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Notable Fires:

Running Against Chief Scannell
December 5, 1863

1863 December 7

— David Scannell is Chief Engineer of the San Francisco Fire Department, and will be reelected to-day. We ran against him on Saturday night. We will never do it again. Our "local" is good in a foot race, but acknowledges himself distanced when trying to catch Chief Scannell. At one o'clock on Sunday morning the Hall bell struck for the Third District. At that instant our local editor was talking with Chief Soannell.at the corner of Montgomery and Sacramento streets. At the first tap of the bell, Mr. Scannell threw off his coat and vest and, giving them hastily into the hands of a friend close by, started, for the direction of the Third District. With rapid strides the Clay street corner was turned, the light from some kind of a fire showing near the wharf. We fearlessly followed until we got down to the region of man-traps. Here we let up. But that white shirt went right on. "We feared the wearer would go through some man-trap, but he didn't. Our reporter, and nearly all of the engines, hose carts and hooks and ladders in San Francisco brought up at the foot of Clay street, and — found no fire. It was a false alarm. But the Chief vas "thar" on time, and so would our reporter had he not bruised his shins on several boxes in his efforts to overtake that ignus fatuas white shirt of the Chief of the Fire Department of San Francisco.

Since writing the above, we learn from a gentleman residing on Pine street hill, that when the Hall bell struck he looked out from his residence in the direction of the Third District, and saw a considerable blaze, which, with the aid of a fine night-glass, appeared to be on the water front at about the foot of Clay street. The vessels in one of the slips, including a steamboat, were lighted up by the flames; and after watching them for about five minutes they flickered and died out. As the firemen could not find the fire, it may have been a bon-fire lighted up on the wharf to give the companies a chance to "enjoy a run."

Source: Daily Alta California, Volume 15, Number 5031, 7 December 1863 — CITY ITEMS. [ARTICLE]

Extracted from original sources with grammar and spelling as published.