GREAT FIRE STOPPED AT CITY FRONT
CONFLAGRATION THAT HAS RAGED THREE DAYS IS AT LAST AT AN END.
SAVING OF WHARVES AND FERRY BUILDING ACCOMPLISHED BY FIRE BOATS.
FIRE DEPARTMENT LOSES HOUSES AND APPARATUS, AND MANY OF ITS HOSE LINES.
1906 April 22
Shortly after dawn yesterday morning the conflagration that brought suffering and ruin to San Francisco reached Its limits and concluded its work of destruction. After raging for a period of three days, fought desperately, In face of Its tremendous advantage. It subsided when It had reduced hundreds of blocks of valuable property to ashes and rendered over 250,000 people homeless,
Dynamite accomplished the work of staying of the flames on Van Ness avenue and in the Mission District The water front checked the hurricane of fire on the north and east, while Channel street served to good advantage on the south- The area of ashes and desolation runs south of Market street from the water front along Channel as far west as Twenty-second, between Bryant and Dolores streets. On the. north of Market it extends beyond Van Ness avenue as far as Laguna street in Hayes Valley, but it continues along the line of Van Ness avenue north of Golden Gate avenue, except for a distance of five blocks, where it reached Franklin street It is bounded on the north and east by the waters of the bay.
In this vast territory but few buildings remain. Several surmount the summits of Russian and Telegraph hills and scattered about in the heart of the ruins are a few more. The appraisers' building stands on Washington street, though fire was all around it. and a short distance up the « building known as the Washington block, withstood the fire under the same conditions. On lower Howard street a large structure was untouched and along the water front several warehouses and factories resisted the fury of the destroyer.
LAST STAND OF FIREMEN.
The last stand taken by the firemen was on the water front and ferry building, which latter seemed doomed late Friday night Fire and tug boats were utilized in keeping down the blaze which swept around Telegraph Hill from the wharves that extend from Lombard street. The numerous streams of salt water thrown upon the blazing structures subdued the fire and saved the sheds. Then the great blaze had exhausted itself and the fire fighters withdrew. The fire had been stopped at Van Ness avenue late Friday night.
Just east of Telegraph Hill a cluster of buildings, including the Asti Colony's wine warehouse, the plant of the American Canning Company and the Merchants' Ice and Cold Storage Company, escaped destruction. The branch freight office of the Southern Pacific Company was also spared and a number of freight cars on the Belt Railroad were moved from time to time and saved. The contents of these cars were taken by the Government and hauled to the food headquarters. About 100 cars were burned on sidetracks and adjacent freight landings at the foot of Broadway.
REMOVING THE DEBRIS.
Work of clearing away the debris from the principal thoroughfares used for transportation between the ferry and the inhabited districts was begun yesterday. The military authorities pressed men into service and heaps of brick and other wreckage were moved from the center of the streets. Trolley and other wires were taken down by the Board of Electricity, and the work of tearing down dangerous walls will begin very soon. The Government will undertake the task of removing the bulk of the wreckage. This will occupy a great deal of time and will give employment to a large number of men. The street repairs will be attended to by the Board of Public Works and the street railway companies. Many of the thoroughfares are in extremely bad condition, due to the earthquake, and in the burned district the street railways will all have to be rebuilt. Tracks are warped and twisted and cable slots closed. The rolling stock of a number of lines, including the Powell, Jackson, Sacramento, California, O'Farrell, Sutter and Union street lines, together with their power houses, were completely destroyed.
After the fight to save the ferry; building and the wharves had been won by the fire fighters Chief Shaughnessy found the .department in a dilapidated condition. Twelve engine houses had been destroyed and the Central fire alarm station was out of existence. There were several engines and hose wagons lost, along the two sections of the seawall when the fire swept from North Beach. The flames approached so rapidly that the firemen were obliged to abandon the machines and run for their lives to places of safety. A large number of horses were killed and some of the engines are badly scorched and put out of commission. As soon as the telephone service is restored in the sending in of alarms until the Board of Electricity can secure a new Central station.'
The department is also sadly in need of hose. Thousands of feet were destroyed during the :conflagration arid but little is available for use. Yesterday Chief Shaughnessy telegraphed to Los Angeles, Sacramento and Oakland for chemicals with which to charge the tanks of the chemical engines. Small fires still blaze among the ruins and the: department, in the absence of a water supply, "must rely 'on its chemical engines to extinguish them.
The population of the last district to be destroyed spread in many directions. Most of the poorer classes are destitute and helpless and but little of their personal effects were saved. Fishermen’s wharf was not and Meiggs wharf survived. Both of these are crowded humanity. Many people have taken refuge along, the water front, but the bulk bf people from this district is quartered on vacant lots and at Fort Mason.
