Fire Houses, Fire Horses and Fire Men
A hose company was organized by the young men of Medford last Friday evening.
The new chemical wagon poses at the city park, 1907.
MEDFORD'S FIRE PROTECTION.--The town of Medford, in Jackson County, is to have water works. In reply to a circular sent out by an insurance company to each town in the state, asking what facilities they have for extinguishing fires, the agent at Medford says they have none. The town is putting in a system of water works, and as soon as this is completed a fire company will be organized. The plan proposed is to lay 4000 feet of four- and six-inch pipe through the principal streets, with twelve hydrants, to get a duplex pump and boiler, sink a large well, and put up two tanks of 30,000 gallons each on towers fifty feet high. In case of fire the water in these tanks is to be used while steam is being got up in the boiler. A hose cart and 500 feet of 1½-inch hose will also be provided.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, September 5, 1889, page 4
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 17, 1890, page 2
The Medford hose company has organized, with a membership of about twenty, and will equip for active service in a short time.
The hose cart house will be built next to the calaboose, probably with corrugated iron, as it is within the fire limits, says the Mail.
The water pipe system is found to work admirably and to stand a heavy pressure. The pump can easily throw water higher than the brick blocks in the business portion of town.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 1, 1890, page 3
Medford has ordered a supply of hose for fire protection from a San Francisco firm, and has also ordered a fine hose cart, the latter being furnished by the well-known firm of Staver & Walker.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, May 2, 1890, page 3
Medford will soon have a fine hose cart, purchased through Staver & Walker, and will equip it with 500 feet of rubber hose. A first-class idea.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 9, 1890, page 3
The fire company boys propose giving a grand Fourth of July ball at the opera house on the approaching natal day, and the citizens generally will turn out to patronize them. The Medford fire company have ordered handsome dark-blue uniforms, caps and shirts with leather belts, lettered “Protection” behind and “M.F.D.” in front. The emblem on the front of shirts will be the figure 1 on a shield embroidered with spanner and nozzle.
Adkins & Webb completed the Medford waterworks this week, and have executed their contract in a satisfactory manner. There is a pressure of over 200 feet, which is sufficient to throw the water a considerable distance over the highest house in town. We may well be proud of this system, as it affords much protection against fire.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 16, 1890, page 2
The hose company have ordered belts, to be suitably inscribed, and which will doubtless add greatly to the appearance of the company on parade.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 18, 1890, page 3
We now have a first-class water system, which is a great protection against fire; hence our citizens feel that the Pacific Insurance Union is not treating them right in not lowering the rates of insurance.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 26, 1890, page 3
Articles of incorporation were filed with the secretary of state [for] . . . Protection Hose Company of Medford, G. F. Davis, H. F. Weed, H. G. Nicholson, J. W. Curry and D. T. Lawton, incorporators; capital stock, $1000.
"Incorporations," Oregonian, Portland, October 4, 1890, page 3
The Protection Hose Company, of Medford, has filed articles of incorporation, with G. F. Davis, H. F. Wood, H. G. Nicholson, J. W. Curry and D. T. Lawton as incorporators. Twenty years is the term designated for the company to exist. $1000 is the capital stock, divided into 500 shares.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 17, 1890, page 2
The fire committee and the recorder were instructed to correspond with parties in Fresno in regard to hook and ladder cart.
"Board of Trustees," Medford Mail, January 7, 1892, page 2
Monday evening the residence of G. W. Galloway was brilliantly illuminated without and within, the occasion being a reception in honor of Protection Hose No. 1. At half-past eight o'clock, supper was spread, and the bounteous repast was keenly enjoyed by all the guests. Flowers tastefully decorated the table and filled the room with a delicious odor.
After the spread, numerous games were indulged in by a portion of the company, while others congregated about the spacious and beautiful rooms and enlivened the evening by witty tales and hearty laughter.
The silver cornet band was in attendance, and at intervals furnished excellent music.
The genial host and hostess seemed to be at their best, and all expressed themselves as never before being entertained so royally.
The guests of the evening were as follows:
PROTECTION HOSE NO. 1
G. L. Davis, H. G. Nicholson, A. C. Nicholson, U. S. Damon, Bert Brandenburg, Eugene Amann, Gabe Plymale, Wm. Robison and Chas. Perdue.
The members of the cornet band were:
Isaac Woolf, D. S. Youngs, Jno. Montague, Geo. Montague, David Montague, Arthur Fitzgerald, Robt. Galloway, E. Bashford and A. E. Danielson.
The other guests were: Mr. J. M. Foster, Miss Mary Theiss, Miss Lizzie Theiss and Mrs. Gilmore.
Medford Mail, March 3, 1892, page 3
Under the auspices of the Medford fire company the Fisk Jubilee Singers will give a concert in the Medford opera house on Wednesday, March 30. Tickets for sale at G. L. Davis'.
"Local News," Medford Mail, March 24, 1892, page 3
The fire lads are having elegant suits made and will soon be on parade.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, May 20, 1892, page 3
Hose Co. Officers.
The following officers have been elected to serve for the ensuing year in Protection Hose, No. 1:
D. T. Lawton, president; A. C. Nicholson, vice-president; Jno. W. Curry, secretary; F. G. Plymale, assistant secretary; G. L. Davis, foreman; H. G. Nicholson, 1st assistant foreman; Jno. W. Curry, 2d assistant foreman; G. L. Davis, treasurer; Wm. Robinson, sergeant-at-arms; D. T. Lawton, A. C. Nicholson, H. G. Nicholson, trustees; E. A. Langley and E. Amann, hydrantmen; Jno. W. Curry and H. G. Nicholson, pipemen; carriage directors, F. G. Plymale, Robt. Galloway.
Southern Oregon Mail, May 20, 1892, page 3
The following are the officers for the ensuing year of Protection Hose No. 1: D. T. Lawton, president; A. D. Nicholson, vice-president; Jno. W. Curry, secretary; F. G. Plymale, assistant secretary; G. L. Davis, foreman; H. G. Nicholson, 1st assistant foreman; Jno. W. Curry, 2nd assistant foreman; G. L. Davis, treasurer; Wm. Robinson, sergeant-at-arms; D. T. Lawton, A. C. Nicholson, H. G. Nicholson, trustees; E. A. Langley and E. Amann, hydrantmen; Jno. W. Curry and H. G. Nicholson, pipemen; carriage directors F. G. Plymale and Robt Galloway.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 27, 1892, page 2
Protection House Co. No. 1 of Medford will give their annual grand ball on July 4th.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, June 3, 1892, page 3
The members of Protection Hose No. 1 of Medford will give a grand ball and supper on the evening of July 4th. As the boys are sparing no effort for the occasion, this will certainly be the event of the season. See their adv. and bills.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, June 17, 1892, page 3
The fire company was called out Saturday, and the boys had a lively run. The Messrs. Goldstone's womenfolks were burning up some trash at their residence near the school house, when the dry grass in the yard somehow got fired, and it was thought the house would be set on fire, so rapidly did it spread. The fire was put out, however, before the boys reached the scene.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, August 19, 1892, page 3
Medford, having had a very narrow escape from a destructive conflagration, should now take immediate steps toward protection from a similar occurrence. We may not be so lucky next time.
The two fire alarms occurring during the past week have served as a warning to our citizens to be on the lookout for fires during the dry season. The project to have a big cistern provided for the future meets with the approval of the greater portion of our people.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 26, 1892, page 2
The fire at Medford last Tuesday morning lit up the country for many miles around. Many were of the opinion that the town was being consumed by a conflagration.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 26, 1892, page 3
Resolution of Thanks.Resolved, that we, the board of trustees of the town of Medford, for and in the name of the people of Medford, extend to the town board and citizens of Jacksonville our thanks for their help and for the use of their fire engine during the fire in our town on the morning of August 23rd; also to Supt. Graham of the R.R.V.R. Co. for his promptness in sending said fire engine to us by special train.
Done by order of the town board of Medford this 23rd day of August, 1892.
J. A. WHITESIDE, Mayor.J. H. FARIS, Recorder.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 26, 1892, page 3
Fire at Medford.
