enter name and hit return
OUR FIREMEN : THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE
BROOKLYN FIRE DEPARTMENT
COMPANIES OF THE SECOND DISTRICT.
DISTRICT ENGINEER SAMUEL G. HEUSTIS.
THE MOST VALUABLE PROPERTY IN BROOKLYN
-" MULTUM IN PARVO"
- THE HEIGHTS, THE HILL, SOUTH BROOKLYN AND THE SHOPPING CENTRE
COMPACTED into a territory of hardly more than a square mile,
the property contained within the limits of the Second District
probably represents more value than that of any other
equal portion of the city. And if it may be said of any one
section of the city rather than another, certainly it may be a
said of this district, that a destructive fire which should lay it
low would bum out the very heart of Brooklyn. It includes
all the costly residential settlement of " The Heights," and a large part of
that of South Brooklyn; a considerable portion of " The Hill," and all the
great shopping district lying between the Heights and the Hill. The
assessed valuation of the property in this fire district is not equalled by
that of any equal area of the city's possessions.
- BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT
The district includes all the First and Third Wards, about one-third of the
Sixth, a portion of the Eleventh, and fractions of the Twentieth and Ninth
Wards. The westerly boundary is the water-front from Fulton Ferry to
Harrison Street with its wealth of shipping and storage warehouses. Fulton
Street and DeKalb Avenue as far as Cumberland Street limit it on the north.
Cumberland Street and Sixth Avenue bound it on the east as far south as the
point where Sterling Place. Butler Street and Harrison Street in
continuation carry its southern boundary down to the water-front
Again. To guard this most important trust there are located in the district
the veteran Engine Co. No. 5, Engines Nos. 24 and 26, and Hook and Ladder
Co. No. 10.
- DISTRICT ENGINEER SAMUEL G. HEUSTIS.
THIRTY YEARS A 55 FIREMAN.
TWENTY-THREE YEARS A FOREMAN,
DISTRICT ENGINEER WITH A HIGH PERCENTAGE
The commander of the battalion of engine companies that guard this district
is District Engineer Samuel G. HEUSTIS. Although his elevation to this
rank is of recent date, he is by no means a young man in the business, for
he is a fireman of over thirty years experience. Nor is he young in
experience of the world, for he has passed his fiftieth year During all
the active period of his half century of life he has held high positions and
discharged responsible duties. How well this has been done, may be
inferred from the fart that in the examination which he and his fellows
passed his fiftieth year. During all the active period of his half century
he took the highest rank of all with a percentage of 79 1/2. His length of
service in the Department is surpassed by that of no other member of it,
dating as it does from the organization in 1869. His very first
appointment was to the position of Assistant Foreman, and within a few days
thereafter he was made Foreman. This is good evidence of the reputation he
had made as a member of the Volunteer Department, in which he had already
done ten years- service when the present Department was organized.
Mr. HEUSTIS was born in Cold Spring, N. Y. on April 26. 1840. At the age of
eighteen he came to Brooklyn to live, and found work in the Navy Yard. The
following year he became a member of the Volunteer Fire Department as a
member of Constitution Engine Co. No. 7, then located at Front and Bridge
Streets he not only participated in all the hospitalities for which it was
celebrated, and added himself to those of its members who in considerable
numbers won distinction in later life; but he learned the fire business, as
it was taught in those days, from beginning to end He was a working member
too, and became so well known for his efficiency that, when places in the
new Paid Department were eagerly sought by the old firemen of the volunteer
organization, he not only was given one but a high one, being appointed
immediately to be the Assistant Foreman of Hook and Ladder Co. No. 3. In
two weeks' time he was made Foreman of the same company. In 1878 he
transferred to No 5., of which he has been the Foreman practically ever
since there was a No. 5, and he has been a familiar figure to all who know
the old Pierrepont Street engine-house and feel the protection of its
presence in their neighborhood. On July 18, 1892 when the announcements
were made of the successful competitors in the civil service examinations
for promotion to the position of District Engineer, at the head of the list
of five who received the coveted distinction stood the name of Foreman
HEUSTIS, who accordingly was promoted to the vacancy caused by the elevation
of Assistant Chief Engineer DALE, and assigned to the command of the Second
District. That this assignment keeps him in his old district is a cause of
gratification to all who are interested in him. Mr. HEUSTIS has not only
been an experienced fireman, but he has been a brave one as well, as he has
shown under many circumstances of peril. He has rescued persons from
dangerous situations and his men also have owed their lives to his
skill in handling them at fires. An interesting circumstance has arisen
from the duty laid upon him during his captaincy of No. 5, to visit the
theatres every night to inspect the men on fire duty and see that they were
on hand.. This has resulted in his making an extensive acquaintance among
theatrical people, who have become his friends and have given him mementoes,
photographs and the like, which adorn his quarters in the engine-house. He
is fond of collecting also what bears on the history of the Fire Department,
memorials of which cover his walls. Mr. HEUSTIS is married and lives
with his wife and three children, at No. 335 Jay Street.