PLACE OF REFUGE.
There are two public squares in the district ~Washington and Portsmouth - the latter opposite the Hall of Justice. It is in charge of Sergeant Taylor and contains many of the Police Department records. With the assistance of many brave policemen and citizens, who have remained with him since Wednesday afternoon, Taylor has established a model place of refuge, buried the dead, while fire raged around, and fed thousands who were victims of the disaster. 'The Chinese and Japanese population, for the most part, have decamped. The few that loiter in the vicinity of their homes are fed in the square, but the majority stampeded to Oakland and huddled into the heathen quarter of that city. They are. cared for by their fellow countrymen and by the various relief committees.
A police officer, a sailor and John C. Ennis of Company. E, First Artillery, prevented the fire from crossing-Van Ness avenue at California street at the risk of their lives. They extinguished a small. blaze on the corner of the building and would have saved the structure had not the fire come from the south.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 143, 22 April 1906 — GREAT FIRE STOPPED AT CITY FRONT [CHAPTER]
FIRE CHIEF SUCCUMBS TO INJURIES
1906 April 23
Dennis T. Sullivan, chief of the San Francisco Fire Department, who was injured in his home on Bush street on the morning of the earthquake by falling debris from the California Hotel, died yesterday, morning at the Presidio Hospital. His death had been expected for two days, and has cast the fire department into mourning.
On Wednesday morning while .the fire chief and his wife were asleep in their apartments on the upper floor of the engine house on Bush street, a tall chimney on the California Hotel was shaken from its lofty position , by the heavy temblor and toppling over it crashed through the roof of the engine house, completely wrecking the latter. The unfortunate chief and his wife were buried under the debris of the building, but were hurriedly extricated by members of the fire department and conveyed to the Southern Pacific hospital, Later, when it was realized that the hospital lay in the path of the rapidly spreading conflagration, they were taken to the Presidio hospital, where Mrs. Sullivan is still confined, although she is reported to be rapidly improving. The chief was unconscious for a time and died ignorant of the fact that people of San Francisco had missed, his services during the most trying period in the history of the State. During his lucid moments he talked of fire department matters with Eddie Graney, who was constantly at his bedside, and dwelt at some length on a salt water system for the city and the value it would be in the event of a big conflagration. Strangely the chief's mind was working out the very problem his assistants were struggling with only a few blocks beyond his death couch.
Arrangements for the chief's funeral will be made today. His position as head of the department during his illness was held by Assistant Chief Dougherty, who will probably succeed him.
No man has gained greater distinction as a fireman than did Dennis T. Sullivan in San Francisco. An athlete from youth, he was physically capable of enduring hardships, a fact that frequently demonstrated itself during his arduous duties as a fire chief. His rise in the local department was a rapid one and regarded as well merited. He was first an extra man with 12 engine and from that position he rose to hydrant man and then to district engineer. At the death of Chief Scannell, Sullivan was made chief engineer of the department. For years he had carefully, studied various problems that he predicted might some day confront the fire among them conflagration which the city has just suffered, and his friends, while not attempting to discredit the work of Acting Chief Dougherty, believe that if Sullivan had led the departments through its recent ordeal, his studies of conditions might have served' to greatly lessen 'he dangers to which San Francisco was subjected.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 144, 23 April 1906 — FIRE CHIEF SUCCUMBS TO INJURIES [ARTICLE]
FUNERAL OF FIRE CHIEF.
1906 April 24
The funeral services the late Chief Sullivan of the San Francisco Fire Department will take place today (Tuesday) at 1 o'clock from 1984 Forty-ninth avenue, Oceanside. The remains will be placed temporarily in Mount Calvary Cemetery vault.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 145, 24 April 1906 — FUNERAL OF FIRE CHIEF. [ARTICLE]
CHIEF SULLIVAN'S REMAINS INTERRED WITH HONORS
ARCHBISHOP MONTGOMERY SPEAKS FEELINGLY OF GREAT LIFE "OF THE FIRE FIGHTER.