Some miscreant set the large woodpile in front of the Medford Roller Mills afire on Tuesday night, and that town was in danger for awhile. It was with the utmost difficulty that the mills were saved. The fire engine from Jacksonville was sent for and brought down by a special train, and did good service. About 150 cords of wood were burned. There seems to be no doubt that this was the work of an incendiary.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 26, 1892, page 3
The concert at the opera house last Friday, given by the ladies of the Benevolent Society for the benefit of the hose company, was amusing and entertaining. A packed house was present. The entertainment netted about $57, including the donation of $5 each by Judge Crawford and Mrs. Dennison.
Southern Oregon Mail, September 16, 1892, page 3
The entertainment given for the benefit of the hose company netted the neat sum of $57.
"Medford Squibs" Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 23, 1892, page 3
Protection Hose Co. No. 1.
The following members of Protection Hose Company No. 1, were only duty at the fire of Thursday, Nov. 20, in Medford.
G. L. Davis, foreman; H. G. Nicholson, first asst.; Robt. Galloway, second asst.; Gabe Plymale, treas.; U. M. Damon, Sec'y.; A. C. Nicholson, Eugene Amann, B. Brandenburg, W. R. Fredenburg, J. J. Brophy, John Angle, E. A. Langley, D. T. Lawton and W. T. Johnson. Fourteen in all.
Southern Oregon Mail, October 28, 1892, page 3
The hose co. entertainment, under the auspices of the Medford Benevolent Society, which was given in the opera house last Friday evening, was so well patronized that the hall's capacity was tested to its fullest extent. Three long tables ranged side by side, with a seating capacity of over a hundred people at one time, groaned under a weight of an endless variety of dishes, cooked and arranged principally in the good old-fashioned way, but dainty and delicious in every respect. Those ladies who hovered about the tables anticipating the wants of the hungry guests were arrayed mostly as our great-grandmothers were--in flowing robes of grotesque make and color, presenting an appearance at once unique, interesting and in keeping with the occasion. The proceeds netted something over $50.
Southern Oregon Mail, November 4, 1892, page 3
On April 5th the Medford hose company met and elected the following officers: D. T. Lawton, president; G. L. Davis, foreman; John Angle, 1st asst. foreman; W. T. Crane, 2nd asst. foreman; U. M. Damon, secretary; W. R. Galloway, treasurer; W. J. Fredenburg, sergeant at arms, H. G. Nicholson, A. C. Nicholson, E. A. Langley and W. T. Crane, trustees.
"City Local Whirl," Medford Mail, April 14, 1893, page 3
Among the improvements soon to be made is that of a new hose cart house, which is to be built on Sixth Street between C and Front streets. It will be 16x21 feet.
Medford Mail, April 21, 1893, page 3
The Medford hose company is doing well and is managed by the following officers: D. T. Lawton, president; G. L. Davis, foreman; John Angle, 1st asst. foreman; W. T. Crane, 2d asst. foreman; U. M. Damon, secretary; W. R. Galloway, treasurer; W. J. Fredenburg, sergeant-at-arms; H. G. Nicholson, E. A. Langley and W. T. Crane, trustees.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 28, 1893, page 2
The hose cart is now in its new quarters on Sixth Street.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 2, 1893, page 2
One of the most important essentials in a well organized and well protected city is a fire company. Medford has a hose company that is made up of good, hard-working boys, and they put forth all possible effort to protect our property, but they are handicapped in many instances and cannot do their work as effectually as they would desire. In the first place a bell should be provided with which to call the boys together when fires occur, and, as a matter of fact and the whole thing rounded up, the boys ought to receive a whole lot more encouragement than they are getting. A hook and ladder company would as well be an appreciated auxiliary and would be a big help in times [of] need.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, October 20, 1893, page 3
The ladies of the Medford Benevolent Society are going to buy a fire bell for the hose company--that is, they are going to try desperately hard to do this. They don't propose to have their houses burn down and their neighbors not know of it. They have decided to give a dime social in the Medford opera house tonight--Friday--and with the proceeds from this social they are going to buy a fire bell. It is a matter of importance to all, and one that you ought to take at least 10 cents' worth of interest in. If you will come to the opera hall tonight you will get four bits worth of a good time for ten cents. It is ten cents for everybody--old folks and young folks.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, March 23, 1894, page 3
The ladies of the Medford benevolent society gave a dime social at the opera house last Friday evening, to raise funds for the purchase of a fire bell. There was a good attendance, and several dollars were realized.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 26, 1894, page 2
Last Dance of the Season.
The Medford Dancing Club gave their last party of the winter series last Friday evening. This one was like unto all others--quite well attended and heartily enjoyed. A surplus in coin of the realm, amounting to $21.45, has accumulated from their parties, over and above expenses, and the same is now turned over to the fire bell fund, for all of which the city and the fire lads are grateful.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, April 6, 1894, page 3
New Fire Officers Elected.
On Wednesday evening of last week the fire boys met and elected officers president, John Curry; vice president, H. G. Nicholson; secretary, W. T. York; treasurer, J. W. Lawton; foreman, G. L. Davis; sergeant at arms, W. J. Fredenburg; trustees, A. C. Nicholson, J. W. Lawton and E. A. Langley. The boys met for a little practice Saturday night and did some lively running and coupling on several of our principal streets. The boys have lots of ambition and if a little more practice is had they will be able to make as good, if not a better showing, and do more effectual work at a fire than most companies that has had much more training.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, April 13, 1894 page 3
The hose company ordered a fire bell yesterday. It is to cost about $100 and will weigh 800 pounds. Of the above amount the hose company pays $36, and the town the balance.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, May 24, 1895, page 5
The fire bell is here and will soon be in position for use, the tower now being completed. It is located at the front of the hose cart house--and is a monument to the fire boys, to the extent of a liberal donation toward its purchase.
News of the City," Medford Mail, June 28, 1895, page 5
[C. Z. "Pete" Boyden] recalls that [in 1896] the village fire alarm bell hung on timbers across an alley which separated the hotel from its nearest neighbor building on the east.