- ENGINE COMPANY NO. 5
Perhaps the most centrally situated of the two score headquarters of the
fire-companies, upon which the city depends for protection, is the house of
Engine Company No. 5, in Pierrepont Street near Fulton. Many hundreds of
times have the doors been thrown open and the engine dashed forth to answer
alarms from all parts of the city. Engine No. 5 responds to first-alarms
in the territory in and contiguous to Fulton Street, from dark Street to
Hudson Avenue, which includes much of the most valuable property in the
city. In this region are the public buildings, including the City Hall,
Court House, Municipal Building, Hall of Records, and the new Federal
Building; the principal places of amusement in the Western District,
including the Academy of Music. Grand Opera House. Park Theatre, Star
Theatre, and the recently completed Columbia Theatre; all the chief hotels
of the city; such important structures as the Brooklyn Library, the Long
Island Historical Society's building, the Hamilton and Germania club-houses,
the great dry goods houses, the offices of the principal banks
and trust companies, a number of large churches, the Polytechnic and Packer
Institutes, and the great office buildings surrounding City Hall Square.
Property worth many millions of dollars is guarded first of all by this
engine-company. On second-alarms it is called to the great warehouses on
the water-front and to the greater part of the Western District; while in
response to third-alarms and special calls it may be summoned to the Eastern
District, and even to Greenpoint and East New York. Ever since the fatal
and disastrous fire in the Brooklyn Theatre, at Washington and Johnson
Streets, on Dec. 5, 1876, when 278 lives were lost, special precautions have
been taken to avoid a repetition of the disaster even upon a small scale,
and firemen are detailed from Engine No. 5, to attend each matinee and
evening performance in the playhouses within its territory, to be in
readiness to flood the stage and quench any incipient conflagration.
No. 5 is the only engine-company housed on the Heights, and it traces its
history back to the old Engine Company No. 14 of the Volunteer Department,
established in Love Lane in 1846. Ten years later it removed to the
present quarters. It was the crack company of the Volunteer Department and
the sons of many of the best families on the Heights had been connected with
it. Their house was expensively decorated and furnished, and they owned a
fine engine. At present No. 5 is equipped with a fine Amoskeag engine,
which has been in use for seven years. It is fitted with all facilities
for the work of extinguishing fire. To draw the engine and tender four
horses are stabled, in the engine-house. The names over their stalls are
"Tom," " Jerry," "Speed," and " Dick." The same names are bestowed upon
successive occupants of the stalls. One of the most knowing horses ever
attached to the company was a strawberry roan which was in service for nine
years, an unusually long time, and was finally run over by an engine and
killed. As Engine No. 5 is the nearest to the City Hall it is the show
company of the city, and visitors frequently have the horses and men called
out to see how quickly they can start. The horses usually get exercise
enough in going to the fires to which the engine is summoned, but sometimes
the interval is so long that they have to be taken out for exercise. The
members of No. 5 have taken part in many great fires. The most disastrous
was that in the old Brooklyn Theatre. The scenes after the flames were
under control and the bodies were being brought forth were such as to cause
the stoutest firemen to draw back but the members of No. 5 stuck to their
posts throughout the trying ordeal. Among the other large fires in which
this company has taken an important part have been those in Wechsler &
Abraham's dry goods house in lower Fulton Street; in Ovington's art
and crockery store; in the old Elm Place Congregational church, on the
foundation of which the Grand Opera House was built; and in Smith, Gray &
Co's clothing store. At the last-named fire. No. 5 was one of the earliest
to arrive and the men battled with the flames and smoke until nearly
suffocated. On second and third alarms the company has been called to all
the great fires in the city. Despite the perils incurred the company has
never had a man killed on duty and only a few have been injured. More than
half the time since its organization as a part of the Paid Department the
company was under command of Foreman SAMUEL G. HEUSTIS, whose recent
promotion to the position of District Engineer, and assignment to the
command of the district in which his old company lies. devolved the.
responsibility of the company temporarily on the Assistant Foreman.
- VETERANS LONG HOUSED ON THE HEIGHTS
Assistant Foreman DAVID S. THOMAS was born in this city on June 11, 1855. At
the age of twenty-three he was appointed a fireman, and was assigned to duty
with Engine No. 17. On July 1, 1889, he was transferred to Engine No. 4,
and appointed Assistant Foreman. Since Feb. 5, 1890, he has been in his
present position. He is a man marked for his fidelity to his post and the
ability with which he discharges his duty.
An interesting career has been that of MICHAEL O'NEILL who drives and cares
for the horses of this company. He was born in Ireland, on Nov. 25, 1851,
and came to this country in 1866. His first position was that of hall-boy
in a New York hotel, and he then learned the trade of a carpenter. In 1869
he enlisted in the regular army, and served for five years in Troop M., 4th
Cavalry. His first duty was at Fort Duncan, Tex., on the Rio Grande and he
afterward saw service at various points on the frontier in Indian Territory,
Wyoming, and Nebraska. He was discharged at the end of his term of
enlistment at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, and a month later re-enlisted
at Fort Hamilton. He then served five years longer in Light Battery C.,
3rd Artillery. With this he saw service at Fort Hamilton, Atlanta.