1906 April 26
The funeral of the late Dennis Sullivan, chief of the Fire Department, was held yesterday afternoon at his home on the Ocean boulevard. Many of his life-long friends were gathered around his bier, while, Archbishop Montgomery delivered a eulogistic address. Mrs. Sullivan, who is still suffering from the injuries received in the collapse of the Bush street fire house was not present. The Fire Department was represented by the Fire Commissioners, Chief Dougherty and other officials. Archbishop Montgomery spoke feelingly of the great work that the dead Chief had accomplished in his lifetime; After the services the body was removed to the receiving vault at Calvary cemetery, where it will be held until arrangements can be made for its interment at Holy Cross.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 147, 26 April 1906 — CHIEF SULLIVAN'S REMAINS INTERRED WITH HONORS [ARTICLE]
BRAVE FIREMEN DIE MARTYRS
THREE DEAD AND ONE INJURED, THE NOBLE RECORD.
WHILE AT HIS POST WELLS LOSES LEG
WIFE OF HOSEMAN J. O'NEIL SEARCHES FOR HUSBAND.
1906 April 26
Three deaths and one injured is the record of the heroic San Francisco Fire Department during and after the great conflagration. Little loss of apparatus was sustained, but nineteen companies have been put out of commission and most of them will have to be disbanded. Besides Chief Sullivan the only identified body is that of Hoseman James O’ Neil of Engine 4. His wife and child live at 111 Elsie street. She as yet does not know of her husband's death and still seeks him.
George Wells, hoseman on duty at Engine 12, was seriously injured while fighting the fire on Friday afternoon. While on-Russian Hill he was caught beneath the falling rafters of. the demolished building and his leg badly crushed. At the Alcatraz Hospital the leg was amputated yesterday.
There are not enough funds or work to carry the full department personnel. An effort will be made to have those firemen who are dropped made special police to augment the police force when the regular troops are withdrawn. The Commission is devoting its energies to perfecting the service in the unburned districts. It will take months before the alarm service will be restored. Firemen, on the lookout for fires, patrol in the vicinity of the engine houses.
All firemen are ordered to report for duty at the Department headquarters, 827 Fillmore street.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 147, 26 April 1906 — BRAVE FIREMEN DIE MARTYRS [ARTICLE]
ONE HUNDRED MEN MISSING FROM FIRE DEPARTMENT
By Associated Press.
SAN FRANCISCO, April 25.— The losses of the fire department are inconsiderable compared to the great damage sustained in the other departments of the municipality. As far as known there have been but three deaths and one injured. Early this morning a charred body was found in the ruins on North Beach which may prove to be that of another fireman. The apparatus of the department while damaged is still Intact. Nineteen companies, however, have been put out of commission and many of them will be disbanded.
At a meeting of the fire commissioners this morning it was reported by Chief Dougherty that, including the dead and injured, there are about 100 members of the department missing.
It is believed, however, that these men have been separated from their companies and will rejoin them as quickly as they can. Besides Chief Sullivan, the only identified dead fireman is James O'Neil, a hoseman on duty with engine 4, whose body was found beneath the ruins of the engine house at the corner of Howard and Third streets. George Wells, hoseman on duty with engine 12, was seriously injured while fighting the fire on Friday afternoon. On Russian hill he was caught beneath the falling rafters of the demolished building and his leg was badly crushed. At present the commissioners are devoting their attention to equipping the department for the protection of the unburned section of the city.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 208, 26 April 1906 — ONE HUNDRED MEN MISSING FROM FIRE DEPARTMENT [CHAPTER]
FIREMEN WILL GET THEIR PAY MONDAY OUT OF TREASURY
PENSIONERS ARE REQUESTED TO. WAIT ONLY SHORT TIME TO RECEIVE THEIR ALLOWANCES.
PROVISIONS AND CLOTHING FURNISHED BY CITY TO MEMBERS OF DEPART MENTWHO' LOST ALL.
COMMISSIONERS WILL IMMEDIATELY COMPLETE REORGANIZATION OF SERVICE, WHICH CATASTROPHE IMPAIRED;
1906 April 29
Affairs in the Fire Department are rapidly reverting to normal conditions. The firemen will be paid on Monday and the pensioners of the department will receive their money in a very short time.
Provisions, bedding and clothing are being supplied to the men who lost their belongings in engine houses while fighting fire. Commissioner . Parry states that the distress of three-quarters of the members of the department will thus be relieved.
Today a meeting of the commissioners, fire chiefs and captains will be held at the headquarters of the department. Its object will be to complete the work of reorganization and attend to the immediate wants of the various, companies.
