Fire Patrol/Fire Police Companies/Salvage Companies

mack

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Many cities in the US were protected by emergency salvage companies financed by insurance underwriters, primarily from the mid-1800s through the later 1900s.  These companies were organized to cut fire losses.  Most cities had volunteer fire departments and the fire insurance companies began to realize the growing inadequacies of the volunteers as cities grew.  These salvage companies, or fire patrols, were usually composed of former or active volunteer firefighters.  They preceded the career metropolitan fire departments and usually were highly regarded, professional organizations.  They were chartered and given emergency status by state governments. 

When professional departments were organized in the later 1800s, the fire patrols or salvage companies developed rapport with the department and worked side-by-side at fires.  They became less popular in the years following World War II and were discontinued.  Fire salvage work became the sole responsibility of city fire departments.  The NYFP was the last remaining fire insurance organization.  The NYFP was disbanded in 2006.  Fire patrol organizations performed dangerous work and sustained many LODDs and injuries.  Fire patrol members were also welcomed into the IAFF.  Their trademark was their traditional red fire helmets.   

There were also several fire-police and fire salvage companies and departments in smaller cities which followed the fire underwriters model. 

List of 22 US cities who were members of fire insurance patrol association approx. 1912:
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Fire insurance organizations also operated in major cities in other countries.
 

mack

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mack

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SAN FRANCISCO

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"The work of salvage at fires began when the Department was organization in 1849.  Each member of the volunteer companies was given an assigned task upon their arrival at a fire such as making the hose lead to the burning building, manning the pump, or entering the fire building to save the home owner's most valuable possessions.  Each fireman carried a large canvass salvage bag that was used to remove valuable property at fires.  The bag was marked with his initials so that the bag could be returned to him after the saved property was turned over to the home owner.  A set of bed keys were also carried by the firemen to dismantle and remove the home owner's brass bed, as it usually the most valuable piece of property in those by-gone days.

SF Underwriters Fire Patrol Building
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147 Natoma St

On May 24, 1875, the City's insurance companies joined together to organize and fund the Underwriters Fire Patrol.  The UFP was like a fire department; it had its own firehouses, alarm system and firemen whose only task was salvage practices.  The patrol worked at fires in conjunction with the SFFD.  The insurance companies realized that if valuable items could be saved from fire damage that their business expenses could be controlled.  Due to do the reduction of these expenses, their policy holders would not have to pay higher premiums.  On this premise, the Underwriters Fire Patrol was organized.

THE UNDERWRITERS PATROL HAD THE FIRST MOTORIZED FIRE UNITS IN SAN FRANCISCO.  A 1911 American LaFrance Type 5 Fire Patrol Wagon, registry # 25, was shipped from Elmira, New York on April 27, 1911 and placed into service in May of that year.  Three other American LaFrance Fire Patrol Wagons were shortly added to their apparatus roster.  A 1911 ALF, registry #84, Type 10, was shipped on December 11, 1911, followed by a 1912, registry #207, Type 10, on December 26, 1912 and a 1913 ALF Type 10,  #407, left Elmira on October 15, 1913.  All four units were in service until 1930, then placed in reserve and finally scrapped in 1941.

On July 1, 1943 the Underwriters Fire Patrol was merged into the Department.  All the apparatus, equipment and firemen of the UFP were transferred and used to organize four new salvage companies. 

The usual work place for the firemen of the salvage companies was the floor under the fire.  Furniture, beds and other home items were moved to the center of the room and covered with large heavy canvass salvage covers to protect them from water damage caused by the engine companies working above on the fire floor.  If the fire was in a business, the first task was to save the record books of the company.  Once the property was covered, water shoots were made using the salvage covers to funnel the water out a window or down a central staircase to the exterior of the building.  At greater alarm fires, once their beginning salvage work was completed, the companies often assisted attacking the fire by making their own hose lead.  When a fire was extinguished their work then turned to removing all the water from the building, from the floors below the fire all the way to the basement.  Heavy pumps were used to remove the water from the basements and elevator shafts.  There was work on the roof as well.  Roof ventilation holes and punched out sky lights made by the truck companies needed to be covered with heavy canvas roofing covers.  Rolls of roofing paper or, in later years, rolls of heavy plastic were also used to protect the building from the elements.  The salvage companies were always the last to leave a fire.

The winter months were the busiest time for salvage companies as not only did they answer calls of fires, they saved property from water damage caused by  roof leaks, broken windows and doors, broken water pipes and a wide assortment of building problems.

Beginning in 1971 the City demanded that the Fire Department reduce its budget, and over the next several years the salvage companies were disbanded.  On July 1, 1976 the last remaining salvage company, number 1, was deactivated and placed in an unmanned reserve status.  Four years later Salvage Company No.1 was removed from a reserve status and was disbanded.  Much of the equipment that was carried on the Salvage rigs was transferred to each of the City's 20 truck companies.  Truck companies, when they had the time, took over much of the work that had been previously done by the salvage companies.