Washington, and Little Rock. While on the frontier he was in three Indian
fights and had his fill of encounters with the redskins. After his final
discharge from the army he returned to this city and served as a street
car conductor for three years. But this was too humdrum an existence after
life on the plains and in forts, and he became a fireman on April 15, 1882.
HENRY A. MAPES has been with Engine No. 5 since July, 1888. Before that he
was with Engine No. 7 for six years. He was born in New York City in Aug.
1853, and attended a private school in Broome Street. He was in the
wholesale drug business in New York before becoming a fireman. His home is
at No. 508 Atlantic Avenue.
FREDERICK JOHN MANNING is a native of Gibraltar, where he was born on July
5, 1835. At the age of fourteen he came to this country and became a clerk
in a jeweller's shop. After seven years in this business he learned the
trade of a machinist. He served in the Volunteer Fire Department in
Brooklyn Engine No. 17. When the present department was organized he was
appointed a paid fireman and after brief service with Engine, No. 1 he
became connected with No. 5 in Jan. 1870, and has since remained with it.
PATRICK J. LAFFERTY is a native of this city, where he was born on June 18,
1862. He was educated at Public School No. 27. in the Twelfth Ward. For
several years he worked in stove foundries in New York and in Pamrapo, N. J.
On May 20, 1889, he received his appointment to the fire force. He lives
with his wife and two children at No. 571 Clinton Street.
WILLIAM CHARLES DEVINE was born in Donegal, Ireland, Aug. 16, 1865. He came
to this country with his parents when a child and was educated in this city.
He drove a milk wagon, and later a truck for Jewell's mills, before he was
made a fireman on Dec. 10, 1891.
DOMINICK SWANTON was born in the Sixth Ward on Sept. 23, 1861, and he lives
with his wife and four children at No. 70 Fourth Place. He worked as a
machinist until he entered the service of the city as a fireman on Sept. 15, 1887.
WILLIAM H. O'BRIEN was born in Bristol, England, on Oct. 27, 1854. After
coming to this country he engaged in several sorts of business until he
finally settled down as a fireman on April 28, 1882. About a year later he
had the misfortune to break his right leg at the fire in Harbeck's stores.
While going to a fire on March 15, 1885, he broke his other leg. Despite
these accidents there is not a sounder man on the force.
WILLIAM L. HEALY, who was born in this city on Aug. 10, 1857, has been a
fireman since Nov. 17, 1890. Before that time he worked in the Produce
Exchange, in New York. His home is at No. 46 Carroll Street.
WILLIAM HENRY D'OLIER, is a son of Superintendent D'OLIER, of the Brooklyn
City Railroad Company, and was born in Brooklyn, on Aug. 18. 1863. He was
educated at Public School No. 15, and engaged in the manufacture of printing
inks and in the paint business before his appointment as a fireman on April
1, 1890. He is unmarried and lives at No. 25 Rockwell Place.
PHILIP E. MILLER was born in this city on Jan. 28, 1863. He received his
appointment as a member of No. 5 on Dec. 8, 1891, and is rapidly gaining
experience in his new line of work.
- ENGINE COMPANY NO. 24
Not until after the great fire at Harbeck's stores, which occurred on the
morning of Thursday, July 19, 1883. did the necessity of having an
engine-company located on Furman Street, in the heart of the great warehouse
district, become a matter of grave discussion, the outcome of which was the
formation of Engine Company No. 24, now located at Nos. 153-155 Furman
Street, midway between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue. The residents of
Brooklyn, with but few exceptions, still remember that at this fire,
notwithstanding the untiring efforts of the Fire Department, three ships
with their cargoes, two lighters and a dock shed 350 feet long by 60 feet
wide were totally destroyed, and thirteen brave firemen who risked their
lives in discharge of their duty were severely injured.
Long before this fire occurred Commissioner Partridge saw the necessity of
having An engine-company located on Furman Street, and to further this
object, he had a resolution introduced in the Board of Aldermen on Dec. n.
1882, which provided for the fitting up of an engine-house on the present
premises in which he proposed to station Engine No. 6, then located on High
Street, which at the time of the fire at Harbeck's stores was the nearest
apparatus, although nearly three-quarters of a mile away. The resolution
was referred to the Law Committee of the Board, but it never came out of the
committee. Among those who favored the proposition of Commissioner
PARTRIDGE were Richard LACY, who owned twenty vessels engaged in the
Calcutta trade; Franklin WOODRUFF, J. J. PIERREPONT, and a committee of the
Board of Underwriters. Dr. OTTERSON, and Mr. HARDENBERGH, the carpet man,
made no objection to the idea of having an engine-house on Furman Street,
but they strenuously objected to transferring Engine No. 6 from its quarters
on High Street to the new house on Furman Street, because their property was
in the immediate vicinity of No. 6's quarters,
- PROTECTORS OF THE WATER FRONT WAREHOUSES
On the morning after the great fire, Thomas B. JONES, president of the
Nassau Fire Insurance Company, and Peter NOTMAN, president of the New York
Board of Underwriters, in company with Commissioner PARTRIDGE called at the
Mayor's office in the City Hall and urged that immediate action be taken for
the protection of property on the river-front. It was not until Jan. 18,
1886, however, that Engine No. 24 was formed, and established in the
quarters selected by Commissioner PARTRIDGE. The building is a four-story
brick structure, but only two floors are used by the company.