'Potluck," Medford Mail Tribune, September 17, 1953, page 4
The Mail has been asked to make a kick because that the fire bell cannot be heard as distinctly now as in days agone. The request is made, of course, in hopes that the city council will elevate it. Since the [Nash] livery stable has been enlarged--extended past the bell tower and other buildings have been built near by, the tower is so surrounded that the sound from the bell, when it is rung at the time of a fire, has trouble in reaching the cars of a slumbering people. Let us cite: When Mr. Hagey's house burned last Sunday night Horace Nicholson didn't know of it until the next morning. Never before in the history of this city, since Horace came within its limits, has there been a fire no larger than the burning of an ash barrel that he has not been in attendance, in full force and effect. There is something seriously wrong with that bell--and it ought to be fixed.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 22, 1898, page 7
The fire company of Medford met recently and elected officers for the next year. D. T. Lawton was elected president; T. W. Johnson, vice president; A. C. Nicholson, secretary; J. W. Lawton, treasurer; H. G. Nicholson, foreman; John Fradenburg, sergeant-at-arms. The boys have had over an $100 deposited in the Jackson County Bank for some time and they have now decided to make use of it. In accordance with this notion they have placed an order with Reynolds, the tailor, for twelve or fourteen blue coats with nickel buttons. These will be for dress parade only. The boys already have caps and belts, but it will be necessary for them to buy pants to match from their individual exchequer.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 20, 1898, page 7
T. W. Johnson, assisted by George Deitrich, has erected a thirty-foot tower at the south end of the hose cart house--the same being put there for the purpose of drying the hose after it has been in use at a fire. It is a much needed convenience and a very useful acquisition. In the tower are troughs or chutes running upwards, one each side on two sides, through which the hose is drawn and in which it can be allowed to remain until thoroughly dried. The structure is well built and is really an ornament to the hose house.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 21, 1898, page 7
The Medford fire company are having new uniforms made, consisting of gray pants and black shirts. Fred Slagle has the contract for making the pants--sixteen pairs. The uniforms will be strictly for dress purposes.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 19, 1899, page 7
A fire alarm was turned in Wednesday, and very soon the fire boys were making a swift run for the scene of conflagration. It proved to be on the old depot of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, a spark from the Medford-Jacksonville shortline engine having ignited the roof of the depot. Water was soon turned on, and the fire was put out before any great damage was done. Had the fire gotten a little headway the depot could not have been saved, as there was a stiff breeze blowing at the time and the roof was very dry. A hole as large as a man's body was burned in the roof, and water from the hose soaked things pretty badly on the inside.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 16, 1900, page 7
At a meeting of Protection Hose Co. No. 1, held last week, the following officers were elected: H. G. Nicholson, president; J. H. Norris, vice-president; J. W. Curry, secretary; W. W. Bates, assistant secretary; H. G. Nicholson, foreman; C. Perdue, assistant foreman; J. W. Lawton, treasurer; A. J. Fredenburgh, sergeant-at-arms.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 23, 1900, page 3
Protection Hose Company, No. 1, at its regular meeting on Tuesday evening, elected the following officers: H. G. Nicholson, president; J. H. Norris, vice-president; J. W. Curry, secretary; W. W. Bates, assistant secretary; H. G. Nicholson, foreman; C. Perdue, assistant foreman; J. W. Lawton, treasurer; A. J. Fredenburg, sergeant at arms; J. W. Lawton, J. H. Norris and G. L. Davis, trustees. The trustees were instructed to confer with the city council at its next meeting relative to matters which are of vital importance to the property owners of the city. Among the matters which the hose boys wish considered is that of placing two electric lights in the hose house; another is that of putting in a telephone at the pumping station, which, when a fire alarm is turned in will enable the people, especially the fire boys, to more quickly communicate with the engineer at the station regarding the necessity for water and of the almost immediate blowing of the fire whistle; another favor they will ask will be the erection of an eighty-foot steel bell tower. It is claimed that the fire bell, as it is now hung, cannot be heard further away than a couple or three blocks; still another is that the town provide them with spanners that will fit the hydrants recently put in. The spanners they now use will open the old hydrants, but when duty requires them to use a new hydrant a monkey wrench must be brought into service. These things asked for by the company are actual necessities, and the boys are hoping that immediate action will be taken by the council.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 20, 1900, page 7
The Medford Hose Company will give a dance on the night of July fourth. The boys are giving this party for the purpose of raising money with which to purchase a new hose cart. It's like this: The cart they are now using weighs 1700 pounds and its too blooming, blasted heavy to haul more than seventeen blocks when a fire alarm is turned in. The necessity for a new cart is a marked one, and they just naturally ought to have it.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 8, 1900, page 7
Some means of better fire protection is being discussed by a number of Medford business men this week. It is conceded that the present facilities for fighting fire are entirely inadequate, particularly should a conflagration occur in the business portion of the city, among the wooden buildings, where the chances of spreading would be greater than in the residence portion of the town. It is claimed that the present hose cart, especially in the winter months, is entirely too heavy to be hauled any distance by the firemen, which is manifestly true. It is proposed by some to purchase a fire wagon, harness and other appliances incident to a well-equipped fire department. It is further proposed to make arrangements for stationing the hose cart and fire wagon in one of the livery stables, provided the use of a team can be secured to have in readiness when one is required. The city cannot afford to own and keep a team for this special purpose, but it is thought an agreement may be had with the proprietors of one of the stables to station a team every night where it could be easily brought into service when necessary. In this way a thoroughly efficient fire department could be maintained at small cost. A system of fire alarms, by which the number of the ward in which the fire occurs will be rung, is also to be inaugurated at an early date.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 22, 1901, page 7
The prompt action of the fire boys prevented what might have been a serious conflagration last Friday morning. One of the old buildings at the rear of J. R. Wilson's blacksmith shop, which is occupied by Mrs. Loder, was discovered on fire about 9 o'clock. The alarm was immediately sounded, and a stream of water was quickly turned on before any serious damage resulted. The fire draught in the ceiling through which is a stovepipe.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 1, 1901, page 7
A meeting of Protection Hose Company was held in Medford last week at which the following officers were elected: President, W. S. Crowell; vice president, W. L. Orr; secretary, W. W. Bates; assistant secretary, J. J. Parker; foreman, Eugene Amann; first assistant foreman, J. H. Norris; second assistant foreman, Ed. Tryer; treasurer, J. W. Bates; sergeant-at-arms, John Cook; trustees, D. T. Lawton, J. H. Norris, R. H. Toft.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 14, 1902, page 7
The Medford fire boys have bills out announcing that they will give a grand ball in Wilson's Opera House on the evening of Friday, October 31st. Numerous prizes are offered, and it is expected there will be a large crowd in attendance. The tickets are $1 each. It's just like this with the boys: The city council has agreed to appropriate a certain amount of money for the purchase of a new hose cart and for other "fixin's," which are required to properly equip a good hose company. The boys are giving this dance to secure funds, which, when added to the appropriation the council has made, will give them all the aids and conveniences necessary for extinguishing fires. The object is a commendable one, and every citizen who can afford to ought to buy a ticket. If you do not feel that you can conscientiously purchase a ticket because that it is for a dance, why, you can "chip in" a dollar anyway--and not take a ticket. It's the money the boys want--and it's the money you want them to have--with which to buy fire extinguishing implements--to protect your property from the possible devastations of fire.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 17, 1902, page 7
The hose cart ordered by the city council through H. G. Nicholson last fall arrived from the East last week. It is "ready to run" at Mitchell, Lewis & Staver's warehouse on B street and will be kept there for the present. The members of the fire department are delighted with it, as every modern appliance for hand hose carts is affixed. The vehicle is the product of P. J. Cooney & Co. of St. Louis and costs the city about $200. A large brass gong is on the right side. A click attached to the wheel strikes it, and its tone can be heard for quite a distance. An ax is strapped to one side of the frame and a pinch-bar to the other. One hundred feet of new hose came with it, and with the amount already in the department gives one thousand feet. The body work of the cart is painted a regulation fire red with the word "Medford" in black and white on both sides of the reel. It is expected another fire company will be organized during the spring, and in that event the members of the present company want the new cart to be theirs. It is possible that at the next meeting of the council steps will be taken towards organizing the new company, but in the meantime the new apparatus is in charge of the department and will be used in case of necessity.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, December 19, 1902, page 7
When the special Southern Pacific train, having on board the Ashland and Medford fire companies bound for the Grants Pass fire, pulled out of Medford Monday afternoon the engine pulling the train scattered sparks broadcast in its wake, and several small fires were started from them in North Medford. The engine was a coal burner, and there was no spark arrester on the smokestack. The first fire started was near the barn of Andrew Anderson, which was heroically put out by Mrs. Anderson, that lady using her crutch in extinguishing the flames. The next one was near the barn of T. W. Johnson, which was discovered just in time to save all the buildings in that vicinity, as the barn was filled with hay and would have made a very hot fire. This fire was put out by Mrs. Johnson, who carried water quite a distance and by dexterous efforts succeeded in putting out the blaze. The next in line was at Charlie Wolgamott's place, which was extinguished by Mrs. Wolgamott. J. V. Ehwegen's barn was next in line, but this was not discovered in time to save the structure. A fire alarm was turned in, and soon the hose cart was on the scene, but the boys were handicapped to some extent by not having provided themselves with a spanner with which to open the hydrants, and later by there not being water sufficient to do effectual work; however, they succeeded in confining the fire to this one building, and no other damage was done in this locality. Further out, fire caught in some grass north of the distillery, and burned considerable fencing, together with a small residence and barn.The Firemen's Ball.
The wind was blowing a gale at the time all these fires were started, and it seems almost miraculous that a good part of the city was not wiped out.
Councilman Willeke has asked us to say to water users of the city that when a fire alarm is turned in they should at once stop using city water and see to it that all standpipes are closed. This he asks of them that the fire company may have use of all the water in the mains in their efforts to save endangered property. When a number of pipes are open the force is much less, and ofttimes there is scarcely enough water to effectually play on the flames.
