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HoP: Government of Piedmont and Fire Department #10

Updated: Jan 18



Other than the Fire and Police Departments

By Brad Holbrook

Civics '29


There are no definite rules for a fire fighter, which embody the principles of the craft. As no two fires are exactly alike it is hard to use any fixed data, but the general idea of all rules is used. The first principles to be observed include the confinement of an outbreak to as small as place as possible, the safety of contagious property, the prevention of the loss of life, and the centralization of the outbreak as a whole.


Few people realize the labor, the devotion to service, the acts of heroism, and the mental and phisical strain of the fireman. Fire appar eatus has grown in complexity and its handling requires more skkill and judgement. For many centuries little advance was made in the mechanical aspect of fire-fighting equipment, but in the last fifty years a complete revolution has been brought about in the means and methods used.


The following information is the formation of the fire departments as a whole; the type of apparatus used is also mentioned.




Fire Engines

There are numerous of fire engines dating back from the old hand up to the horse drawn steam fire engines, whose pumps were operated by a steam boiler all contained in a single unit. As the automobile developed and mechanical advances were made the idea of substituting the automobile engine for the steam boiler resulted. The reciprocating pump of the old steamer was changed by using the rotating pump, gears, and centrifigals or turbans, and we now have the automobile fire engine.


In the early stages of this development, about twenty years ago, many of the automobiles- companies endeavored to build fire engines. Their lack of experience in the requirements and service necessary resulted in most of them being eliminated and only the old established fire engine companies continuing in the manufacturing of fire engines.


The capacity of a fire engine means the number of gallons of water pumped per minute. These capacities vary depending on the size pump of the engine; they generally held from 500 to I500 gallons. per min-ute, the average being 750 gallons. They are sometimes known as extra first size, first size, second and third size. A second or third size being750 gallons, first size a I000 gallons, and the extra first size anything over 1000 gallons.


The equipment of an average fire engine now consists of an automobile with a large body; carrying fire hose, fire pumps, generally a pair of 12 foot extension ladders, possibly one or two small extinguishers, lanterns, etc. and also cupplings and suction hose.


Trucks vary from the small city service truck up to the large metropolitain aerial ladder truck Except in very small communities all are automobile trucks. The truck is a utility wagon carrying an assortment of ladders varying from the small scaling ladder known as a Pompeii ladder, up to an aerial extension ladder, operated by machinery, that will reach from eighty feet to ninety feet above the street. In addition to ladders a truck carries hooks for pulling down ceilings and walls etc. axes, shovels, rakes, buckets, searchlights, smoke helmets, life ntes, and all the small gear that is used with general service at a fire.

The chemical engines vary from single forty gallon tanks up to double eighty gallon tanks. Sometimes a chemical engine will carry a fire hose, and is known as a combination wagon. There are triple combinations consisting of a fire engine, chemical engine,

and hose wagon all in one piece. The chemical engine consists of a copper tank, tin lined, or leaded, containing a solution of sodium carbonate together with a container holding sulphuric acid. The tank is connected with a length of hose and a small nozzle. In

order to operate the chemical engine the tank is turned over, sgilli spilling the acid into the soda water solution, and the two are mixed together with a paddle or by some mechanical agiatator. The result is that carbon dioxide gas is formed under high pressure, sometimes as high as I50 pounds per square inch. This gas pressure forces the water with the gas mixed through it out through the nozzle to the fire. There are two effects; one is the quenching power of the water and the other is the blanketing effect of the CO2 gas which displaces the oxygen and prevents combustion.

The chemical engine is quick to respond to fires, and are able to get into action upon arriving. They are used for small interior fires, garages, and chemical and attic or roof fires. In many cases they save the use of large water lines which would do more damage than help.

Water towers are mechanical devices with hose lines connected at the bottom into a manifold from which the water goes into a large pipe telescoped pipe. This pipe is then raised to a vertical position and extended so that it can play through a nozzle, and put the water into upper story windows. This is also out of the reach of men on the street. These water towers are ordinarily used in metropolitain fire departments.

A battery may either be a small individual cart with a large nozzle mounted on it into which a large number of hose lines may be run; or more often it is a large deluge nozzle mounted on the side of an automobile hose wagon.A battery is used for delivering a large amount of water on hyge fires, and takes only one man to handle it.

Many cities are now equipped with movable auxiliary high prefeule fire service. This consists of a seperate set of water mains with special hydrants and special men to operate them, and automobile squad wagons to convey them to the fire. The hose is extra heavy to With stand the high pressure. In many instances reducing valves are used to regulate the pressure required. These also regulate the amount of water delivered through the hose. High pressure service is derived from an elevated reservoir, or from pumping units giving direct high pressure in the mains. San Francisco has both reservoir and pumping units; Oakland has stationary pumping units only. High pressure service is intended


The Early Piedmont Fire Department

the first fire department in Piedmont was started In July 1904, The movement was brought about by the citizens of this city organizing a volunteer fire department.There were seven different station marked off in the city and in each one there was a hand cart. The apparatus on this cart consisted of 1,00 feet of 2 1/2 “ hose, one nozzle, two axes, seven helmets. Hydrants were 1 only on Oakland Avenue at that time and had ‘ “ mains. Scattered around Piedmont were 2 1/2 “ stand pipes on 2 “ mins. Mr. Collin Craig was the first Volunteer chief; as a result when fire calls came in they would ring Craig’s house and he would telephone to the Captain and to the district where the hand carts were stationed.


In 1910 the Fire Department received the first motor apparatus. It carried a 1,000 foot of hose, 2 1/2 “, 300 feet of 1 ½” hose, 300 feet of 1” hose, chemical hose, two 30 gallon chemical tanks, 40 ft extension ladder, 28ft. wall ladder, and a 24ft. and a 20 ft. ladder, two Pompeian ladders, a roof ladder, pike poles, plaster hooks and 10 helmets. At this time Spraig was fire chief and then Parker.


A winton 6 roadster was bought for the chief and latter was turned into chemical wagon with chemical tanks on it. A eleven years ago the fire department got a city service truck or as it is more commonly known as the hook and ladder wagon. In the next few years they got two new pumps on 360 pump and 750 pump. A squad wagon was made out of the first machine that they had. The fire calls came to Mulberry Hall which was then the City Hall. The fire appartatus was kept at Kennys on Bonita before the present City Hall was built.


The fire crew first had one day off in a month, then one day in seven, then one day in four and now they have two platoon systems.



the Piedmont Fire Department

Chief of the Fire Department W.E. Culter

Captain on the A Shift Archibald Murphy

Captain on the B Shift Wn. Tullett


George Allen

Arthur Smith

Steve Barron

Rudolph Getz

Adolph Johnson

Harold Mahoney

Newell Long

Carl Peterson

Paul Rassmithson

Frank Williams

George Stone



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