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0500. Fire Department

 Record Group
Identifier: 0500
The origins of the Boston Fire Department date back to 1678 with the establishment of the first engine company and the receipt of the first hand fire engine in North America. The Board of Fire Wards was established on February 1, 1711. Prominent men were chosen as Fire Wards and were responsible for the operation and maintenance of the equipment assigned to their ward. Chapter 52 of the Acts of 1825, "An Act Establishing a Fire Department in the City of Boston and an Ordinance for the preventing and extinguishing of fires and establishing a fire department" went into full operation in April of 1826. With this legislation, the Board of Fire Wards was dissolved. All records and property belonging to the city were transferred to the Chief Engineer in May of 1826. By the reorganization in 1837, the Fire Department changed from a partially volunteer to a paid fire department. On June 16, 1851, the City Council passed an order to erect a system of telegraphic fire alarms and the first regular alarm on the new system was received on April 29, 1852. On January 1, 1859, two new steam engines were put in service replacing two hand engines. On October 24, 1873, the City Council passed an ordinance creating a Board of Fire Commissioners to oversee the department. Section 9 of Chapter 449 of the Acts of 1895, an act to amend the City Charter, abolished the Board of Fire Commissioners and placed the Department under the charge of one Fire Commissioner. The Chief Engineer serves as the Executive Officer of the Commissioner and directs the work of the members of the Department.

Found in 5 Collections and/or Records:

Fire Alarm cards

 Series
Identifier: 0500.011
Scope and Contents note Includes a set of Fire Alarm cards in use from 1960-1981 and a set that was in use in the 1950s as they are marked with updates in 1955. The Fire Department began using a card system for the fire alarm boxes in 1910. New sets were issued in 1910, 1921, 1929, 1960 and 1981. Includes a card for each fire alarm box in the City with information on the order of response and coverage of fire companies to alarms on the fire box. These sets were kept in each fire house in the City.
Dates: circa 1960-1981

Fire Commissioner records

 Series
Identifier: 0500.016
Scope and Contents This series includes subjects files of the Fire Commissioner with the bulk of the files from the 1990s and early 2000s. Fire Commissioners during this period include, Commissioner Martin Pierce, Commissioner Paul Christian, Acting Commissioner Dennis DiMarzio, and Commissioner Roderick Fraser. This series also includes historical files, reports, photographs, etc. kept in the Commissioner's Office for reference purposes. The subject files when transferred to the Archives were arranged in...
Dates: circa 1940-2015; Majority of material found in , 1990-2006

General Orders

 Series
Identifier: 0500.001
Scope and Contents General Orders sent out to all station houses by the Fire Commissioner concerning administrative and personnel issues.
Dates: 1887-1970 with gaps

House journals

 Series
Identifier: 0500.003
Scope and Contents Station House journals of Engine 28/Ladder 10, 1942-2002 with gaps; Engine 32/Ladder 9, 1913-2006 with gaps; Engine 41/Ladder 14, 1941-1968 with gaps; and Engine 50, 1961-2000 with gaps. House journals record calls received and response, members present and other functions of house.
Dates: 1913-2006 with gaps

Special Orders

 Series
Identifier: 0500.002
Scope and Contents Special Orders sent out to all station houses by the Fire Commissioner.
Dates: 1920-1968 with gaps