Medford Mail, July 18, 1902, page 2
Everybody will, of course, buy a ticket to the Firemen's Dance, which is booked for Friday night of this week. The purchase of a ticket means simply that you are contributing to the protection of the city against fire to the extent of the price of the ticket. There ought to be 200 tickets sold--and the Mail is hoping that none short of this number will be turned in.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 31, 1902, page 7
There are something like two hundred people in Medford and adjoining towns who are congratulating themselves upon the fact that they were participants in the firemen's ball at the Wilson Opera House on last Friday evening, and they are informing those who were not in attendance that never in the history of Medford was there ever such a good time. Music that just lifted you off your feet and carried you around the room, a floor so smooth and elastic that after the start had been made it required no exertion to keep up the exhilarating motion, made the occasion an ideal one for the full enjoyment of the delights of the terpsichorean art. The tickets sold numbered 144, and the net receipts of of the ball amounted to about $90, which sum will be expended toward securing better equipment for the fire department and putting the boys in better shape to combat a conflagration when the occasion arises. Mrs. E. W. Calkins served an excellent supper on the stage of the opera house. The prizes awarded were as follows:WORTMAN IS HANDED A FEW
Grand March--1st prize--Pair Walk-Over shoes given by J. G. Van Dyke & Co. and locket charm by E. D. Elwood, won by Guy Childers and Miss Rydal Bradbury; 2nd prize--Box of cigars given by Vis & Gould and dozen photos by H. C. Mackey, won by George Porter and Fern Norris.
Newport--1st prize--Split bamboo fishing rod given by D. H. Miller and volume of poems by O. W. Whitman, won by E. A. Hicks and Mrs. H. N. Butler; 2nd prize--Silk handkerchief by F. L. Cranfill and lady's purse by Chas. Strang, won by Mr. and Mrs. John Barneburg.
Comas Waltz--1st prize--Hurst's War Songs given by G. H. Haskins and set of dessert spoons by J. H. Norris, won by E. A. Hicks and Mrs. G. L. Schermerhorn; 2nd prize--Rocker by Medford Furniture Co. and feather boa by H. B. Nye, won by Louis Warner and Miss Lottie Little.
Minuet--1st prize--Parlor lamp given by E. N. Warner and pair lady's Ultra Dress shoes by F. K. Deuel & Co., won by Homer Rothermel and Miss Mabel Wilson; 2nd prize--Ham by Barneburg & Co., and pair of lady's kid gloves by W. H. Meeker & Co., won by O. W. Whitman and Miss Centenna Rothermel.
Waltz--1st prize--Derby hat given by Hutchison & Lumsden and jardiniere by H. G. Nicholson, won by Dr. Gale and Miss Helen Colvig, of Jacksonville; 2nd prize--Box of Belmont cigars by Karnes & Ritter and jardiniere by H. H. Howard & Co., won by Jos. Parker and Miss Clara King.
Two Step--1st prize--Order on Pottenger & Cox for $2.50 and set of tablespoons by H. E. Boyden, won by John Barneburg and Miss Centenna Rothermel; 2nd prize--Box of cigars by Medford Distilling and Refining Co. and bottle of choice perfumed by Medford Drug Co., won by J. G. Van Dyke and Mrs. Horace Pelton.
Medford Mail, November 7, 1902, page 6
Medford’s Fire DepartmentProtection Hose Co. No. 2 was organized on Friday evening last with the full quota of members, eighteen, allowed. The following officers were elected: H. N. Butler, president; Fred Weeks, vice-president; Ralph Woodford, secretary; Basil Gregory, treasurer; H. N. Butler, foreman; Guy Moore, 1st assistant; Fred Weeks, 2nd assistant; George King, sergeant-at-arms. The company will take charge of the old hose cart, Protection No. 1 having assumed authority over the new one; but the new fire boys are determined to give the old members a “run for their money,” even if handicapped with the heavier cart, when the occasion shall arise. For the present both carts will be housed at the present fire house; but later on a new one may be built. It has been rumored that two fire houses may be established in different parts of the city, but the firemen as a general thing do not look favorably upon this, believing that better results can be obtained by having the city apparatus concentrated. Horace Nicholson, having two companies under his control, is now designated as “chief”’ and is entitled to the “red buggy,” if he had one, to ride in.
Following is a list of the members of the new company: H. N. Butler, Fred Weeks, George F. King, E. Eads, Guy Moore, Fred Patterson, Ralph Woodford, Harry Ling, Claud Miles, Charles Higinbotham, Basil Gregory, Frank Redden, Ralph Wilson, K. Osenbrugge, Wm. Warner, C. Danielson, Charles Boussum, Brigham Young.
The first meeting of Protection Hose Co. No. 1 was held nearly thirteen years ago, it being on April 11, 1890, at which time H. F. Wood, a contractor and builder, well known to the older citizens of the town, was chosen temporary chairman. G. L. Webb was the first president of the organization and John W. Curry the first secretary. At the second meeting H. G. Nicholson was elected sergeant-at-arms. H. F. Wood was the first foreman with A. C. Nicholson as 1st assistant and G. L. Davis as second assistant. The Mail was unable to secure a full list of the original members, but in looking through the minutes, the names of many prominent citizens of the town some of them moved away, others still among us, and a few (very few, we are glad to say) have answered the “last alarm.” To be on the exempt list of Protection Hose No. 1 is to have a good record behind you, a record of good work done in defense of the property of the citizens of Medford from ravages by fire, many times under circumstances disadvantageous in the extreme.
In looking over the minutes of the old company one entry especially struck the attention. It was made under the date of April 23, 1890, in the handwriting of John W. Curry, then secretary, and referred to Horace Nicholson, now chief of the department. We reproduce it:
“The sergeant-at-arms, being the first to leave the house and there still being a quorum of seven, it was moved, seconded and carried that a fine of fifty cents be inflicted upon said sergeant-at-arms for neglect of duty.”
About that time “Nick” was yet unacquainted with the matrimonial yoke, hence at this distance it is judged that his hasty departure from the fire meeting on the evening in question might have been to fill an appointment of much more importance to him than an ordinary fire meeting.
The roster of Protection No. 1 now consists of: Eugene Amann, W. J. Fredenburg, J. H. Norris, W. W. Bates, H. A. Fredenburg, E. W. Tryer, J. D. Hooker, J. F. Cook, J. J. Parker, J. W. Bates, J. R. Cook, Dan Amann, W. L. Orr, H. W. Jackson, J. H. Butler, W. J. Mahoney, George Eads, T. E. Kelso.
Medford Mail, February 6, 1903, page 3
The members of Protection Hose Company No. 2 have organized two basketball teams. They met for practice Monday evening for the first time, and since then have been practicing every evening, and as all the members are taking hold and trying to do their best it is probable that some lively contests will follow. The two teams expect to play a match games as soon as possible and a week from next Friday evening has been suggested as the date.
"City Briefs," Medford Success, February 20, 1903, page 5
The city has been making some substantial improvements in the hose house this week. The building has been lengthened, so as to afford ample room for both hose carts and the hook and ladder truck. The bell tower will be raised to a height of 40 feet from the ground, and there will be no covering over the bell, thus allowing full scope. Also the hose house will be flush with the inner edge of the sidewalk--formerly the bell tower was placed over the sidewalk, or placed where the sidewalk should have been--and there will be no obstacle to the building of a walk on that side of 6th Street, a matter which should be attended to at once.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 14, 1903, page 5
A FIRE AND THE HORSEA small residence on C Street belonging to the Rev. W. E. Goode of the Free Methodist Church caught fire at about 10:30 this morning and was entirely consumed. It was unoccupied [at] the time. The Medford Fire Department responded promptly at the first alarm, but when they arrived at the scene [they] could only watch the building burn, the nearest source of obtaining water being at a neighboring pump. By hard work a nearby cottage occupied by F. F. Anderson was saved. Fortunately no wind was blowing at the time or this, as well as several more, would have been in grave danger.
Small Blaze in the West End
BIG HORSE EN ROUTE
Dwelling House Burned--No Water on Hand--
City Waits for Big Fire Before Getting Water Supply
The most thrilling incident of the fire occurred when one of the hose carts was fastened to the tailboard of a delivery wagon and the driver urged the team to full speed. That is, he tried to, but one of the horses objected to the load and instead of hiking out for where the fire fiend was getting in his best licks, the animal stopped and kicked. As a high kicker that horse was a success. He kicked himself free from the vehicle and then deliberately backed up to the side of the wagon and proceeded to get busy.
Now, the hose cart men had piled into that wagon, and were just commencing to draw long breaths and indulge in a vision of an easy run for the balance of the way. Awakened from their pipe dream by the menacing hoofs of the enraged brute, they stumbled over the opposite side with some degree of alacrity. One or two were not quite quick enough and were assisted to terra firma by the horse. The firemen then attached themselves to the hauling rope and made the balance of the way by hand.