The department of electricity has established a central fire alarm station at 2034 Steiner street and connections with boxes throughout the city be made few days.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 150, 29 April 1906 — FIREMEN WILL GET THEIR PAY MONDAY OUT OF TREASURY [ARTICLE]
NEW CORPORATION YARD LOCATION
1906 May 3
At the temporary corporation yard of the Fire Department, Sixteenth and Utah streets, Harry Gorter has been placed in charge as superintendent, vice Riley pensioned; Thomas Bulger, assistant superintendent, vice Kenny pensioned, and E. I. Church has been assigned as stock clerk. Seven engines that were out of commission are rapidly being repaired and will be ready for use inside of ten days. Four thousand feet of serviceable hose have been recovered from the burned district and taken to the yard. Men are out looking for more. Four department horses have died from exhaustion. Two car loads of chemicals , were received at the yard yesterday from Los Angeles. This will put all the chemical engines in service.
The California School of Arts and the Wilmerding Mechanical School both on Utah street near Sixteenth will re-open August 13. The mechanical department of the first named is used by the fire department and by several firms that have many contracts for iron work. The sewing room is open for use by girls.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 154, 3 May 1906 — GREAT DRYDOCKS AT HUNTERS POINT ARE NOT DAMAGED [ARTICLE]
BRAVE FIRE FIGHTERS RECEIVE THEIR WAGES
BATTALION CHIEFS HAVE BEEN LOCATED AND COMPANIES ARE ASSIGNED TO THEM.
1906 May 3
The members of the Fire Department received their pay yesterday. Each captain reported at headquarters and received his own and the wages of his men.
Acting Chief Dougherty cautions all householders to exercise extreme care in the use of oil lamps and fires. He says the department is rapidly assuming its former shape, but that it is in no condition to fight a big conflagration, owing to the lack of water. The following are the locations of battalion chiefs and the. companies assigned to them.
McClusky. engine-house No. 16 — Engines No.4. 11. 16. 31: trucks 1 and 8.
Wills, truckhouse 7 — Engines 6, 29, 35: truck 7: chemical 7; monitor battery 2.
Fernadez, engine-house 18— Engines 5, 13, 18, 32 and 33.
McKittrick. engine-house 25 — Engines 25, 37 and truck 9.
O'Brien, engine-house 20— Engines 2. 3, 20, 38; truck 4 and chemicals 3 and 5.
Dolan, engine-house 8— Engines 8. 14, 15, 23. 34 : trucks 5 and 10; chemicals 2, 4 and 6.
Waters, engine-house 27— Engines 7, 19, 24 and 27.
Maxwell. Engine-house 26— Engines 1. 17, 26, 36; truck 3: chemical 1.
Conlon, engine-house 30— Engine 10, 21. 22. 28. 30; truck 6.
Murphy, foot of Merchant street— Engines 9, 12; truck 2.
The fire corporation yards are located at the Lick School, Sixteenth and Utah streets, the department stables at Tenth and Bryant streets and the commissary department at engine house 14.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 154, 3 May 1906 — BRAVE FIRE FIGHTERS RECEIVE THEIR WAGES [ARTICLE]
HELP THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.
1906 May 3
The A. I. Coffee Company and Fred A. Wood of 1321 Broadway, Oakland are authorized by the Board of, Fire Commissioners of San Francisco to receive supplies and donations for the benefit of the Fire Department.
J. W. MCCARTHY, Secretary
H. M. WREDEN, President :
Board of Fire Commissioners
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 154, 3 May 1906 — Help the Fire Department. [ARTICLE]
CHIEF SULLIVAN'S FRIENDS SAY HE EXPECTED QUAKE
DECLARES HE HAD LAID PLAN TO USE DYNAMITE.
TO ASSIST DESTRUGTION THINK FATE REMOVED HIM.
1906 May 5
It seems as If fate left nothing undone for the destruction of San Francisco when it brought an earthquake to start a fire and break the water mains and at the same time sent Chief Sullivan of the Fire Department, crushed by debris, to his deathbed. Developments lead to the belief that, had Chief Sullivan been alive the city might not have fared so badly, not so much because of his well-known ability as a firefighter, for perhaps no man could have stayed the flames under ordinary circumstances, but because he had prepared plans for the battle against the flames in case of just such a horror as came to pass. To several people during his lifetime Chief Sullivan imparted the information that he believed San Francisco would some day get a quake that would disrupt the water mains and that in that he had mapped out the fight he would make in case such a temblor ever came. Among those to whom he spoke about this was Clarence Waterhouse, the horseman, only last summer up at Shasta the chief was talking about the possibility of an earthquake that would break the water mains in San Francisco and at the same time break the mains and shut off the water supply," said Waterhouse yesterday. "He said he believed there would be such a quake some day and that the only salvation of the city would be dynamite. He said he had figured out just what buildings and blocks he would dynamite, according to which direction the fire was sweeping. He had a diagram prepared, where it was no one knew, for the chief was never in a condition to tell after being injured. It looks as If the incapacitating of the chief was part of the terrible plan fate worked out to destroy San Francisco.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 156, 5 May 1906 — CHIEF SULLIVAN'S FRIENDS SAY HE EXPECTED QUAKE [ARTICLE]
DYNAMITE USED TO RAZE WALLS
SAN FRANCISCO MEN BURIED BENEATH RUINS
"RED HOT" STAND LABELED "PALACE HOTEL" BY PROPRIETOR OF REFRESHMENT BOOTH
LIQUOR SELLERS BEHIND BARS
By Associated Press.
