brewery, Brevoort flats. Union League Club, Kings County Penitentiary,
Montauk Club, Brooklyn City car stables, Richardson's car stables.
Flatbush Avenue depot of the Long Island Railroad and the large freight
depot of the same company, on Atlantic Avenue ; Crawford & Valentine's
Scrimshaw works, the 13th Regiment and the 3d Gatling Battery armories, the
Criterion theatre, Seney Hospital, Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor,
Home for Aged Men and Women (two buildings), private hospital on President
Street, Ansonia clock works, Brasher's oilcloth factory, Homeopathic
Hospital, Talmage's Tabernacle, St. Luke's Episcopal and several
other large churches.
Foreman EDWARD FITZSIMMONS is an "old vamp." having served his time in the
Volunteer Department with Neptune Engine No. 2. He was born in New York on
Jan. 28, 1846, and was on the United States Frigate " Lackawanna " at the
battle of Mobile Bay. Mr. FITZSIMMONS was appointed to the Brooklyn Fire
Department on Sept. 24, 1869, and assigned to Engine No. 3 as driver. It
was while acting in that capacity in Oct., 1886, that he was thrown from the
engine and received such injury to his spine that he was taken to St.
Peter's Hospital, where he remained in a helpless condition for
over four months. On March 1. 1887, he was promoted to the grade of
Assistant Foreman and transferred to this company. On June 1, 1891, he was
advanced to the grade of Foreman and put in command of the company.
Assistant Foreman PATRICK HOYNES was born in the County Tipperary, Ireland,
in March, 1848. His connection with the Department commenced on Nov, 15,
1881. He proved himself to be a valuable acquisition to the uniformed force
and in recognition thereof Commissioner ENNIS on Feb. 25, 1887, promoted him
to the grade of Assistant Foreman.
WILLIAM J. HIGGINS, the engineer, was born in Ireland, May 2, 1843. His
introduction to the career of a fireman occurred on Feb. 9, 1876. Mr.
Higgins having had a large experience with oils and other materials of a
combustible nature, is now detailed at Headquarters as an Inspector in the
EDWARD FRANCIS CARNEY, the acting engineer, is not only a first-class man at
the business but a very brave man as well. He was born in Brooklyn, Feb.
20, 1860, and began his career as a fireman on April 15, 1890, when he was
assigned as stoker to Engine No. 27. At a fire in a tenement house on
Nostrand Avenue, between Myrtle and Park Avenues, Nov. 17, 1891, Mr. Carney
was one of the men sent in to open up the building. He found Edward
ASHWORTH on the fourth story of No. 120 Nostrand Avenue in an unconscious
state and carried him down the extension-ladder of Truck No. 2 to a place of
safety. At the same time and place he assisted in the rescue of Mrs. Annie
BOWEN and John ASHWORTH, the father of Edward.
ALFRED GILMORE HUNTER, the driver of the engine, was born in Perth Amboy,
N. J., on July 31, 1851, and was appointed a member of the uniformed force,
June 1, 1884, when he was assigned to duty with Engine No. 10. He is a
first-grade man in every respect.
JOHN HOWARD LONG drives the tender horses. He was born in Brooklyn in
1857, and became a member of the uniformed force on March 23, 1891, since
when he has been attached to this company.
JOHN JOSEPH KENNIFF has been a member of this company since June 15, 1885.
and in that time has had one of the narrowest escapes from a horrible death
that it is possible to imagine. It occurred on December 4,1891, at a
dwelling-house fire on Seventeenth Street, between Tenth and Eleventh
Avenues, South Brooklyn. KENNIFF, with Foreman FITZSMIMONS and Firemen
Hugh McGOWAN and Peter HECKER, were on the roof of the burning building,
FITZSIMMONS and HECKER on the edge of the roof near the ladder of Truck No.
5, and KENNIFF and McGOWAN some feet away. Suddenly the roof went down
with a crash, carrying with it KENNIFF and McGOWAN. FITZSIMMONS and
HECKER had just time to stretch out their hands and seize the top of the
ladder by which they descended uninjured to the street, and with other
members of the company began the search in the ruins for their comrades.
They located KENNIFF by his feeble cries for help, which he kept up until,
he was dug out, when he lost consciousness. He was badly bruised, cut and
burned, and it was many weeks before he recovered from his injuries.