The City pays $500 a year rental for the portion of the building used by the
company and its apparatus.
The new company realized at once that millions of dollars worth of property
were in their keeping to defend and protect from ravages of fire. Within a
stone's-throw in either direction of their quarters are the Knickerbocker
Ice Company's buildings and wharves, the Brooklyn Needle Works, McKinney's
Iron Works, the Fulton Iron Foundry, Martin's stores, the New York and
Baltimore Coffee Polishing Company, the Nassau Coffee Company, the Holland
Coffee Company, Watson's stores, the Greenwood Iron Works, Harbeck's stores,
Roberts' stores, the Mediterranean stores, the Pierrepont stores, the
Central grain elevator, Prentice's stores, the Empire stores. Robinson's
stores, and Dowd's grain elevator. Alarms of fire from any of
these buildings are responded to by the company on the first call. On a
second and third alarm at any point between the Erie Basin and Red Hook
Point, the company is required to respond with equal promptness. They are
equipped for this service with a first-class steamer, which at the outset
was a self-propeller. It is now run by horses.
When the engine is not in use, the water is kept hot in the boiler by a
Paragon burner, heated by gasoline. There is a two-wheeled hose-cart which
carries twenty-six lengths of hose. "Ton" " John " and " Paddy," three of
the finest horses in the Department, take great delight in dragging the
apparatus at high speed to the scene of a fire, and they are credited with
getting into harness quicker than any three horses in the service.
Since the formation of the company, the members have taken an active part at
many disastrous fires, and with no little risk to their lives.
- ENGINE COMPANY NO. 26
- GUARDIANS OF THE SHOPPING CENTRE
Before they had been in possession of their house twenty-four hours they
were called to a fire at Nos. 347-355 Furman Street, which was a three-story
brick building owned by Ellis BRIGGS and occupied by Benjamin F. BRIGGS as a
cooperage For twenty hours they worked without intermission. The total
loss was estimated at $250,000. They also took an active part at the
burning of E. B. Bartlett's Central elevator, Nov. 13, 1888, which destroyed
property valued at $250,000. On Jan 26 1890, at 5 :40 o'clock in the
morning, the first-alarm sounded for a fire at Pierrepont stores. Eight
minutes later a third-alarm was sent out. Engine No. 24 had turned
out on the first-alarm and taken the hydrant in front of the Mediterranean
stores. The fire was located in the hold of the full rigged iron ship "
Pythomene " which had arrived three days before from Calcutta, with a
valuable cargo consisting of 13, 000 bales of Jute, 9,000 sacks of linseed
meal and a quantity of Calcutta bagging. On the arrival of the engines,
the hatches were broken open. No flame and but little smoke
issued from the hold, and an easy victory over the fire was anticipated.
Among the first to be lowered into the hold of the vessel were Assistant
Foreman John J. MAGUIRE and Firemen John A. HANNAVIN, Neil F. RUDDY and John
DUDDY of No. 24. A short time after, much to the surprise of every one,
RUDDY staggered up the hatchway, and fell to the deck. A squad of firemen
were ordered to go down into the hold to look for MAGUIRE, HANNAVIN and
DUDDY. Before they could be brought out RUDDY had got on his feet and was
running about the wharf like a madman. He was unable to tell what was the
matter with him, but when his companions were brought out of the hold in an
unconscious state together with six of the rescuing party who were in a
similar condition the fact was made apparent that the men had been overcome
by the fumes of the burning Jute. An ambulance call brought Surgeon MANTON
to the vessel with restoratives, but in every case when the men began to
recover consciousness they were seized with paroxysms of madness, and were
only restrained from doing violence by the efforts of several firemen and
citizens and the use of morphine administered by Surgeon MANTON.
Assistant Foreman MAGUIRE was the most seriously affected by the
burning Jute but he insisted upon remaining at his post until he dropped
down and was carried out by the relief squad. It was three or four days
before the men recovered from the effects the smoke. The company had
another experience with burning jute butts at a fire in store "E" of the
Watson's stores, occupied at the time by the Empire Warehousing Company.
The fire was discovered by Assistant Foreman MAGUIRE, and spread so
rapidly that it was necessary to send in a third-alarm immediately
after the arrival of Engine No. 24 on the scene. For days after every man
in the company suffered the greatest agony with his eyes which had been
subjected continuously to the fumes from the burning jute butts for nearly
twenty-two hours. The last big fire at which the company took an active
part was at the Smith & Gray building.
The Foreman of the company is PATRICK LAHEY, who has been an active fireman
for forty years. He was born in Ireland on March 10, 1831, and was a member
of Engine Company No. 1 of the Volunteer Department from Feb. 3, 1851, to
Sept. 15, 1869, when he was appointed a member of the Paid Department. He
was for many years foreman of Engine Company No. 6, and was transferred to
the command of Engine No. 24, when the company was founded. He is a brave,
fearless man, and although he has been in many perilous positions, he has
escaped without serious injury.