There being no water mains in that vicinity, the conclusion reached is that the hose carts were taken along as evidence of good faith only.
Someday when the wind is in the right direction a fire will break out and the city of Medford will be burned.
Then and probably not till some such catastrophe has happened will the people of Medford make some provision towards securing an adequate water supply.
Medford Daily Tribune, July 31, 1906, page 1
Hundreds who attended the [Forepaugh Sells circus] in the afternoon saw their first fire engine. The show carries three complete fire companies, which are both ornamental as well as useful. The first scene, which depicts a burning hotel, is a most stirring spectacular production. In the center of the big tent is erected a street scene. In the middle of it is a hotel. This catches fire. The fire department responds and rescues imperiled people from the third-story windows. Others, who are cut off by imaginary flames, jump into life nets.
"The Circus Is Here," Medford Daily Tribune, August 25, 1906, page 1
The fire and water committee was instructed to purchase a chemical fire engine at a cost of $2500.
"Purchase Chemical Engine," Medford Daily Tribune, March 8, 1907, page 1
A meeting of the Medford fire department was held last Thursday evening, at which time an election of officers took place. The following is a list of the officers elected: No. 1--C. H. King, pres.; J. J. Parker, sec.; J. W. Bates, treas.; L. B. Warner, vice-president; B. J. Simpson, assistant sec.; J. H. Butler, chief; H. N. Butler, assistant chief; J. A. Perry, foreman; J. Fredenburg, J. H. Eads, assistants; P. C. Bigham, sergeant-at-arms. No. 2--Frank Lindley, pres.; Emery Purdin, vice-pres.; Clare Morey, sec.; Frank Redden, treas.; Doc. Butler, foreman; C. O. Danielson, assistant foreman.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 15, 1907, page 5
With two alarms in one day, the excellent fire department of Medford is having a chance to keep nicely in practice. When the coveted new $2300 chemical engine arrives, the efficiency of the firefighting system will be greatly increased, and property owners will feel correspondingly more secure from such risks.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, April 19, 1907, page 8
Chemical Engine Arrives.
The Medford Fire Department received a new piece of fire-fighting apparatus in the shape of a combination chemical engine and hose wagon of the latest pattern.
The apparatus is equipped not only with the chemical engine and its hose, but there is room in the wagon for 1000 feet of standard fire hose, thus taking the place of a separate hose wagon.
There are also two hand extinguishers attached to the wagon, making it a very complete fire-fighting machine of its size.
Arrangements will be made at once for a suitable fire house for it and also for horses to handle it.
Medford Mail, June 28, 1907, page 1
There were three other draymen in town at the time [Eads Bros.] started operations, and whenever the fire bell would ring all the men would drop their work and run their horses in a race to the fire hall, for the first one there received the job of pulling the fire truck to the fire, for which they received one dollar whether the fire was located one or eight miles out of town. Later they had difficulty in holding the horses, for if they heard the fire bell they would run away and head for the fire hall without any driver.
"Eads Boys Started with One Team," Medford Mail Tribune, October 31, 1926, page 6
The old fire house and bell tower was moved this week to a point in the middle of 6th Street west of D, where it will remain temporarily. A new house for the reception of the chemical engine will be erected on the site of the old house.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 5, 1907, page 5
Back Up the Fireman.
Saturday afternoon the residence of Mrs. Veach in West Medford caught fire and was totally destroyed before the fire companies could reach the scene. The loss falls heavily upon Mrs. Veach, who lost her entire possessions and had no insurance.City Purchases Fire Team.
A misunderstanding at the telephone office led to the fire department being sent in the wrong direction--across the bridge--which caused a delay, for which the boys were in no way responsible, although they have been quite severely criticized by some.
Honest, timely criticism hurts no one, and helps on occasion, but the Medford Fire Department have been handed a lot of knocks several times, to which they were not entitled. If those who are so anxious to pick flaws in the work done by the companies would reflect that these boys are volunteering their services, they are not paid a cent, nor do they expect it and that until lately they have had to handle an antiquated lot of apparatus that wouldn't shine alongside of the apparatus of the "Darktown" brigade, they might be more charitable in their observations and make up their minds to boost instead of knock.
The fire company has had to fight for everything it has ever got in the way of fire fighting appliances, and has had to contend with short water supply and insufficient force whenever called upon.
Lately, however, the powers that be have awakened in a manner to the exigencies of the occasion. The purchase of the chemical engine was a step in the right direction, and the order for an additional 1000 feet of hose is another. The city is now looking for a suitable team for use for hauling the engine, and in the meantime have had the fire house fitted up so that a team is kept to be there constantly at night.
Regular fire harness has been secured, and as soon as the team is purchased, the city will be well equipped so far as the chemical apparatus is concerned.
This wagon will carry 1000 feet of hose, and when the additional 1000 feet is received, one hose cart will be stationed near the school house and the other near the bridge, so that on an alarm of fire in either territory that hose carts will be reasonably near the scene.
An alarm system should be the next thing organized, and that will follow shortly. At present, the firemen have a system where by they distinguish the wards, but the average citizen doesn’t know what the rings are, and if he gets to the bell first the rings for the wards are not given.
Here they are: After the bell has been rung for the general alarm stop an instant, then for the first ward ring once--pause--and once again. Second ward ring twice--pause--twice again. Third ward rings three times.
Medford Mail, July 19, 1907, page 5
The City Council intends to have a one-story brick building, 50x100 feet in size, constructed at an early date, and has instructed J. A. Macintosh to prepare the plans. It will be used for housing the city's fire apparatus and also to provide an office for the city recorder, and a meeting place for the council.
"Local Briefs," Medford Southern Oregonian, July 31, 1907, page 5
The work of training the fire horses has been undertaken by Chief Amann of the fire department. Every evening they are placed in their stalls in the city hall, and upon the tap of the gong are being led to their places on the chemical wagon. The horses are learning rapidly.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 22, 1908, page 5
Tom and Jerry and the chemical wagon. The site has been identified as 4th and Columbus,
but none of the houses in this and the photo below survive.
A house similar to the one at left survives at 1020 Court Street.
(From Sunday's Daily.)
The committee appointed by the city council, Messrs. H. G. Wortman and B. J. Trowbridge, yesterday purchased a fine span of horses--bay geldings, six years old, and will weigh when in condition 145 [sic] each. They were purchased from a man who had driven them from east of the mountains some place, and when he reached here decided he would continue his journey by train. The purchase included a good harness and a nearly new Moline wagon--and the price paid for all was only $300. The horses were turned over to Chief Amann yesterday, and they will at once be taught as rapidly as possible to take their places on the chemical wagon upon the tap of the gong.
Medford Mail, June 19, 1908, page 1
Tom and Jerry in action, same location as above.
HOSE COMPANY PRACTICES.
At a meeting of the fire companies held last night the following officers were elected:
President, C. H. King; vice-president, Frank Lindley; secretary, F. E. Ridden; Treasurer, James Bates; sergeant, J. H. Butler; foreman, P. C. Bigham; first assistant foreman, Harry Ling; second assistant foreman, W. Rothermel; chief, Eugene Amann; trustees, James Osenbrugge and Daniel Boussum.
George Roberts was chosen as the driver of the engine team.
A committee composed of J. H. Butler, Eugene Amann and P. C. Bigham was appointed to go with the committee from the city council and select sites for the auxiliary hose cart stations. These two committees will meet this forenoon and select the sites.
Several fines were assessed to members of the companies who were not present at the last regular meeting. Fines were paid--50 cents each.
Eugene Amann, J. H. Butler and W. L. Orr was appointed as a committee to divide the city into five wards and to have cards printed to give out to the residents of each ward telling them in which ward they lived and how to make a call for assistance in case of fire in their ward.
The department decided that another hose cart, 1,000 feet of hose and three 40-gallon fire extinguishers would be necessary in equipping the sub fire stations.
Medford Mail, August 7, 1908, page 8
July 20, 1908 Oregonian
QUICK WORK BY FIREMEN.
Only a Chimney, but the Department Was there in Two Minutes.