Fireman McGOWEN was past all need of medical and surgical aid when his
crushed body was dug out of the ruins. Mr. KENNIFF was born in Brooklyn on
May 11, 1864.
WILLIAM F. JEFFRY is a native of the County Tyrone, Ireland, where he was
born on Sept. 14, 1846. Before coming into the Department on March 12,
1888, he served two years in the l6th New York Vol. Cavalry and ten years in
a U. S. cavalry regiment. He has made as good a fireman as he was a soldier.
ANDREW S. LEIRE hails from Norway, in which country he was born on Jan. 28,
1854. He has been a fireman since March 1, 1887, and is at present
detailed from this company to the harness-shop of the Department by reason
of being a skilled workman in that line of business.
JAMES JOSEPH EGAN is one of the new men in the business, but he has proved
himself to be well adapted for it. He was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 7,
1864, and was appointed on Aug. 11, 1891.
CHARLES E. VICTORY was born in Brooklyn on May 25, 1867, and his
appointment to the uniformed force dates from May 3, 1892. He has all the
qualifications for making a first-class fireman, and he has started in. the
right way to make himself eligible for promotion.
WILLIAM C. LLOYD hails from Nassau, N. P., where he was born on Sept. 28,
1864. He was a rigger when Commissioner ENNIS appointed him to the
Department on July 1, 1892.
The company is equipped with a second-class Amoskeag engine, a four-wheel
hosecart, and four young, well-trained horses, three of which are handsome
bays and the fourth a dapple gray. The following are some of the big fires
at which the company has been engaged laboriously and often at great peril
to their lives for many hours before the fire fiend could be controlled:
Palmer's cooperage (twice), Dick & Meyer's sugar house, Church's soda works,
Pratt's oil works (twice), St. John's Home, the Penitentiary shoe shop,
Jewell's wharf, Watson's stores, Harbeck stores, Warner Institute, Adelphi
Academy, Heckler's iron works (twice), Richardson's car stables (three
times), Talmage's Tabernacle, Baum's millinery establishment, Koeke
Brothers' hay and feed storehouse. Contractor dark's stables, where one
hundred mules were burned, Loomis' moulding mills, Budweiser brewery,
Brooklyn Cocoa-matting Company, Fink's coal yard and dwellings, a large rag
repository on Kent Avenue, McDonald's oil works, Smith & Pettinger's lumber
yard, the Almshouse, Hyde & Behman's theatre, Ovington Brothers' crockery
store, Buchanan & Lyall's Planet mills. Horseman's bakery, the Wallabout
Market fires, and the dwelling-house fire on Court Street during the water famine.
HOOK AND LADDER COMPANY NO. 5 : HEROES OF MANY "CLOSE SHAVES"
Hook and Ladder Company No. 5 was organized by Fire Commissioner Richard
H. POILLON, on June 15, 1885. It is located in Pacific Street near Sixth
Avenue, in the centre of a very important district which is bounded by
DeKalb Avenue, Nostrand Avenue, Fifth Street and Bond Street. There are
seventy boxes in this district, and on a second-alarm the company respond to
sixty-five additional boxes. In this district are Graves' furniture house.
Green's underwear factory, Knox's hat factory. Kings County Penitentiary,
Brooklyn watch case works; Ovington Brothers' crockery store, Journeay &
Burnham's store, the Johnson building, Dyckman's box factory, Municipal Gas
Company's works, Public Schools Nos. 9, 15, and 47, St. Joseph's
parochial school, Talmage's Tabernacle, Washington Avenue Baptist church,
St. Joseph's Roman Catholic, St. Luke's Episcopal, Dr. Cuyler' s church,
Lafayette Avenue Congregational, St. Augustine's and Frs. McCarty, McNamee
and Corcoran's churches, the 13th Regiment Armory, the Long Island R. R.
passenger and freight depots. Young Women's Christian Association, Seney
Hospital, Long Island Brewery, Budweiser brewery, Webster's silver-plating
factory, Schieber's silver-plating factory, Tivoli Hall and the Franklin
Avenue car stables.
The company have a second-class Hayes truck and three handsome, well-trained
horses, " Dan," a sorrel. "Baby" a dark iron-gray, and "Charlie Hart," a
brown. They have a full-blooded English coach-dog, which is called
"Frances," after Mrs. Cleveland. Frances is as intelligent as she is
handsome, and prior to being run over by the truck in 1888, when one of her
legs was broken, it was customary for her to go out with the truck on every
alarm, and when the fire was reached to follow the men up to the roof.