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Equipment carried, in general (1938):

40 to 100 salvage and roofing covers
            size of salvage covers: 12 x 18 feet
            size of roofing covers: 14 x 18 feet
Ceiling hook or pike pole
Box of spare sprinkler heads
Hasps and locks
Assorted nails
Monkey wrenches
Hand lamps and Pres-o-lite lanterns
Portable soda and acid extinguishers
Pyrene extinguishers
Scoop shovels
Brooms
Mops and squeegee
Sponges
Assorted pipe plugs for water lines
Sawdust
Laths tar paper
Ladders
Axes
Door opener
Sprinkler stoppers
Saw, brace and bits, Stillson wrenches, etc.

1960, in addition to above:

Firemen salvage belts carries a hammer and a pouch of various nails
Rolls of poly-plastic"

Note:
SF had 9 fire patrol companies:
http://guardiansofthecity.org/sffd/companies/ufp/index.html

(from SFFD Museum - "Guardians of the City")

SF Underwriters Fire Patrol Company 1A:
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147 Natoma St
 

mack

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WORCESTER

"In 1875, In order to benefit the insurance companies doing business within the city, the Worcester Fire Patrol was established by an act of the State legislature. As an auxiliary of the fire department, the patrol members were under the command of the chief while working at fires. The patrol's main function at the fire was to salvage as much property from fire and water as possible. Upon their arrival, patrol's main duty was to open up windows and doors to allow the heat and smoke out of the building and to cover as much property as they could as they went along. They would spread salvage covers on the floor below the fire in such a way as to catch the water from the floor above and channel it out of the building.

The patrol was sustained each year by assessing the insurance companies 2% of their premiums. It wasn't until 1900 that the city began to contribute funds to the patrols to ease the burden on insurance companies. The reason for this decision was that at that time, many households did not carry insurance but were receiving the services of the patrol. In 1958, the fire patrol was faced with an ultimatum from the insurance companies to cease operation. After having served the city of Worcester for 84 years, their duties were taken over by the Fire Department and on April 23, 1962, the fire patrol was officially disbanded."

(from Worcester MA "History of the WFD" webpage)
 

mack

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CHICAGO

The Citizen?s Fire Brigade was formed in Chicago by a group of businessmen and insurance companies in 1857.


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The Brigade was reorganized as the Chicago Fire Insurance Patrol in 1871.

Similar to NY Fire Patrol, the Patrol?s job was to go into buildings with CFD and protect goods and assets from water damage, smoke and thievery.

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1949 RIG DAMAGE

http://www.chicagofirepatrol.com/

Chicago Fire Insurance Patrol

Chicago Fire Insurance Patrol Firehouses:
http://forgottenchicago.com/articles/fire-insurance-patrol-stations/

Chicago Fire Insurance Patrol LODDs - RIP:
Patrolmen David Donnell and John Patterson were killed when the fire building they were in collapse on June 22, 1872

Patrolman Edward Ferris of Patrol 1 died when he fell out the window at company quarters

Patrolman Alfred Papneau was killed at a fire located at 105-09 Madison when it collapse on October 31, 1886

Lt. Patrick L. Mullins died on September 17, 1891 from the fumes he inhaled at a fire at 168 Adams the day before.

Captain William Bergerman died on February 5, 1905 from his injuries he received at a fire located 230-34 N. green on February 3, 1905

Patrolmen Edward Jones and John Walsh were killed when the fire building they were in collapse on March 22, 1885

Captain John O'Connell of Patrol 2 was killed when the rig he was in was hit by a trolley in 1905

Patrolman James McGovern of Patrol 1 was killed on March 15, 1922 at the Burlington Building fire

Patrolman Earl Barnes of Patrol 8 died from falling down the pole hole in quarters on February 26, 1925

Patrolman Frank McNulty was killed when hit by a train on July 20, 1925

Patrolman Henry Klenesatt died from a heart attack while in quarters on July 10, 1940

Patrolmen Arthur W. Hampel of Patrol 5 was killed at the Superior Match Company fire located at 419 W. Superior on July 9, 1943 and Henry Weinel died from his injuries he received in the hospital later that day...8 members of the CFD also were killed at that fire.