The burning out of a chimney in the old Vawter residence, corner of Central Avenue and Sixth, now occupied by J. D. Fay and family, last evening gave the fire boys an opportunity to show how quickly they could move. In less than two minutes after the alarm was sounded the engine was at the scene, hose laid and everything in readiness for fire-fighting.UNIFORMS FOR HALF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT ASSURED
No damage resulted, as the fire, as such blazes have a habit of doing, burned itself out in a few minutes. However, the boys are to be congratulated on their quick work.
Medford Mail, November 20, 1908, page 1
Fire Department Gets Six Complete Turnout Suits.
From the funds realized from the New Year's ball given by the firemen, six complete turnout rigs have been purchased by the fire laddies. The new equipment has just arrived and consists of gum boots and wool-lined overalls and rubber coats and rubber hats. There was money enough to purchase but six outfits, and more are needed, and more money will have to be raised in some manner to secure more suits.
The firemen are also proud of the new lamps for the engine. They give a light almost as good as the headlight of a locomotive. Although deficient in equipment, the local volunteer fire company has a record for efficiency that compares favorably with some of the paid companies in other places.
Medford Mail, January 22, 1909, page 1
Now this means you. The fire company would respond just as quickly if your home was on fire and fight just as hard, ruin just as many clothes as if their own was burning. Now don't wait to be solicited. If you don't attend public halls, send one dollar to Fire Chief Amann. Let your name go on our record, showing your appreciation of Medford's fire department. Ball to be given March 1.
Medford Daily Tribune, February 26, 1909, page 4
Calls Fireman a Naughty Name and Has a Sore Head Today in Consequence--
Trouble Over Feed Bill
Because he so forgot himself as to apply a vile epithet to Charles Stowe, who is in charge of the city fire department, Harry G. Wortman, councilman from the second ward and a prominent business man, is very much indisposed today. Stowe demanded an apology, and when none was forthcoming he proceeded to collect one. Wortman's face suffered considerably before the apology came--but it arrived.FIRE CHIEF WANTS NEW ALARM
The fracas occurred Tuesday evening after the regular council meeting had adjourned. Wortman, with a few others, were discussing fire department needs when the question of feed came up. Wortman asserted that Stowe was feeding the team too much grain. He objected to the size of the feed bill, although as a member of the council committee he had already approved it.
The argument grew heated. Stowe stated that the only objection that Wortman had to the amount of feed fed the team was that the feed was not purchased of the firm in which Wortman has an interest. Wortman applied a vile name to Stowe. Stowe demanded an explanation, and as none was forthcoming stated that he would "take it out of his hide." Wortman drew back as if to strike, and attempted to rush his opponent, but Stowe got into action first, and as a consequence Wortman got all of the blows, his face being badly bruised and cut. Judging from the blood upon the floor of the room, Wortman lost considerable blood. He offered an apology, which was accepted.
No action has as yet been taken in the matter. Wortman is a member of the fire committee, but whether he has the authority or power or the inclination to discharge Stowe is a matter for the future to decide.
Medford Daily Tribune, April 7, 1909, page 1
Files Annual Report and Makes Recommendations to City Council--More Hose Requested--
Fire Loss During Year Totaled $12,000--Cost of Operating the Department Was Nearly $2000.
Recommending that a compressed air whistle be installed for sounding fire alarms to take the place of the bell, which is inadequate, inasmuch as it cannot be distinctly heard on account of the trains switching and spotting freight cars, and asking that the department be equipped with 1000 feet more of hose, Eugene Amann, fire chief, has filed his annual report with the city council. He also further recommends that an ordinance be passed regulating exits and aisles in theaters and public assembly rooms, and also to require one or more fire escapes on all public buildings two or more stories in height.NEW FIRE TEAM IS PURCHASED FOR MEDFORD
The summary for the past year is as follows:
Number of alarms turned in, 21; total loss by fire, $12,000; insurance on same, $10,000; number of men answering alarms, 430; fires in residences, 8; fires in schools, 1; grass fires, 3; false alarms, 4; fires in woodsheds, 1; fire in dye works, 1; fire in restaurant, 1; fire in drug store, 1; fire in telephone office, 1; total cost for maintaining the department, $1970; total amount of hose (2½-inch) on hand, 2500 feet; total amount of chemical hose on hand, 500 feet.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 15, 1910, page 1
The city has purchased a new fire team of W. H. Venable of Applegate, paying $675. The team is well fitted for the work, weighing 2075 pounds.
Skinny and Rastus, the present fire team, were judged too light for the work. They will be put at work on the water wagon, and neither telephone or gong shall disturb their slumbers henceforth.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly, August 18, 1910, page 8
"Dick," the coach pup, which was been following the fire wagon since he was weaned, was run over and killed on Main Street by an automobile Friday afternoon. Apparently no effort was made by the drivers of the car to dodge the little dog, and he was instantly killed.
"Social and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune weekly, September 1, 1910, page 7
TOM AND JERRY GIVEN A LESSONMedford Mail Tribune, September 14, 1927, page B2
Tom and Jerry, the young team recently purchased by the Medford fire department, received their first instruction yesterday. The team, although frisky, as most 4-year-olds are, showed remarkable intuition as to what was expected of them. With a few days' practice it is expected that they will don their harness at the stroke of the bell like veterans.
The team was bought about a month ago from Jim Fowler on Applegate for $725. Tom is just 17 days older than Jerry and when weighed last was just 17 pounds heavier. The horses weigh about 1500 pounds each and will probably add 150 pounds before they stop growing.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly, September 22, 1910, page 1
Fire Team Is Intelligent.
"Tom" and "Jerry," the new fire team, pulled off a stunt Wednesday night for which they had not been trained and sprang a surprise on their trainers.
The colts have only been in training for about six weeks, but during that time have shown great intelligence and aptitude for the work.
Wednesday evening they were being put through the drill, consisting of coming under the harness at the clang of the gong and then going back to their stalls. As the team was going back after one trial, an alarm came in from the outside. The horses were halfway to their stalls at the time. When the alarm bell rang, quick as a flash both horses turned and were under the harness in an instant. "Nobody ever taught them that," say the fire boys, and Tom and Jerry are now the heroes of the fire house.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 10, 1910, page 3
LOSES CONTROL OF FIRE TEAM STRIKES POLE
It was luck, just pure luck, that kept some of the firemen and the people on the street from being killed last night when the driver of the fire engine lost control of the team at the corner of Main and Front, and instead of making the turn west from whence the alarm had come, struck a telephone pole on the southwest corner "head on." The pole was put out of business and so was the fire wagon temporarily. The pole of the fire apparatus met the telephone pole squarely, and a few splinters of each pole remain.
The fire team is composed of young horses, and their training has not been extensive. When the alarm came in last night and the big bell kept ringing it was almost impossible to control them. In the hurry to get out one snap on an inside cheek was not securely fastened, and the snap came loose just as the turn was to be made. [This version of events was disputed; see below.] Driver Bodge pluckily stayed with the engine until the pole was struck and the horses had cleared themselves of their harness, and he was left sitting on the front end of a wagon which had no tongue with a big piece of timber tangled with wires hanging over him.
Basil Gregory, who was on the rear end of the wagon when it struck, was battered up some, but not seriously hurt.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 13, 1910, page 8
WARREN BODGE IS DEAD
AS RESULT OF ACCIDENT SATURDAY EVENING
BLOOD CLOT ON BRAIN KILLS
At First Was Believed That He Was Not Seriously Injured--But Was.
Was Hurled to Ground When Chemical Wagon Struck Telegraph Pol Saturday Evening.
Warren Bodge died Monday afternoon at shortly after 2 o'clock.
All hope for recovery of Warren Bodge, who was injured Saturday evening, when chemical No. 1 of the local fire department plunged into a telegraph pole at the corner of Main and Front streets, was abandoned today. The young man lies unconscious at his home in this city and is said to be gradually sinking. He has been unconscious for 48 hours.
The earlier reports of the accident contained no mention of Mr. Bodge being injured, owing to the fact that while he was stunned, he apparently recovered rapidly. He was carried to the Nash Hotel immediately after the accident, and he regained his strength, joked with friends and left to find his hat, remarking that he was only jolted a bit. After finding his hat he walked over to the tailor shop of his father-in-law, W. W. Eifert, where he stood and chatted some moments, telling of the accident. He then, accompanied by Mrs. Bodge, started to walk home.