SAN FRANCISCO, May 7— The first accident in connection with the dynamiting of dangerous walls by the engineers of the army took place today. Smaller quantities of explosives than were used last week are now being fired and thin necessitates two or more charges of dynamite being exploded before the desired result in attained.
This morning the engineers were working in the downtown district. Twice had dynamite been exploded under the facade of a tall ruin and a third charge was being Inserted when the wall fell. Three soldiers were burled, but a mass of twisted Iron partly shielded them and only one was seriously hurt.
This has been the first day of official rest that the city has had since the beginning of its distress. All of the municipal departments were closed with the exception of the police stations and hospitals, and Franklin hall, the seat of San Francisco's government, was deserted.
The police have had little or nothing to engage their attention.
Among the churches the same conditions prevailed as upon the preceding Sunday, open air services being the rule even, where the buildings were unharmed. At Golden Gate park the usual Sunday afternoon concert was given and was attended by thousands. That the people as a whole are beginning to look for some diversion was shown last night when a great crowd assembled to witness a vaudeville show in a hall on Fillmore street. The authorities, however, at .the last moment, refused to permit the performance.
LIQUOR SELLERS ARRESTED
Two arrests for selling liquor were made today, and as an indication of the determination to suppress the traffic in intoxicants, until the saloons are allowed to reopen one of the offenders was refused ball and the other's bond was fixed at $5000.
Coroner Walsh, after revising his list of victims of fire and earthquake, Informed General Greely that' the total number of cases handled by his office was 319, of which 134 were Identified and 185 unidentified. This report shows 39 less than given by a previous count.
SIGHTSEERS VIEW RUINS
The streets of the burned districts we're thronged today with sightseers. Every train from neighboring towns on the peninsula and every ferryboat from the bay counties was packed with people eager to get their first glimpse of the city's devastation, and. almost every third person carried a camera or kodak. In expectation of the crush of people booths of street fakers sprang up over night along the curbs on the cleared streets, prepared to furnish refreshments, and most of them enjoyed a profitable trade.
"RED HOTS" AT PALACE HOTEL
In many instances the booths were labeled with the names of former famous hostelries, and the Incongruity of "hot frankfurters, 5 cents," beneath the "Palace hotel" provoked a smile from each passer-by. " The work of construction and tearing down continued today, on all sides notwithstanding the Sabbath. Several hundred frame buildings now appear among the destroyed, structures and foundations are being prepared for as many more. A slow process of taking down, standing walls with pick and shovel Is being employed by many merchants who are Impatient to resume business, but the 'bulk of their work Is being done by stevedores who are using donkey engine power to raze the walls.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 219, 7 May 1906 — DYNAMITE USED TO RAZE WALLS [ARTICLE]
SUBSTITUTE FIREMEN ARE DROPPED FROM THE ROLLS
COMMISSIONERS TAKE STEPS TO REDUCE EXPENSE OF DEPARTMENT TO FIT NEW CONDITIONS.
1906 May 8
The Board of Fire Commissioner have decided to dispense with the services of all substitutes In the department. Yesterday an order was issued to this effect. This Is the first move made by the board in reducing its force and its expenses. It Is possible that the regular department will be reduced, the an effort will be made to secured other positions for the men thus relieved of duty.
Acting Fire Chief Dougherty issued orders to all battalion chiefs to test hydrants in their respective district! twice a day and to submit dally re« ports on their condition to headquarters.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 159, 8 May 1906 — SUBSTITUTE FIREMEN ARE DROPPED FROM THE ROLLS [ARTICLE]
PRIZED RELICS ARE DESTROYED
VOLUNTEER FIREMEN LOSE MEMENTOES IN BLAZE.