Patrolman Walter Crumpp of Patrol 1 was killed on January 26, 1948 in a rig accident

Patrolman Patrick Milott of Patrol 5 was killed on January 12, 1951 when a wall collapse at 320 N. La Salle...3 CFD firemen were also killed
 

mack

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ST LOUIS

"The Underwriters Salvation Corps of St Louis was created in May 1874 to reduce the lost of property in fires. It was one of several Salvage Corps that formed in the 19th century to deal with fire in growing cities. Members would be part of Fire Patrols that, in the event of a fire, would enter burning structures and remove valuables before the fire could destroy them. This organization helped innovated early fire equipment. The organization "came to a close at the stroke of midnight" on December 31, 1955."
(Wikipedia)

1915 Underwriters Salvage Corps No 3:
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St Louis Salvage Corp rig:
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mack

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LOUISVILLE

The Louisville Salvage Corps origniated April 14, 1888.  It served Louisville until disbanded in 1941 after 53 years in service, operating with the Louisville Fire Department.

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Louisville Salvage Corps 1926:
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7 members of the Louisville Salvage Corps lost their lives in the line of duty:

Lieutenant William P. Patton
Last Call: Monday, January 6th, 1930
Date of Incident: Monday, January 6th, 1930
Cause of Death: Electrocution (Accidental)

Private Robert Goodwin
Last Call: Monday, July 30th, 1928
Date of Incident: Monday, July 30th, 1928
Cause of Death: Motor Vehicle Accident (Response)

Private Joseph P. Hack
Last Call: Tuesday, April 5th, 1927
Date of Incident: Tuesday, August 28th, 1923
Cause of Death: Motor Vehicle Accident (Response)

Private Jomer Palmer
Last Call: Tuesday, August 28th, 1923
Date of Incident: Tuesday, August 28th, 1923
Cause of Death: Motor Vehicle Accident (Response)

Private Joseph Dial
Last Call: Saturday, September 23rd, 1911
Date of Incident: Saturday, September 23rd, 1911
Cause of Death: Structural Collapse

Private Virgil Ferguson
Last Call: Saturday, September 23rd, 1911
Date of Incident: Saturday, September 23rd, 1911
Cause of Death: Structural Collapse

Private Richard Hardiman
Last Call: Saturday, September 23rd, 1911
Date of Incident: Saturday, September 23rd, 1911
Cause of Death: Structural Collapse


https://www.kentuckyfiretrucks.com/Photos/Louisville/Louisville-Salvage-Corp/

 

fdny1075k

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Great history there, mack!

And you gotta love those bright red helmets from Chicago!
 

mack

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NEW YORK

"The New York Fire Patrol was a salvage corps created by the New York Board of Fire Underwriters which operated from 1839 until October 15, 2006. Their original mission was two-fold: to discover fires and to prevent losses to insured properties. The Patrol responded primarily to fires at commercial structures, however they would respond to high loss residential fires at times. During the fire the Patrol would spread canvas salvage covers, remove water, operate elevators and secure utilities.

After the fire the Patrol would attempt to prevent further damage to facilities and equipment, with the goal of reducing insurance claims for the damaged goods. Over the years, they grew adept at preventing water damage by immediately pumping out excess water from fire department hoses, at preventing computer and electronics damage by covering and removing equipment as soon as possible, and at preventing damage from the elements by covering broken windows and doors with tarps as soon as possible. The Patrol was also credited with saving hundreds of lives from burning buildings throughout the five boroughs over the course of two hundred years. In the late 20th century the Patrol was reduced to three Patrol Houses, one each in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan and one in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn which was responsible for Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Throughout their history, 32 patrolmen died in the line of duty, including Keith M. Roma, Badge 120, on September 11, 2001. Despite appeals to the New York Board of Fire Underwriters and the City Council, the Fire Patrol's "ratchets rang for the last time" at 0800 on October 15, 2006. The New York Fire Patrol became the last of all the Insurance supported salvage corps to operate in the United States."
(Wikipedia)

1991:
http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=ApFrjjEZ6vVIIAlpWMXxuvWbvZx4?p=ny+fire+patrol+youtube&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-900

FP 1 firehouse approx 2006:
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FP 2 firehouse approx 2006:
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FP 3 firehouse approx 2006:
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FP 2 response:
http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=ApFrjjEZ6vVIIAlpWMXxuvWbvZx4?p=ny+fire+patrol+youtube&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-900

NYFP - response to Upper East Side plane crash - one of final runs: http://www.nysun.com/new-york/fire-patrol-members-respond-for-one-of-the-last/41404/

NYFP web site: http://www.fpny123.net/index1.html

NYFP LODDs:
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New NY Fire Patrol web site - 2010: http://newyorkfirepatrol.com/Home.html
 

mack

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Fire Patrol 3/Fire Patrol 1 - former firehouse - 240 W 30th St    1894-2006