Assistant Foreman JOHN J. MAGUIRE was born in the Fifth Ward, March 29,
1856. He was appointed a fireman Nov. 1, 1881, and was assigned to No. 6.
He was promoted to be Assistant Foreman March 1, 1887, and transferred to
Engine No. 24, where he has since remained.
Engineer JAMES BUTLER was born in this city, Oct. 15, 1846. He joined the
Volunteer Department in May 1867, and was a member of Engine Company No. 2,
up to the time of his appointment to the Paid Department Sept. 15, 1869. He
was stoker for Engine No. 3, until promoted to be engineer, in 1878. At the
burning of a shade factory on Sedgwick Street, in Aug., 1880, Butler had his
hands severely burned by the flames which jumped across the street so
unexpectedly that escape was impossible. He was obliged to abandon the
engine, as the heat was so terrific that it could not be dragged away. It
was rendered useless by the intense heat and had to be re-built and
is now in possession of Engine Company No. 20.
THOMAS F. McKEON, the driver, was born in New York City, June 27,1859, and
was appointed a fireman Feb. 12, 1887, and assigned to duty in his present
JOHN DUDDY, the assistant driver, was born in New York City, June 3, 1858 ;
was appointed a fireman July 16, 1887, and assigned to the company to which
he is now attached.
SILAS CONSTANT. JR., was born in New York City, Dec. 19, 1842. He saw
service during the War of the Rebellion with Company "I," 139th Regiment,
New York Vols. After serving five years in the Volunteer Fire Department,
he was appointed a fireman, April 20, 1882. He was promoted to be
assistant engineer July 18, 1883.
PETER M. O'NEIL was born in this city Feb. 24, l866, and was appointed Dec.
3, 1888, and assigned to Engine No. 24.
MARTIN J. DUNNE was born in this city, July 27, l866, and received his
appointment on June 4, 1800.
NEIL F. RUDDY was born in this city, June 12, 1859, and was appointed July
1, 1885. He has been connected with Engine No. 24 since its formation.
WILLIAM J. CURRAN was born in this city, Sept. 6, 1865. He served during
the war in the United States Navy, and was appointed a fireman Dec. 15,
1885. He is noted for his bravery and coolness in times of peril, and has a
record as a life-saver, having, with the assistance of Acting District
Engineer Hagan. rescued Mrs. M. E. ADAMS from the fourth-story window of No.
21 Clinton Street, while the building was in flames on the night of July 27, 1886.
JOHN A. HANNAVIN was born in this city, Nov. 14, 1858, and was appointed
April 15, 1889, and assigned to the company of which he is now a member.
Taken all in all, the members of Engine Company No. 24, cannot be excelled
in the Department for their bravery, and close attention to duty.
ENGINE COMPANY NO. 26.
Engine Company No. 26 has just entered upon its fourth year of service in
the Department, having been organized by Commissioner John ENNIS, Jan. 9,
1889. The quarters of the company are in State Street, near Nevins and are
the finest in the city. The district covered by the company on a first-alarm
is a very important one as within its boundaries are located all the
Municipal Buildings, the great grain elevators and store houses along the
East River front, the fashionable clubs, several large office building
and hotels, all the theatres in the vicinity of the City Hall, seven or
eight public schools all the large retail dry goods stores and business
places, several large churches and a number of flat-houses and factories.
Included also in this territory are St Peter's Hospital, the Long Island
College Hospital, St. Paul's Orphan Asylum, the Sheltering Arms
Polytechnic Institute, Packer Institute, Boy's High School, and St. Francis
Academy. The company is provided with the regulation second-class Amoskeag
engine a four wheel hose-cart, and four powerful gray horses whose average
time in getting the apparatus out of the house is ten seconds. During its
first year of service, the company had some large fires, among them being
those at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Brasher' s oil cloth works and the Adelphi
Academy. The men took a very active part in extinguishing the fires at
Hyde & Behman's Theatre, the Penitentiary, Palmer's cooperage
Richardson's car stables. Pinto's grain elevator, the Brooklyn Sash and
Blind Company's factory, and Smith, Gray & Company's building. The men who
compose this company do not know the meaning of the word "fear." There are
those among them who have not faltered for a moment when human life was in
peril, and others still who carry the scars of injuries received while in
discharge of duty.
Foremost among the life-savers of this company is Foreman JOHN J. DOOLEY
He was born in Brooklyn, in 1859. His career as a fireman began Oct. 15,
1881, with Engine Company No. 6. He was afterward transferred to No. 4.
where on March 1, 1887. he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Foreman and
returned to Engine No 6. On July 1, 1889, he was advanced to the rank of
Foreman, and in the latter part of that year was put in command of his
present company. His record as a life-saver began at a fire in the
three-story brick dwelling No. 374 Bond Street. Jan. 22, 1884. No 4 was
the first engine due at the fire, and Mr. DOOLEY was sent in to open up the
house. On the top floor he found two women who had succumbed to the smoke.