HISTORIC ENGINE IS NOW A PILE OF ASHES
1906 May 9
The volunteer fire department that was organized in San Francisco shortly after the great fire of Decenter 24, 1849, is only a memory, and nearly all the valuable relics that were stored in the hall of the Exempt Company on Brenham Place and in the meeting-place of the Veteran Volunteer Firemen's Association on the corner of Jessie and Fourth streets are destroyed. Like the historical relics of the Society of California Pioneers, the mementoes of the old fire department can never be replaced. Of the buildings of the old department that were used as engine, truck and hose houses have all been reduced: to ashes. These were Broderick No. 1, on Sacramento street, near Kearny; Howard No. 3, on California street, near Sansome; Knickerbocker No. 5, on Sacramento street, near Sansome:, Monumental No. 6, on Brenham place; Pacific No. 8, on Pacific street, near Front; Vigilant No. 9, on Stockton street, near Broadway; Crescent No. 10, on Pacific street, near Kearny: Columbia No. 11, on Bush street, near Kearny; Pennsylvania No. 12, Jackson, above Kearny; Young: America No. 13, on Sixteenth street, near Valencia; Tiger No. 14, on Second street, near Howard; Lafayette Hook and Ladder Company Co. 2, on Broadway, near Stockton street, and Sansome No. 3 on Montgomery street, corner of Gold. All the other houses have been previously taken down in the march of progress to make way for better structures.
The hall of the Exempts is all down with the exception of the front wall, which still carries the sign over the door, "Exempt Company," and a marble tablet on which is inscribed "Organized September, 1857." In the mass of ashes are the records of all the old companies, the portraits of the old chiefs from Fred D. Kohler, the first, flown to the last, who served when the paid department was established: portraits and photographs of many other officers and prominent men of the department, including that of Claus Speckles, who, in his younger days, manned the ropes of Tiger No. 14. The helmet and sliver, trumpets of Fred D. Kohler, Frank E. R. Whitney, Charles P. Duane. Dave Scannell, Charley Ackerson, George H. Hossefross, John L. Durkee and others; the banners and flags of many of the companies, and ; samples of uniforms and hats worn by the firefighters of old were all burned.
On top of the building stood the old hall bell, which was brought to this city for St. Ignatius Church, then on Market street, near Fourth, but which was disposed of to the city and placed on top of the old City Hall. It remained there until the earthquake of October, 1868, when it was declared, unsafe and was placed over the house of old No. 6, on the hill It is now In the basement of the house. In the days before the introduction of the-3 electric system of alarms the bell was struck by men in the watch tower, a sledge being used to toll the twelve districts into which the city was divided. One of these old bell-ringers Is Tiro Bainbridge, a sergeant detective of police. In the old house was the first fire engine ever used at a fire in this city. It was once the personal property of Martin Van Buren. President of the United States, and was brought around the Horn by Billy Free, for many years keeper of the corporation yard. There also stood the first double decker engine used in the department. It was owned by Monumental Company and known as "Big Six."
On Sunday Henry D. Hudson, president of the Exempts, who is the only living fireman who paraded in the first celebration of Admission day and in the semi-centennial celebration of the same day, visited Brenham place to view the ruins of the house in which he had presided so often, and when he gazed upon them he sat on the sidewalk and wept like a child. At the home of the Veteran Volunteer Fireman's Association, as the fire approached, some one rushed into the building: and saved a frame in which are the photographs of the charter members of the association. Sergeant of Police Steve Bunner, president of the organization, saved the minute books of Knickerbocker Engine Company No. 5, of which he was a member
A great number of interesting relics of the department went up in the flames. The engine that belonged to Young America No. 13, and which was the parade engine, had a few days before, the quake been painted and put in shape to be used in the parade at Santa Rosa on July 4. It was stored in the house of Engine 16 in the Potrero and is safe. It is the only engine that was in use in the old department that is now in this city. There is another in Sacramento. President Bunner who had been on the sick list felt it his duty to report to Police Chief Dinan. He did so and against protest insisted upon being sent out for duty. He was detailed for duty in the Mission district, but he overestimated his strength and the result is that he is now very ill at his home, 1915 Ellis street.
Source: San Francisco Call, Vol. 99, No. 160, on May 9, 1906
RELICS OF '49 WIPED OUT
Volunteer Fire Department of Early Days Now Only a Memory
1906 May 10
By Associated Press.
SAN FRANCISCO, May 9
The volunteer fire department that was organized in San Francisco shortly after the great fire of December 24, 1849, is only a memory and nearly all the valuable relics that were stored in the hall of the exempt company on Brenham Place and in the meeting place of the Veteran Volunteer Firemen's Association on the corner of Jesse and Fourth streets are destroyed. Like the historical relics of the Society of California Pioneers, the mementos of the old fire department can never be replaced. Of the buildings of the old department that wore used as engine, truck and hose houses all have been reduced to ashes.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 222, 10 May 1906
FIRE COMMISSIONERS' STRONG BOX IS OPENED
RECORDS AND PAPERS OF THE DEPARTMENT ARE NOT AT ALL DAMAGED BY THE FLAMES.