Since that event Frances has been detailed on the house watch, and it is as
much as a mans life is worth to try to enter the house when the company is out.
There are quite a number of men in the company who have been with it since
its organization, and as such they have seen many fires which required many
hours of hard and perilous work to subdue. Notable among these were
Watson's stores, the Penitentiary shoe shop, Adelphi Academy, Planet Mills,
Talmages Tabernacle, the Seventh Avenue car stables, Brasher's oilcloth
works. Butler Street car stables. Watts- lumber yard. Hyde & Behman's
theatre, POILLON's ship yard, Loomis' moulding mills, the Hulvert mansion,
Bradley's carpet house, Messuli's paint works and the Sand Street
Foreman THOMAS HEALEY has had several narrow escapes since he became a
Member of the Department on Dec. 6, 1870. The closest "shave" he ever had
was when he walked off the dock during the fire at Watson's stores and sank
in twelve feet of water. When he came up his fire-hat was gone, and being
weighted down with his rubber coat and boots he found it extremely difficult
to swim to the dock. The boys succeeded in getting him out with a rope
just as his strength was deserting him. At the fire at Woodruff &
Robinson's stores, Mr. HEALY with others was on the roof when
it fell in and precipitated them a distance of fifteen feet into a bin of
burning grain, from which they were extricated with great difficulty. At
the Pratt's oil works fire he made his best running record while trying to
keep ahead of a river of burning oil. Mr. HEALY was born in the County
Roscommon. Ireland, July 18. 1841, and was educated at the common schools of
his native town. When he came to Brooklyn, he joined Goodwill
Engine Company No. 4 and ran with her until the disbandment of the Volunteer
Department. His first fire duty in the new Department was with Truck No.
2. He was afterward transferred to Engine No. 19 and then to Truck No. 6.
While with the latter company, on Sept. 5. 1885, he was promoted to the
grade of Foreman and placed in command of Engine Company No. 9, and from
that company was transferred to his present command.
Assistant Foreman MARTIN J. CORCORAN was among the first to be promoted
when Commissioner ENNIS created that rank. He was born in the city of
Limerick, Dec. 5, 1860, and was educated on his native heath. He was
appointed to the uniformed force on Jan. 30, 1882, and assigned to Engine
Company No. 19, and later was detailed as driver for District Engineer
Parley.' He was a private in Truck No. 5 at the time of his promotion on
March 1, 1887. Mr. CORCORAN has been injured many times in discharge of
his duty. While a private in Engine Company No. 19, in Aug., 1883, he was
so ill with malaria that the Department surgeon advised him not to do
active duty for a time. A fire broke out on a very hot day and Mr.
CORCORAN, disregarding the doctor's advice, went out with his company. He
was stationed on the wall of an adjoining building when he was overcome with
the heat and fell backward, injuring his head so badly that it was necessary
to remove him to the Homeopathic Hospital, where he remained for several
days. He narrowly escaped being killed at the Portland Avenue flat-house
fire, when. one of the ceilings fell on him and others, and nearly buried
them under a mass of burning timbers. At another time one of the horses
belonging to Engine No. 19 threw him and nearly fractured his skull. At
"The Abbey " fire, Mr. CORCORAN sprained his ankle so seriously that he was
laid up for six weeks, and at a laid at Raymond and Fulton Streets his
shoulder was nearly wrenched out of the socket.
JOHN H. HINTON, the driver of the apparatus, was born in New York City, Oct.
.27, 1848. When he was appointed a member of the Paid Department he was
assigned to duty with Truck No. 1. He was later transferred to Engine No.
20, then to the Veterinary Department, back to Truck No. 1, then to Engine
No. 3, from there to Engine No. 24, and then to this company. At the ink
factory fire on' Forty-second Street, South Brooklyn, in 1882, he with three
other firemen narrowly escaped being killed by the caving in of the roof on
which they were standing.
WILLIAM H. JONES, the tillerman, is one of the life-savers of the
Department. "While tillerman of Truck No. 1, he assisted Engineer Duff, then
Foreman of Engine No. 3, in bringing out an unconscious woman from the first
floor of a dwelling on Columbia, near Congress Street. In Feb. 1887,
unaided and with no little peril to himself, he carried a woman from the
third floor of a burning house on Fifth Avenue, down the stairway to the
street. Besides being suffocated she had inhaled fire, and she died at
the City Hospital some hours later. Mr. JONES was born in Brooklyn, Nov.