Before the truck arrived, the brave fireman had carried both women down an
iron ladder obtained from an adjoining factory, and landed them in a place
of safety. He was almost overcome by the heat and smoke, and it was some
hours after before he fully recovered from the effects. At seven o'clock
in the morning of March 2, 1890, the " double-decker" flat-houses, Nos. 362
and 362 1/2 Atlantic Avenue, caught fire. When DOOLEY arrived on
the scene with his company he saw Mary Powers, an aged woman, in a
third-story window Just about to make a leap for life. He shouted to her
that help was coming and then dashed up the stairway of the next house,
clambered out on the window-ledge and stepped over to where the woman was.
A ladder had been put up by this time, and down it DOOLEY, with the
assistance of Fireman COPPINGER, carried the now half unconscious woman amid
the cheers of hundreds assembled in the street. In the early morning hours
of Aug. 31, 1890, fire broke out in the four-story double flat-house, No.
452 Atlantic Avenue. Foreman DOOLEY with other brave men worked their way
up the narrow stairway as rapidly as possible, and when the last man came
down the ladder he carried the fifteenth person whose life had been
jeopardized by flame and smoke. Little Georgie TODD, two and one-half
years old, was left alone in his parents apartments on the fourth floor of
No. 94 Butler Street, Aug. 22. 1891. In some unaccountable manner a fire
broke out, and when Foreman DOOLEY found the child he was lying near the
stove unconscious and terribly burned. Tenderly he lifted the little
sufferer and carried him down to the second floor, but while the Ambulance
Surgeon was pouring oil over the little burned body, death put an end to the
child's suffering. At the gas house fire on Hoyt Street, about eight years
ago, the slate roof fell in and injured Mr. DOOLEY severely about the head.
At Dyckman's box factory fire on Union Street, in, 1891, he was so overcome
by the intense heat and smoke that he had to be removed to. St. Peter's Hospital.
Assistant Foreman FRANK J. DUFFEY was born in Brooklyn, in Jan. 1856. From.
1869 to 1876, he served as a shipsmith's apprentice in the Construction
Department of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He was appointed to the Fire
Department July 7, 1880, and promoted to Assistant Foreman July 1, 1889. Mr.
DUFFEY assisted in the rescue of several persons at the flat-house fire. No.
452 Atlantic Avenue, on August 31, 1890.
Engineer JOHN H. HEATH was born at Navesink, Monmouth County, N. J., in
1855. From 1875 to 1881 he served as a first-class fireman in the United
States Navy. His connection with the Fire Department of Brooklyn, dates from
April 2, 1885, and his promotion to engineer occurred on Feb. 9, 1891.
WILLIAM L. MEYERS is a first-grade fireman. He was born in Brooklyn, in
1868, and became a fireman Dec. I, 1888. At the flat-house fire. No. 452
Atlantic Avenue, on Aug. 31, 1890, Mr. MEYERS aided materially in the rescue
of Robert O'DONNELL, his wife, five children and sister-in-law. At another
fire on the same night at No. 293 Livingston Street, he was brought out
unconscious from a front room on the third floor. At the Dyckman box
factory fire, Oct. 13, 1890, Mr. MEYERS was overcome by escaping gas while
at work in the sawdust bin, and was removed to his home in an ambulance.
Bernard L. STORP was born in Brooklyn, in 1856, and became a fireman on Jan.
21, 1884. On May 5, 1885, he was severely injured about the head by falling
bricks while working at a fire at Nos. 40-48 State Street. Both of his feet
were so badly burned at the Planet Mills fire on April 12, 1889, that he was
in the hands of Surgeon ROBBINS for many days thereafter.
John F. WARD was born in Brooklyn, in Feb, 1861, and he first donned the
uniform April 7, 1885. On July 4, 1890, he was overcome by smoke at No. 123
Schermerhorn Street while at work on the fourth story. While returning from
a fire at Box 54, on Jan. 19, 1892, Mr. WARD was thrown from the hose-wagon.
The hind wheel of the wagon passed over his leg at the knee joint and
crushed it so badly that it was feared amputation would be necessary.
Hugh J. GALLAGHER is a native of Brooklyn, born in 1868. His appointment to
the uniformed forces bears date Oct. 14, 1890, and he has been attached to
Engine No. 26 since that time. On Nov. 4, 1891, while going to a fire at
No. 389 Degraw Street, he was thrown from the seat of the hose-wagon at
State and Bond Streets and had one of his legs nearly torn off by coming in
contact with at shed post.
Martin J. MURPHY was born in Brooklyn, April, 1865, and has been a member of
the company since he was appointed, on March 12, 1891.
James DONOHUE was born in Ireland, in 1852, and made his debut as a fireman
March 1, 1887, since which time he has served the Department creditably.
John DWYER was also born in Ireland, and though he has just passed over the
three-score mark is still young enough to perform good work. When he sits
in the driver's seat the fire flies from the horses' heels.
Edward J. FITZPATRICK was born in Brooklyn, July 18, 1869, and has been a
faithful member of the Department since Nov. 16, 1891.
Thomas F. O'CONNOR was born in Brooklyn, in Dec., 1864, and was appointed to
the uniformed force on July 15, 1889. He was assigned to Engine No. 5,
where he did good service up to Nov. 26, 1890, when he was transferred to
- HOOK AND LADDER COMPANY NO. 10
- A BUSY FIRST YEAR.