1906 May 10
The vault In the Fire Commissioners' office in the City Hall was opened Tuesday; Battalion Chief Shaushnessy and the firemen of truck 10 conducted the work. All the records and other property contained in the strong box were found to be intact. The work was attended by much danger. Owing to the great risk of falling debris no attempt was made to open the front doors of the vault. The rear wall was first torn down and afterward the inner compartments were reached by this means.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 161, 10 May 1906
WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED.
1906 May 11
At this juncture it la well to pause a moment, survey the field and contemplate what we have thus far accomplished in the direction of rebuilding the city. It will give us an idea of the rapidity of progress which we. may expect later on and upon which we can base an approximate estimate of the time we will consume in restoring the city.
It will be seen that we are already advanced In the work, and further than was thought possible just after the fire. Our progress thus far is most gratifying, will stimulate us to continued activity and Impart to us Increased hope and confidence.
We have restored the water supply and now have all we want for both public and private necessities. This is of the highest importance. If fire breaks out anywhere the Fire Department will be able to cope with it in the normal routine way. On this score we may now breathe more freely.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 162, 11 May 1906 — WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED. [ARTICLE]
ASK A VOICE IN SELECTION OF A NEW FIRE CHIEF
1906 May 13
The Board of Fire Underwriters of the Pacific desires to have some voice in the selection of a new Chief for the Fire Department of this city. This fact became known when two representatives of the underwriters appeared before the Board of Fire Commissioners and requested that the insurance companies be consulted before the vacancy caused by the death of Chief Sullivan be filled.
Just who the underwriters favor for the position is not known. At the present time they content themselves with the statement that they simply desire to protect their interests in the selection of a competent man and decline to state whether or not they have a candidate. The representatives o: the companies were informed that the election of a new Chief would not occur until after the funeral of Chief Sullivan, the date of which has not yet been set A notice will be sent by the secretary of the commissioners to the underwriters that they may be present at the meeting at which the selection is made.
George W. Spencer, president of the Pacific Underwriters, and L. L. Bromwell were the gentlemen who appeared before the board. Spencer said that the interests of his people were at stake equally with those of property owners and that they would like to offer suggestions that would lead to the selection of a man who understands his business. President Wreden answered that no immediate action ■would be taken and that the underwriters would receive due notice.
E T. Moran, who, with the other Civil Service Commissioners, is preparing a history of the recent disaster for the War Department, requested data from the Fire Department. The battalion chiefs were instructed to render Moran every assistance. They also were told that any members of the department who are mechanics might secure a leave of absence to work at their several trades upon application. This action was taken for the purpose of cutting the salary roll of the department.
A communication will b« sent to Governor Pardee requesting the use of the Lick School machine shops for the work of the department-
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 164, 13 May 1906 — ASK A VOICE IN SELECTION OF A NEW FIRE CHIEF [ARTICLE]
WILL LOP OFF $1,500,000
WORKS BOARD IS ARRANGING EXTENSIVE REDUCTIONS IN THE ESTIMATED
ALL EMPLOYES ARC EXPECTED TO SHADE THEIR SALARIES VOLUNTARILY.
FIREMEN TO RETIRE.
MEMBERS WHO HAVE TRADES WILL TEMPORARILY LEAVE THE DEPARTMENT.
1906 May 15
The pay roll of the Fire Department will be cut several thousand dollars this month by the voluntary action of a number of its members. At a recent meeting of the Commissioners the battalion chiefs were instructed to grant leaves of absence to firemen who had trades and who could find outside work. Many of the men have taken advantage of this and the necessity of laying off men was avoided for the present at least. No vacations will be granted to either officers or men during this year.
According to a report made to the Commissioners the loss to the department, shop equipment was about $73,808. It will require $30,000 to repair fire hydrants, and $2950 to repair engines. Three engines, a hook ladder, a water battery and four automobiles were destroyed, as was 41,600 feet of hose.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 167, 15 May 1906 — WILL LOP OFF $1.500.000 [ARTICLE]
CHIEFS WIDOW GETS PENSION
MRS. SULLIVAN ALLOWED $166 A MONTH BY FIRE COMMISSIONERS.
1906 May 19
At the meeting of the Board of Fire Commissioners yesterday afternoon the pension application of Marguerite Sullivan was read. On motion of Commissioner Parry the pension was granted. No word of explanation or eulogy was spoken. The very simplicity and directness of the proceedings, however, was a greater tribute than words could have been. The widow will get $166 a month.