About a block this side of his home the young man complained of blindness. He was assisted home the remaining block by Mrs. Bodge. A physician was summoned as he grew rapidly worse.
It was found upon examination that Mr. Bodge had suffered a blow at the base of the brain. A clot of blood formed against the brain, and this is responsible for his unconscious and serious condition.
It is impossible to operate upon the wound, and it is believed that he cannot recover.
Mr. Bodge is very well known in this city, Mrs. Bodge being the daughter of W. W. Eifert, president of the city council. The young couple formerly resided in Roseburg, coming here to reside about a year ago, since which time Mr. Bodge has been associated with Mr. Eifert in the tailoring business.
Further light upon Saturday night's accident to the chemical wagon cannot be had. It is thought that a rein was snapped to the halter instead of the bridle on one of the horses in the rush that preceded the response to the fire alarm. When the time came to turn the corner the team could not be fully controlled.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 14, 1910, page 1
The scene of the crime (below), May 1909, looking east.
The fatal telegraph pole is just out of the photo at far right.
FIREMEN NOT TO BLAME
BROKEN SNAP ON REIN CAUSES COLLISION WITH POLE
Picked Up Several Feet Away, Showing Bad Flaw--Small Circumstance to Cause Death.
That the fire team became unmanageable Saturday night and refused to turn into Main Street because of a broken snap is the opinion of J. H. Butler, of the Medford Furniture Company, who has the broken-off piece in his possession. When it broke it flew quite a distance and later was picked up by Mr. Hall, a shoe salesman, in front of Olwell's exhibit building close to the railway crossing, probably forty feet from where the team broke down the big pole. The snap was on the outer rein of the off horse. The piece shows a flaw extending more than half through the metal, and it is a wonder it had not broken before.
Mr. Butler feels that the firemen should be exonerated of any blame under the circumstances. Their constant fidelity and the risks they take, it is felt, should cause persons who are ever ready to criticize to investigate before making damaging statements against these faithful men.
The flaw in the snap was not a very large matter, but it seems to have caused the death of fireman Warren Bodge.
In addition to the broken fragment from the snap, the firemen have the main piece from which came the fragment found by Mr. Hall. It shows the flaw most pronounced. This man part of the snap was still attached to the rein when the harness was taken to the station Saturday night. Several firemen have visited The Sun office, bringing the broken snap, and requested the paper to state that reports were untrue which had it that the accident was caused by the rein being snapped into the halter.
Medford Sun, November 15, 1910, page 1
ALL BUSINESS HOUSES TO CLOSE
Every business house in Medford will close tomorrow afternoon between the hours of 3 and 4 o'clock in respect to the memory of Warren Bodge, who was killed Saturday evening when chemical wagon No. 1 collided with a telegraph pole while responding to an alarm.
Mr. Bodge had been a member of the department about three months. He was at the station house when the call came in and died in the performance of his duty.
The funeral will be held at 3 o'clock. The firemen plan to attend in a body.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 15, 1910, page 4
FUNERAL TODAY FOR WARREN BODGE
Young Man Who Died in Performance of His Duty
Will Be Buried This Afternoon--Services at Presbyterian Church by Rev. Shields.
All preparations for the funeral of Warren E. Bodge, who was fatally injured in the performance of his duty as a member of the local fire department Saturday evening and died Monday have been made, and the funeral will be held at 3 o'clock today.
The body of the unfortunate young man is now lying in state at the Presbyterian Church. At 3 o'clock Rev. W. F. Shields will conduct the services. Following the ceremony at the church the local lodge of Elks will take charge of the services.
Pallbearers were selected from three organizations of which the young man was a member. G. F. Lindley and H. T. Haswell represented the firemen, E. J. Klein and W. H. Schultz the Knights of Pythias and Robert Telfer and A. C. Burgess the Elks.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 16, 1910, page 8
LAST HONORS TO DEAD FIREMAN
WARREN BODGE FUNERAL YESTERDAY.
Business Houses Close During Services--Band and Uniformed Marchers Head Procession.
The funeral of Warren Bodge, who was injured in Saturday night's accident and died on Monday, occurred yesterday at 8 o'clock.
The funeral services were held under the auspices of the Elks lodge. The service was held in the Presbyterian Church, Rev. Shields conducting it. The body lay in state for several hours.
A large crowd of friends and brother members of the Elks, Knights of Pythias and the Medford fire department marched to the Odd Fellows' cemetery, where the remains were buried.
Out of respect to Mr. Bodge, and as an appreciation of a man who was killed in performance of his duty, all business houses in Medford closed from three to four o'clock.
Pallbearers were selected from three organizations of which the deceased was a member. G. F. Lindley and H. T. Haswell represented the firemen, E. J. Klein and W. H. Schultz the Knights of Pythias and Robert W. Telfer and A. C. Burgess the Elks.
It was one of the longest and most impressive funeral processions seen in Medford in several months. The manner of his death together with his having lived here considerable time broadened the circle of his acquaintance and caused a large attendance.
The procession was headed by a band which played a funeral dirge on the way to the grave. Following that came the firemen, Knights and Elks, all in uniform and with appropriate badges of crepe. These were followed by the hearse, the mourners and a large number of other carriages. Three slowly running automobiles brought up the rear of the column.
The music was exceedingly slow, and the column having been long, it took over half an hour for it to pass through Main Street.
Deceased was held in the highest esteem, and his burial was most pathetic.
Medford Sun, November 17, 1910, page 1
LAST HONORS TO WARREN BODGE
Great Crowds Throng Streets Along Which Passed Funeral Cortege--
Fitting Tribute Paid Young Man Who Died in Performance of Duty
Medford paid sorrowing tribute to the memory of Warren E. Bodge Wednesday afternoon, while the earthly remains of the young fireman, who was cut down in the performance of his duty, were being consigned to their last resting place. Every store in town was closed and great crowds stood with bared heads as the funeral cortege was passing. It was a fitting tribute, for the young man gave up his life while on his way to fight the city's most deadly enemy--fire.
The body of the young man lay in state at the Presbyterian Church from one until three o'clock. The church was beautifully decorated. Scores of friends filed silently past the casket and viewed the remains for the last time.
At 3 o'clock Rev. W. F. Shields conducted services at the church, paying a worthy tribute to the young man. Immediately after this service the Elks, of which the young man was a member, took charge of the services.
The funeral cortege was the greatest ever witnessed in Medford. First came the Medford military band with muffled drums, playing a beautiful dirge. Next came the members of the Elks lodge, the fire company and Knights of Pythias.
Pallbearers were selected from three organizations of which the young man was a member. G. F. Lindley and H. T. Haswell represented the firemen; E. J. Klein and W. H. Schultz the Knights of Pythias, and Robert Telfer and W. C. Burgess the Elks.
Mr. Bodge was a native of Ada, Ohio, and was aged 32 years, 2 months and 13 days. Aside from his wife, he leaves a brother, who is a resident of Klamath Falls.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 17, 1910, page 4
NEW FIRE TEAM WELL TRAINED ALREADY
Driver Boren Has Them Working in Six Weeks--Remarkable Match of Blood-Red Bays.
"Tom" and "Jerry," the new fire horses of the Medford department, which have been in training and use for six weeks under the care of driver W. E. Boren, have already gotten their business down as fine as old fire horses. They are only four-year-olds, though they are very large and stately in appearance. At the sound of the gong they trot to their places under the drop harnesses, and when told by their master to do so they return to their stalls, wheel around and back into the openings at his word. They are the most typical fire horses imaginable, not being flighty but very genial and natural pets. In this respect they differ from the former fire team, one of which especially was too nervous for the job and out of place.
The new ones are so well matched that it takes almost an expert to tell them apart. One has a slightly larger star on his forehead than the other and a very dim streak on his nose that the other has not. Otherwise their color even to white hind feet is the same and they are perfectly mated. A person can travel many miles without finding two horses so nearly alike.
Medford Sun, November 18, 1910, page 3
Warren Bodge's Injuries Fatal.