Hook and Ladder Company No. 10
It was on Aug., 1, 1891, that Commissioner ENNIS declared Hook and Ladder
Company No. 10 duly organized and ready for active service. Located in a
district bounded by Johnston Street, Nevins Street, First Place and Smith
Street, and on the west by the water-front, the company has a vast amount of
the most valuable property in the city under its protection. It responds to
calls from 117 boxes on a second-alarm, the remotest box being at the end of
Red Hook Point. The company is quartered in a model two-story structure on
State Street, near Boreum Place. The cellar of the house has been fitted
up as a gymnasium and among the appliances for developing the muscles of the
men are rowing-machines, Indian clubs, dumb bells, heavy and light
hammers and quoits. The house is furnished with the latest improved
second-class Hayes truck, and three of the handsomest and quickest working
horses in the Department. "Larry," "Billy" and Dick" are their names, and
their colors are black, dark-brown and dapple bay. They can get out of the
house with ease in twelve seconds. " Billy," who is nearly seventeen hands
high and weighs over 1400 pounds, prior to coming to Truck No. 10 served
five years with Truck No. 2. and he is so well-versed in the telegraph alarm
system that no amount of persuasion will induce him to leave his stall on a
" test-call." Two days after the organization of the company another
member was added to the roster, whose name does not appear on the pay-rolls
at Fire Headquarters. He was diminutive in size when he first entered the
door of the truck-house and he wore a fur coat which in color resembled a
tortoise shell. He carried no "grip," but his general demeanor indicated
as he settled himself in a chair, that he had come to stay; and stay he did,
for every man in the company took the young stranger by the paw, christened
him " Patsey," and adorned him with a silver collar. Good warm milk and an
occasional piece of meat developed " Patsey " into a full-fledged fire cat.
In the gymnasium he took lessons in "high vaulting" and " running jumps," at
which he has become an expert. His favorite place of sleeping was on the
men's coats on the extreme end of the extension ladder. One day as he was
taking an afternoon nap, an alarm sounded from Box 58, corner Hoyt and
Warren Streets. As a rule "Patsey" was on the alert at the first sound of
the gong, but on this particular occasion he was not aroused from his
slumbers until the truck was on the way to the fire. At Dean and Pacific
Streets, Fireman Collins discovered "Patsey" with his nails buried deep
into one of the coats and to all appearances enjoying the situation. When
the truck arrived at the fire "Patsey " was transferred to the driver's seat
and covered up with a coat, from which position he seemed to enjoy the
excitement. The men who make up the company are intelligent, temperate,
conscientious and brave, and since they have been banded together under the
same roof have experienced all the hardships and perils incident to the life
of a fireman.
Foreman JAMES FRANCIS MURRAY has been in many perilous positions, and
though his name is not on the roll of " life-savers," it is not because he
stood back when human life was in peril. He was born in Brooklyn, July 12,
1851. He was appointed a fireman Sept. I, 1878, and assigned to Engine No.
4. While with this company, on Oct. 22, 1881, he was promoted to the grade
of Foreman. In Feb., 1890, he was transferred to Engine No. 10, and on Aug.
1, 1892, was transferred to the company which he now commands. At the
glass house fire in State Street, he had his foot severely injured, and at
the Wallabout Market fire in the summer of 1890, he was overcome by heat
and smoke for a time.
Assistant Foreman THOMAS STEVEN COPPINGER is a native of Brooklyn, born
Nov. 23, i86o. He was appointed to the Department March 17, 1888, and was
assigned to Engine No. 4 and afterward transferred to Engine No. 26. While
in the latter company, on June 1, 1891, he was promoted to be Assistant
Foreman and sent to Engine No. 1, from which he was transferred to the
present one. On March 2, 1890, while a member of Engine No. 26, he
assisted Foreman DOOLEY in rescuing a woman from the third story of No. 362
Atlantic Avenue. On Aug. 31,1890. at a fire in the tenements Nos. 452 and
452 1/2 Atlantic Avenue, Mr. COPPINGER found in a dark bedroom on the
third floor of No. 452, a three-year-old child named Charles SCHMIDT, who,
but for his prompt arrival, would have perished. The heat was intense and
the smoke stifling, but the brave young fireman fought his way through it
with the child in his arms and reached the street in safety.
ANTHONY A. COOKE, the driver, beams with good-nature. Since he was able to
toddle about in short clothes he has been around horses, and as he grew to
manhood his love for them increased. As a driver there is none better in
the Department, and he is happiest when he sits behind handsome " Billy "
and his mates and gives them their heads for a long run. Mr. COOKE was
born on Hamilton Avenue, May 25. 1856. He donned a fireman's uniform on
Feb. 18, 1887, and since that time has been the driver of Engines Nos. 3 and
26, and Trucks Nos. 1, 5 and 10. At a fire at No. 359 Fulton Street he
stood on the roof and held the rope which saved the lives of David and Sarah
GOODMAN, who were tenants of the fourth floor, and had been cut off from all
other means of escape.
LESTER AUGUSTUS ROBERTS has a fresh, clear complexion, kindly blue eyes and
a most amiable disposition. He is tall, broad-chested, strong-limbed, and
a perfect athlete in muscular development. He is of a literary turn of
mind, and during his thirty years of life has been around the world. He
was born in Brooklyn. March 10, 1862, and served in the United States Navy
from April 3, 1878, to March 10. 1883 and was an apprentice on board the U.
