In the following pages, Retired Fire Chief Wilbur Bills has attempted to reflect the history of Fire Protection for the Village and City of Delaware as it unfolded from it inception in 1831. Much of the information was secured from reading the Council minutes from 1831 to 1916.
During the early history of Delaware as a village every citizen was a member of the fire department. At the first alarm everyone rushed out with pail in hand to the scene of action, and so effective did they prove that but two or three fires of any importance occurred during the first 25 years of the town’s existence.
After the original organization of the Fire Department in 1834 by the City Council, the companies went through various changes. A reorganization of the companies took place and a Fire Association was formed in 1846.
Paid members of the Deleware Fire Department.
The Delaware Fire Chiefs through the years are listed.
In 1834 when the Delaware Fire Department was first organized, all personnel were volunteers or “Minute Men,” as they were referred to, until approximately 1870 when full-time drivers for the various pieces of apparatus were hired.
Fire trumpets were used in the early days for the chief officers to shout orders to the firemen at the scene of a fire.
The use of horses to transport fire equipment to the fire scene began in 1870-74 and continued until 1924 when the last horse drawn ladder-chemical unit was taken out of service.
Apparatus and pumping equipment have have changed through the years, from the first hand engines to pumper trucks with booster tanks and hose beds.
Early training consisted of a 10-hour Red Cross first aid course and the only equipment was a portable E. & I. resuscitator.