Washington Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 1

March 15, 1854-October 1, 1868

Information comes from research done by Margaret Hartman

From the beginning of Newport, fires were fought by the men from the Newport Barracks.  Efforts had been made by the town fathers to organize a fire department of the citizens as early as March 9, 1836, which failed.  Many attempts were made and at times, equipment was even purchased, but it was not until the 15th day of March 1854 that a fire department was finally incorporated.

Prior to incorporation, the fire engine "Cataract" and the hose carriage "Pioneer" had been purchased from the Independent Fire Company No. 2 of Cincinnati.  Fire hoods and ladders had also been purchased and the old clerk's office on the public square was the headquarters of the fire department.

In March 1852, they received a hose carriage built by J & B Bruse & Co. Hose was purchased and Samuel Cummins built a fire engine which was called the "Torrent".  During the existence of this volunteer fire department, the lot upon which the present fire house stands, was purchased on May 16, 1859 for a price of $1500.  Several efforts were made to build a fire house over the years, but the cost was prohibitive.  Finally a building contract was let to P H Wilson to build a fire house,  which was completed by the 25th of October 1866 and dedicated on November 4th and called "Washington Hall".

City council purchased a steam fire engine from Amos Keag Manufacturing Company, which was named "Newport No 1", and cost $2,189.55.  June 9, 1868, they passed an ordinance which created the steam fire engine company, which was the beginning of the paid fire department.  Of course, there was little need for the volunteer group, so eventually this group disbanded.. Their effects were given to the city and monies in the treasury was divided among the members in good standing on the 18th of December 1869.

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