2, 1849. In July, 1875, he enlisted in the regular army, where he served for
five years with the 9th Infantry. His appointment to the Department was
made on Jan. 30, 1882.
MICHAEL JOSEPH KELLEY was born in Manchester, England, Jan. 15, 1857, and he
has been a member of Truck No. 5 since he was appointed to the uniformed
force, on Dec. 10, 1891.
LOUIS SCHULZ was born in New Hyde Park, L. I., on the anniversary of
Washington's Birthday, 1866. He enlisted in the United States Navy May
23,1887, and received an honorable discharge together with a continued
service certificate June 12, 1890. Commissioner ENNIS made him a fireman
Nov. 16. 1891, and he has been with Truck No. 5 since that time.
EDWARD PATRICK COFFEY was born in the city of Dublin, Ireland, Feb. 14,
1864. He was made a fireman Aug. 1, 1889, and since that time has done duty
with Engines Nos. 14, and 27 and Truck No. 5.
JOHN L. TUCKER was born in Brooklyn, July 24,1860, and became a member of
the Department June 4, 1890.
JAMES J. McGARRY was born in Brooklyn, March 18, 1859, and he has worn the
uniform with credit to himself and the Department since July 17, 1891.
JAMES A. MALONE was a member of Mount Hose No. 10 when the Volunteer
Department was disbanded. He was born in Brooklyn in 1847, and during the
Civil War fought under General " Phil" Sheridan. He was appointed to the new
Department Jan. 29, 1870 and assigned to duty with Engine No. 10, where he
remained for fifteen years. He was then transferred to Engine No. 19, then
to Engine No. 6, and thence to Truck No. 5 at the time of its organization.
While a member of Engine No. 10, the tender upset on the way to Loomis'
moulding mill fire, and Mr. MALONE narrowly escaped being killed.
HENRY A. BRINKMAN has been a member of this company since its organization
and has worn the uniform since Nov. 12. 1880. In 1883, while a member of
Engine No. 4, he received internal and spinal injuries by the collapsing of
a church on Third Avenue. Mr. BRINKMAN was born in Brooklyn. Aug. 18, 1855,
and has proved himself to be not only a good citizen but a faithful member
of the Department. The orders have been issued and preparations have been
made for the organization of a new engine-company. No. 34, to be attached to
the Eighth District. Its house, now building, will be on Bergen Street, east
of Troy Avenue.
HOOK AND LADDER COMPANY NO. 11 : A BUSY FIRST YEAR
Hook and Ladder No. 11, went into active service at two o'clock in the
afternoon of April 26, 1892. The home of the company is in a pretty
two-story brick building, located on Halsey Street, near Sumner Avenue.
Three fine, large, gray horses draw the latest improved Hayes'
extension.ladder apparatus. The district covered by the company is bounded
by De Kalb Avenue, Broadway, the city line, and Nostrand Avenue. Within the
territory mentioned are
St. John's Home,
St. Mary's Hospital,
St. John's Hospital,
Brooklyn Orphan Asylum,
Hebrew Orphan Asylum,
Home for Aged Females,
Dr. Well's private insane retreat.
Public Schools Nos. 28, 35 and 41,
Grammar School for girls,
Boy's High School,
Dr. Meredith's church.
New York Avenue M. E. church, and the stables of six street car lines.
In Foreman DAVID KIRKPATRICK the company has a commander who will stay m
a burning building as long as any man in the Department. He is a native of
Brooklyn, where he was born on Dec. 14, 1841. He received his appointment
to the Paid Department on Feb. 15, 1879, and was assigned to duty with Hook
and Ladder Company No. 2. On August 1, of the same year, he was promoted
to the grade of Foreman. Foreman KIRKPATRICK stands in the front rank of
life-savers, and were medals for meritorious conduct one of the features of
the Brooklyn Department one would surely adorn his breast. On June 29,
1885, at a fire at No. 162 Spencer Street, he assisted in the rescue of two
persons. At one o'clock in the morning of Jan. 3, 1887, a fire broke
out in the brick flat-houses Nos. 705 and 797 DeKalb Avenue. Foreman
KIRKPATRICK was the first to reach the fourth floor, where he found three
persons, and with the aid of some of his company carried them out to a place
of safety. On Sept. 21, in the same year, he assisted in rescuing five
persons from the four-story flat-house No. 897 Lafayette Avenue. At the
Adelphi Academy fire on Dec. 17, 1890, he received a fracture of the
knee cap which confined him to his home for two months. He was appointed
Feb. 15, 1879, and on Aug. 1, of the same year was made a Foreman. He came
to Truck No. 11, from Engine No. 17.