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W 17th Street  - October 15, 1949
This second alarm fire had the men of Patrol 3 in the basement of the building.  Not long after their arrival the four story building collapsed, Killed In the Line of Duty -  Patrolmen Daniel P. Shea and Frederick Lehman of Patrol 1.
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Wooster Street Collapse - February 14, 1958
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Four member of Fire Patrol # 1 placing salvage covers and two FDNY firefighters venting the roof were buried alive when all floors and the roof suddenly collapsed in a burning 6 story, 80x100 foot, heavy timber construction, loft building in "Hells' hundred acres"lower Manhattan. The fire occurred at 2215 hours, in a baled paper storage building located at 137-9 Wooster Street, between West Houston and Prince Street....
FP 1 Killed In The Line Of Duty:
Fire Patrol # 1, Sargent Michael McGee
Fire Patrol # 1, Patrolman Louis Brusati
Fire Patrol # 1, Patrolman James Devine
Fire Patrol # 1, Patrolman Michael Tracey
FF Bernard Blumenthal - Ladder 10
FF William Schimd - Ladder 1

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http://www.fpny123.net/sitemap.html

 

mack

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NYFP 2 - former firehouse - 31 Great Jones St - (1872-1907) - originally a converted stable/currently a restaurant

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mack

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NYFP 7 - firehouse - 133 Norfolk St - (1907-1933)  - NYFP converted a 4 story tenament into FP 7's quarters

FP_7_133_Norfolk.jpg

Currently is occupied by MassMarket, a visual fx boutique for branded media


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NYFP firehouse:
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mack

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NYFP 3  firehouse  Dean St (2006)

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Lt John Murray - FP 3  - May 10, 1888 -  Brooklyn Eagle Aug 25, 1888 
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mack

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NYFP 1949:

- Firehouses: 3 in Manhattan; 3 in Brooklyn; 1 in the Bronx
- Patrol 2, Patrol 3 and Patrol 8 had double sections
- FP responded to all 5-7 (engine and truck) signals and first alarms in Manhattan
- FP responded to all boxes in the Bronx except north and east of the Bronx River
- FP responded to all boxes in Brooklyn except outlaying areas of the 12th, 13th and 15th divisions
- FP responded to all 2nd alarms in Brooklyn
- FP responded when special called by chief officer
- FP did not respond to Queens or SI
- FP responded to boxes in the city where federal, state or NYC municipal properties were involved

Equipment most frequently used by FP:
- covers
- chutes
- poles
- sprinkler kits
- portable pumps
- Halligan tool
- brooms
- squeegees
- sawdust

Patroleos additional duties in addition to protection of property from water and smoke:
- operate elevators
- cover holes in roofs
- plumbing and plumbing leaks
- freeze damage
- first aid
- artificial respiration
- rescue
- evacuation
- extinguishers
- standpipe operations
- handling hoselines
- raising ladders
- forcible entry
(from WNYF 1949)
 

mack

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MEMPHIS

Memphis Fire Insurance Patrol operated from 1888 to 1945

Patrolmen with new 1911 apparatus:
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1935 International used by FP 1 (deck gun was added in 1955 by MFD)
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MFD Salvage Corps 3 vehicle 1958:
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After MFD assumed Memphis Fire Insurance Patrol responsibilities

LODDs:
ROBERT H. ALEXANDER, December 2, 1934, Lieutenant assigned to the Fire Insurance Patrol, was one of three firefighters who died while fighting a fire at the Johnson Motor Company at 333-37 Monroe Avenue at 4:25 a.m. on December 2, 1934. All three men were killed when a wall collapse followed an explosion during the fire. Alexander saw the collapse begin and was warning others to run when the falling wall crushed him. He had been with the department for fourteen years. Lieutenant Robert H. Alexander, 50, was married and the father of one son.

JAMES B. FAULKENBERRY, December 2, 1934, Patrolman assigned to the Fire Insurance Patrol, was one of three firefighters who died while fighting a fire at the Johnson Motor Company at 333-37 Monroe Avenue at 4:25 a.m. on December 2, 1934. All three men were killed when a wall collapse followed an explosion during the fire. He had been with the department for five years. James Benton Faulkenberry, 31, was married and the father of one son.

WIX J. FOWLER, December 2, 1934, Patrolman assigned to the Fire Insurance Patrol, was one of three firefighters who died while fighting a fire at the Johnson Motor Company at 333-37 Monroe Avenue at 4:25 a.m. on December 2, 1934. All three men were killed when a wall collapse followed an explosion during the fire. He had been with the department for only a few months. Wix Fowler, 25, was married and the father of one son.
 

mack

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NEWARK

The Newark Salvage Corps operated from 1879 to 1951

The Salvage Corps responded from their 227 Washington St firehouse.


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mack

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PHILADELPHIA

Philadelphia Fire Insurance Patrol operated from 1869 to 1962.

FP Captain's vehicle:
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FP 3:
Phil_4.jpg

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