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Fire Trucks Water Hose Blast - Southampton, New York  by © Sophie W. Smith

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I am not sure what they were doing, since there was no fire anywhere. However, upon detecting fire truck, it was beautiful for me to see water blast creating new views.

The history of organized firefighting began in ancient Rome while under the rule of Augustus.1 Prior to that, there is evidence of fire-fighting machinery in used in Ancient Egypt, including a water pump invented by Ctesibius of Alexandria in the third century BC which was later improved upon in a design by Hero Of Alexandria in the first century BC.

The first Roman fire brigade of which we have any substantial history was created by Marcus Licinius Crassus. Marcus Licinius Crassus was born into a wealthy Roman family around the year 115 BC, and acquired an enormous fortune through (in the words of Plutarch) “fire and rapine.” One of his most lucrative schemes took advantage of the fact that Rome had no fire department. Crassus filled this void by creating his own brigade—500 men strong—which rushed to burning buildings at the first cry of alarm. Upon arriving at the scene, however, the fire fighters did nothing while their employer bargained over the price of their services with the distressed property owner. If Crassus could not negotiate a satisfactory price, his men simply let the structure burn to the ground, after which he offered to purchase it for a fraction of its value. Augustus took the basic idea from Crassus and then built on it to form the Vigiles in AD 6[contradictory] to combat fires using bucket brigades and pumps, as well as poles, hooks and even ballistae to tear down buildings in advance of the flames. The Vigiles patrolled the streets of Rome to watch for fires and served as a police force. The later brigades consisted of hundreds of men, all ready for action. When there was a fire, the men would line up to the nearest water source and pass buckets hand in hand to the fire.

Rome suffered a number of serious fires, most notably the fire on 19 July AD 64 and eventually destroyed two thirds of Rome.

In 1631 Boston’s governor John Winthrop outlawed wooden chimneys and thatched roofs.3 In 1648, the New Amsterdam governor Peter Stuyvesant appointed four men to act as fire wardens.3 They were empowered to inspect all chimneys and to fine any violators of the rules. The city burghers later appointed eight prominent citizens to the “Rattle Watch” – these men volunteered to patrol the streets at night carrying large wooden rattles.3 If a fire was seen, the men spun the rattles, then directed the responding citizens to form bucket brigades. On January 27, 1678 the first fire engine company went into service with its captain (foreman) Thomas Atkins.3 In 1736 Benjamin Franklin established the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia.3

George Washington was a volunteer firefighter in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1774, as a member of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Company, he bought a new fire engine and gave it to the town, which was its very first.4 However the United States did not have government-run fire departments until around the time of the American Civil War. Prior to this time, private fire brigades compete with one another to be the first to respond to a fire because insurance companies paid brigades to save buildings.[citation needed] Underwriters also employed their own Salvage Corps in some cities. The first known female firefighter Molly Williams took her place with the men on the dragropes during the blizzard of 1818 and pulled the pumper to the fire through the deep snow.

Fire houses were a sort of social gathering place rather than a place where professionals would meet, and the money paid to the brigade went into the house’s fund rather than to individual members.

In 2010, 70 percent of firefighters in the United States were volunteer. Only 5% of calls were actual fires. 65% were medical aid. 8% were false alarms.Read more


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  • Otto Danby II
    Otto Danby IIover 1 year ago

    Really neat capture Sophie.

  • Thank you Otto.

    – © Sophie W. Smith

  • trarbach
    trarbachover 1 year ago

    like the contrast.. well done

  • Thank you so much.

    – © Sophie W. Smith

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