Assistant Foreman BERNARD F. DONNELLY was born in Brooklyn on April 10,
1845. He was appointed Sept. 15, 1869, and assigned to Truck No. 6. On March
1, 1887, he was promoted to the grade of Assistant Foreman and sent to
Engine No. 21. Subsequently he was transferred to Engine No. 16, then to
Engine No. 12 from which he came to Truck No. 11. He is married and lives at
No. 111 North Second Street.
HENRY BOERUM, the driver of the apparatus, was born in Brooklyn on Dec. 3,
1857, and when appointed to the uniformed force Sept. 1, 1885, was assigned
to duty with Engine No. 19. In 1886 he was promoted to the grade of
driver, having had a life-long experience with horses. He was the driver
of Engine No. 9 when transferred to his present company.
FRANClS WOODS was born m Brooklyn, Feb. 9, 1862. He received his
appointment to the present Department June 15, 1885, and did duty with
Engine No. 14 up to April 26, 1892, when he was transferred to this company.
Mr. Woods ranks among the life-savers, having assisted in the rescue of
Eliza Millard at a fire at No. 49 Albany Avenue on Nov. 23, 1888.
GEORGE GIBSON was born in the city of Dublin, Ireland, on Dec. 26, 1863, and
when he joined the Department on Feb. 11. 1891. his name was put on the roll
of Engine Company No. 14.
CHARLES J. McLAUGHLIN was born in Brooklyn, March 28, 1864 and donned a
fireman's uniform on Monday, May 20, 1889. He was a member of Truck No. 7,
when transferred to his present company.
JOHN J. GRIFFIN was born in Ireland on March 4, 1862. He became a fireman
on Oct. 29, 1890, and Engine Company No. 2 was the one to which he was first
assigned for duty.
WILLIAM DOUGHERTY came from the Emerald Isle, where he was born on Feb. 8,
1847. For two years he served his adopted country faithfully and honorably
as a member of Company G., 18th Regiment N. Y. Cavalry. He was appointed a
fireman Dec. 3, 1888, and assigned to Engine Company No. 16. He served with
Engine No. 27 previous to his transfer to Truck No. 11.
PETER HECKER was born in Brooklyn on July 12, 1863. He served in the
United States Navy for five years and eight months, during most of which
time he was on the Pacific station. He was one of the crew of the "
Massachusetts," and can tell some interesting stories of the war between
Chili and Peru. On April 1, 1885, he became a member of the Fire
Department of his native city. At the time of his transfer to this
company, he was a member of Engine Company No. 19. Twice since his
appointment has he been instrumental in saving life in time of great peril,
and with no little risk to himself. He rescued two girls from the third
story of a house at Lewis and Lafayette Avenues, and carried them safely
down the ladder to the street. At a fire corner of Classon and Atlantic
Avenues, he rescued a woman from the third story of the burning house and
carried her down the ladder to a place of safety. He had a narrow escape
from serious injury if not death, at the fire on Seventeenth Street, where
Fireman McGOWAN was killed.
HENRY B. BURTIS is also a native of Brooklyn, and was born April 13, 1862.
He was made a fireman on Oct. 1, 1887, and was transferred from Engine
Company No. 17 to this company on May 4, 1892.
SAMUEL ALLCORN was born in Brooklyn, Oct. 8, 1860. When appointed on Sept
14, 1883 he was assigned to Engine Company No. 14, and remained there up to
the time of the organization of this company.
GEORGE C. HENNESSEY was born on March 6, 1864, in the city of Brooklyn He
was made a fireman Oct. 14, 1890, and at the time of his transfer to this
company was a member of Engine Company No. 30. On Sept. 10, 1891, the
engine passed over one of his feet and crushed it.
JOHN F. SCANLON was born in Ireland on June 10. 1863, and began his career
as a fireman on July 1, 1892.
Transcribed for the Brooklyn Pages by Mimi Stevens
BROOKLYN FIRE DEPT. Chapter 16
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