S. S. "Alliance" when that vessel made her famous voyage to the Arctic
regions in search of the lost steamer " Jeannette." Mr. ROBERTS is as
brave as he is good-looking and intelligent. He was made a fireman April
1, 1885, and assigned to Truck No. 1. While with this company in July,
1885, he saved the lives of John and Ellen MCGRATH at a fire, corner of
Hicks Street and Hamilton Avenue.
On the night of Aug. 31, 1890, at No. 452 Atlantic Avenue, he took a very
active part in the rescue of several persons. On Feb. 22, 1892 at No. 395
Fulton Street, Mr. ROBERTS, then a member of Truck No. 10, assisted in
getting Jacob MICHAELSON and Mrs. GOODMAN out, and caught the latter's baby,
which had been thrown by the frantic mother from the fourth story window.
JOSEPH BARRETT was born in Ireland, Aug. 6,1866, and became a fireman March
21, 1888. He has since done duty with Engines Nos. 3 and 26 and Trucks
Nos. 1 and 10. Aug. 31, 1890, he found Mrs. DORSHEIMER and her son on the
third floor of the burning building. No. 422 Atlantic Avenue, and carried
them to the roof of the adjoining building. He also assisted in the rescue
of Jacob MICHAELSON and Mrs. GOODMAN at No. 359 Fulton Street, Feb. 22,
JOHN MICHAEL RYAN is a native of Brooklyn, and was born July 7, 1864. He
was made a fireman June 12. 1889, and at the fire. No. 359 Fulton Street, in
Feb.. 1891. assisted in saving Samuel Goodman and his wife. On Jan. 9.
1892, as he was passing No. 98 Union Street, he heard the cry of " Fire,"
and running quickly to the third story found Josephine RICOLO, eighty-four
years old, enveloped in flames, caused by the explosion of a kerosene oil
stove. H« smothered the flames with his heavy overcoat and carried the
woman down to the basement and summoned an ambulance.
HENRY W. MALONEY was born in Brooklyn. Jan. 7, 1864, and on June 15, 1885,
became a member of the Fire Department. He was attached to Truck No. 5 on
Aug. 31, 1890, and assisted in rescuing James DONNELLY his wife,
sister-in-law and two children from the top floor of No. 452 1/2 Atlantic
Avenue. On Dec. 22, 1891. at No. 344-46 Smith Street, at great personal
risk he worked his way up to the third floor of one of the houses, where he
found Louisa and Alice MOTTERAN, and carried them down the fire-escape to a
place of safety.
WILLIAM E. COLLINS was born April 19, 1867, in Brooklyn, and his appointment
to the uniformed force dates from Aug. 11. 1891. Although young in the
business he has a record for saving the life of a woman at No. 117 Atlantic
Avenue, on Dec. 24, 1891.
JOHN KELLY was born in Brooklyn, Oct. 5, 1867, and became a fireman Oct. 29.
1890. On arriving at a fire at No. 38 Atlantic Avenue. Sept. 27, 1891. he
was told that a boy named Edmund RALPH was asleep in a dark bedroom on the
first floor. It was impossible to reach the boy by the stairway, so Kelly
climbed the fire-escape at the rear of the house, and after groping about in
the dense smoke succeeded in reaching the lad, who was by this time nearly
suffocated, and carried him out to the street.
EDWARD FINN, also a native of Brooklyn, was born Aug. 9, 1836, and after
serving some years in the United States Navy, joined the uniformed force at
its organization, Sept. 15. 1869. He has been an active worker at all the
big fires since that time. and fortunately escaped without injury.
WILLIAM FRANCIS Down was born Sept. 4, 1862, in Brooklyn, and since he
became a fireman. Dec. 3, 1888, has served the Department faithfully and well.
PATRICK JOSEPH SULLIVAN was born in King's County, Nov. 27. 1865, and. after
passing the civil service examination with a good percentage, was duly
appointed a member of the uniformed force, Oct. 29, 189o.
JOHN PADIAN is a native of England, and first saw the light in St. Helens,
Lancashire County, on July 13, 1861. He was made a fireman March 31, 1892,
and although young in his career, has the mettle in him to make an efficient
member of the force. While the company has been in existence the men have
had a great number of fires which required many hours of hard labor to
subdue. Among them were the chemical works at ,the foot of Jay Street;
Baum's building, comer Myrtle Avenue and Bridge Street; Pinto's stores. Red
Hook Point; Smith & Gray's clothing house, and the sash and blind factory
fire at Fulton and State Streets. On the first day of the water famine in
Brooklyn they were summoned to a fire, comer of Court and Butler streets,,
and on their return from that fire they were called out again to a fire at
Carroll and Court Streets.
Transcribed for the Brooklyn Pages by Mimi Stevens
BROOKLYN FIRE DEPT. Chapter 10
Back To HISTORY of the BROOKLYN FIRE DEPT. Index
Back To FIRE Index
Back To CIVIL Index
Back To BROOKLYN Main