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The following Historical Summary is taken from the Felton Fire Company's 100th Anniversary book, courtesy of Leigh Allvord, firstname.lastname@example.org
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|Historical Summary of the Chester Fire Department in 1902
Very little is known of the early vicissitudes of the fire laddies previous to the organization of Franklin Fire Company in November, 1867, except through talks with some of the older residents. Said an old inhabitant: "Previous to 1854 and up to 1867 two hand engines known as the Friendship and Delaware, respectively, furnished the means of extinguishing fires. The first named was housed in a little one-story affair, put up for the purpose alongside of the old City Hall, and was under the care of the High Constable. The Delaware was housed in a one-story frame at Third and Penn Streets. Considerable rivalry existed between the two companies even at that early date. Effective work was done even then, under all disadvantages. It was only possible to force the water by these engines, they having to be filled by forming a bucket brigade to some water supply." Continuing, he said, "I remember one fire that occurred near the wharf during 1856 when the firemen were compelled to run their engines into the river and nearly submerge them in order to get a sufficient supply, and for several hours they worked in water up to their waist. It was great fun in those days to get hold of the rope, which was nearly a square long, and run at breakneck speed to a fire, and didn't we make Rome howl though."
A comparison of the apparatus and appurtenances used in subduing a conflagration in the early days with the up-to-date methods, indicates the struggles of the founders in reaching the present degree of efficiency. The organization of companies were as follows:
Franklin Fire Co., No. 1, November 30th, 1867
The year 1890 was a memorable one in the history of the department, for the Annual State Firemen's
Convention was held in Chester on September 16th of that year. There were one hundred and two companies from this and other States in the line of parade.
© 2002 John A. Bullock III.
This page last updated 10/18/05