The financial condition occupied much of the board's time. The pension appropriation Is short $4500 for the year. Chief Dougherty also pointed out the necessity of putting up temporary quarters for the fire stations In the burned district, which la rebuilding In Inflammable material. Assistant Chief Shaughnessy suggested that the $17,000 appropriated l before the fire for the construction of a fire house at the corner of Sacramento and Laurel streets might be turned to that end.
On the motion of Commissioner Parry it was decided that President Wreden confer with the Mayor on this subject. A like motion was adopted with regard to the $100,000 appropriated for the building of a salt water reservoir on Twin Peaks, which sum has been set aside for the re-establishment of the corporation yards.
The effects of the three days lire fighting upon the department have not vanished yet W. P. Cline, stoker of engine 9, and F. H. Slade were granted further leaves of absence on account of Injuries still incapacitating them from duty. The death of "Tim" was announced. "Tim" was a. horse, arid he died of overwork A reports was asked from Captain Sullivan of engine 12 and his superior, Battalion Chief Murphy. Sullivan, it Is rumored turned his horses out during the fire.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 171, 19 May 1906 — CHIEFS WIDOW GETS PENSION [ARTICLE]
1500 HYDRANTS WERE DESTROYED
1906 May 26
Captain J. Sullivan of engine 12 was exonerated for sending his horses to Emeryville .or water and feed, after they had been on duty for fifty-four hours without food and with water but once. Commissioner Parry announced than the driver who permitted such suffering should be notified to learn how to take care of a horse.
The superintendent of engines and hydrants reported that about 1500 hydrants were destroyed by fire, and that the cost would be from $7 to $50 a hydrant to replace the lost ones. He also reported that about $700 might be realized from brass and iron In the corporation yard, which should be condemned and sold at auction. He also reported that burnt machinery worth $4877 had been recovered and could be repaired.
J. G. Hawks put in a bill for services in helping firemen. His claim was met with laughter and filed for future amusement.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 178, 26 May 1906 — LETTER WRITER MEETS REBUKE [ARTICLE]
Note: in 1905 there were over 4,200 hydrants in service
NAVAL OFFICER PRAISES - BATTALION CHIEF MURPHY
LIEUTENANT FREEMAN SAYS THE LOCAL FIRE FIGHTER IS THE BRAVEST MAN HE EVER SAW.
1906 May 27
Mayor Schmjtz yesterday morning received a communication from Assistant Secretary of the Navy Newberry, in which the latter calls attention to the heroic work done by Battalion Chief Murphy and his men in fighting the flames on the water front and saving several wharves from entire destruction by their persistent efforts.
Newberry received an official letter, from Lieutenant Frederick N. Freeman, the officer in charge of the Mare lsland fire tug sent to this city to aid the. Fire Department. It was this tug, assisted by others, that pumped water from the bay and rendered such heroic service. I
n commenting on the work of the fire fighters Freeman said that Murphy was the bravest man he had ever seen. According to Freeman, it was Murphy who led his men into the thick of the. flames at the Washington. Jackson, Filbert and other docks, and thus managed to overcome the blaze when the entire water frost seemed doomed.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 179, 27 May 1906 — NAVAL OFFICER PRAISES – " BATTALION CHIEF MURPHY [ARTICLE]
REQUIEM MASS FOR DEAD CHIEF.
1906 May 27
Tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock a solemn requiem mass will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Church. Fell and Fillmore streets, for the repose of the soul of Dennis T. Sullivan, late chief engineer of the Fire Department.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 179, 27 May 1906 — Requiem 3lass for Dead Chief. [ARTICLE]
MONTH'S MIND MASS SAID.
1906 May 29
The Church of the Sacred Heart was filled to overflowing yesterday morning by the friends and relatives of the late Chief D. T. Sullivan of the Fire Department, who succumbed to injuries that he received the morning of the earthquake. The occasion was a month's mind mass for the repose of Chief Sullivan's soul and was held under the auspices of the Knights of Columbus, of which order he was a prominent |member. The celebrant of the mass was Father J. A. Grant, the chaplain of San Francisco Council No. 615. The other dignitaries were Father Horan, deacon, and Father Wyman, sub-deacon. Among those who attended were Neal Powers, grand knight of' Council No. 615 ; Chief J. Dougherty, Fire Marshal Charles Towe, Chief M. O’Brien and Chief Shaughnessy. Mrs. Sullivan occupied a seat in the front row with Mrs. T. D. Bulger.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 99, Number 181, 29 May 1906 — Month's Mind Mass Said. [ARTICLE]
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