KLAMATH FALLS, Nov. 18.--(Special.)--J. E. Bodge, a prominent business man of this city, who was called to Medford Monday by the serious injury of his brother, Warren Bodge, in the collision of a fire wagon which he was driving in response to an alarm of fire, has wired back to friends that his brother had died of his injuries. This is the second fatality in the Bodge family within the past three months. Mr. Bodge's sister was killed in Yellowstone Park last summer in an automobile accident.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, November 19, 1910, page 5-2
AUTOMOBILE TO SUPPLANT HORSE-DRAWN CHEMICALOn motion that the bylaws be amended making the eligibility to the department 21 to 35 years instead of 18 to 30 years was unanimously adopted.
Fire Laddies Hold Banquet and Business Session--
Many Matters for the "Good of the Department" Discussed--Officials to Aid.
That Medford will soon change her present fire equipment discarding horses for modern automobile fire trucks, was forecast last evening at a meeting of the Medford fire department, at which time city officials voiced their approval of such a change on the grounds that it was more economical and much more safe. Action will probably follow in the immediate future. The matter was brought up when the Medford fire department held its regular monthly meeting and banquet, which was not only well attended by the fire boys, but by a number of the city council, including Mayor Canon. The meeting was one of perfect harmony. While many of the boys were fined for non-attendance at meetings and drills, the fines were paid cheerfully, and the business of the meeting ran smoothly in every respect.
The report of the dance committee recommended that no dance be given by the department until after the holidays. The report was accepted by the department and the same committee retained.
Under the head of "good of the department," a number of city councilmen, including the mayor, addressed the department, and all expressed themselves as feeling kindly toward the fire boys, and pledged their earnest support to the department. The fire chief addressed the department and the assembled guests on the importance of a change from the present horse-drawn apparatus to an automobile apparatus.
"The present wagon is far too heavy and cumbersome," said the chief. "We are trying to draw a four-horse load with two horses, and at any time when we leave the pavement we are not apt to proceed very far; besides, under present conditions, our equipment is unsafe. There is not a fire but endangers a man's life, and I do not believe that $2000, $4000 or even $10,000 is anything as compared with the life of a good man. An automobile apparatus will be a little expensive to start with, but in the long run will be cheaper. A horse-drawn apparatus costs no less than $20 per month for the horses and apparatus alone. An automobile would not cost to exceed $5 per month, and even should the city be unable to dispose of the present equipment, it would pay the city to put the horse-drawn machine in a more remote district, where life would be less in danger, and place an automobile in the crowded business districts."
The remarks of the chief were concurred in by a number of councilmen, including Mr. Eifert, and Mayor Canon and a number of citizens who were present.
Following the meeting the boys gave a banquet which proved to be a "fitting menu for a czar"--roast pig, salads, cakes, coffee, olives, celery and all the garnished dishes known to the best Medford chefs, and there was music by the string band, provided by Harry Cingcade. Both the meeting and the banquet was all that could be desired, and when the crowd dispersed it did so feeling most kindly toward the Medford fire department.
The Medford fire department is arranging for a life-sized portrait of Warren E. Bodge, which they will place in the fire hall in memory of their brother, who met death while in the discharge of his duty.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 8, 1910, page 2
LAWTON NOW FIRE DRIVER
J. W. Lawton Accepts Position as Driver in Fire Department--
Is a Splendid Choice as He Is Probably Foremost Horseman in the City.
J. W. Lawton, known throughout Southern Oregon as one of the most expert horsemen in this section, has accepted a position as driver of the fire team and entered upon his new duties Saturday.
Mr. Lawton, by reason of his long experience as a handler of horses, will no doubt prove one of the best drivers the department has ever had.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 11, 1910, page 15
FIRE HORSE JERRY INJURES MATE
Tom and Jerry, composing the big bay team which pulls the fire wagon, were in a mixup all to themselves Saturday, and and as a result Tom is badly wounded.
Jerry broke his halter and, finding himself free, he proceeded to celebrate. Among other things he did was to back up to Tom and let his heels fly at the tethered animal. Tom was kicked on one of his hindquarters, a wound resulting which required a surgeon, who found it necessary to take a number of stitches in the animal's flesh.
Medford Sun, January 15, 1911, page 4
HOSE CART USED [AS] WEDDING CHAISE
Medford Fire Department Meets Jack Dent and His Bride,
Who Was Formerly Miss Margaret Ewbank, on Their Return from Eugene.
Wednesday afternoon a telegram was received by the fire boys that Jack Dent [Wells Fargo agent John E. Dent] and bride would be on the 11:20 express from Eugene. The boys forthwith proceeded to get busy. The boys were all notified to be "on deck" in uniform to receive their brother fireman and bride. But for fear that Jack would give the boys the slip at Gold Hill or Central Point, an auto was hired and Harry Ling, Henry Haswell and Frank Lindley rode to Gold Hill to meet them and ensure a safe delivery at Medford. In the meantime the boys at home took a two-wheeled hand hose cart and fixed up a comfortable seat thereon with plenty of cushions and robes, decorated the wheels with the national colors, also bells, and waited for the train. It came, and with it Jack and his bride and their escorts from Gold Hill. As Jack came in sight of the hose cart he was heard to exclaim, "Gee! This is where Frank Lindley gets even with me." Jack was assisted into the cart, and when Mrs. Dent was invited to take a seat beside him she threw up her hands and said, "Oh My, No," but Jack said, "Come on," and like a good sensible little wife she "came."
The lead rope was run out, and the boys grabbed hold and the procession started. Harry Ling and Alix Wright were the leaders, and the way they bowed their necks and pranced would have made an old stage driver weep for joy. "Sody Pop" Bigham and Baz Gorgary were the heavyweight wheelers, and Chief Amann, Henry Haswell, Harry Wilson, Claude Metz, Doc Damilson and others worked in the swing. They went carefully down North Front Street until they swung into East Main, and then the leaders became unmanageable and away they went for East Medford.
Chief Amann used to be a square-gaited trotter when the boys had to haul a hose cart to the fires, but since our city dads furnished him that fine auto runabout he has got out of practice somewhat, and when the leaders struck their stride it would have been difficult for a racehorse man to decide whether Gene was a "side wheeler" or a "diagonal trotter." He trotted and he paced, and when the wheelers stepped on his heels he went up in the air and run like everything. It is about one mile from the depot to Mr. Dent's residence [at 317 Howard], and when the boys had delivered them safely at their home, the chief said in a faint whisper, "Boys, here is where I ride," and proceeded to get into the cart, and the boys hauled him back to the fire hall.
"Whew," said Sody Pop. "That was the poppinest run that I ever made." Lawton took them all back into the horse parlor to the wash rack and gave them a cold shower bath, and they all went home happy.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 20, 1911, page 8
MORE FIRE BOYS TO SLEEP AT STATION
The sleeping quarters for the firemen over the engine room at the city hall are being remodeled so that twice as many of the fire boys may sleep there at night as can now be accommodated. A partition is being built, and when finished the two sleeping rooms will accommodate eight bunks instead of the four there at present.
With the additional fire fighting force close at hand there is little chance of a conflagration making much headway.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 4, 1911, page B2
MEDFORD HAS FIRE TRUCK
City Department Now Equipped with Automobile Apparatus.
MEDFORD, Or., Aug. 10.--(Special.)--After 21 years of existence the Medford fire department this evening, at a special meeting of the city council, added a $5250 automobile truck to the equipment.
The automobile truck will be used to carry the hose and ladders, the pressure being such all over the city that an engine is unnecessary, and it will take the place of the present team and heavy wagon. The new truck is of 55 horsepower, and has the same equipment as those used in large cities.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 11, 1911, page 9
Medford Firemen to Hear Alarms.
MEDFORD, Or., Aug. 12.--(Special.)--To rouse sleepy firemen of Medford from their comfortable beds, telephones have been established in their homes that will ring automatically when the alarm is turned into central. With the addition of a new automobile hose truck to the equipment the firemen will have at their service the very latest in fire fighting appliances.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, August 13, 1911, page 5
February 12, 1912 Medford Mail Tribune
50 Horsepower Motor Fire Truck
Which Reaches Medford This Morning
The above picture of the Medford fire truck was taken in Portland when the truck was held there waiting for a car in which it could be shipped to Medford. The giant fire extinguisher is due to arrive this morning and will probably be given a tryout this afternoon or tomorrow.
Medford now has the only Pope-Hartford firefighting motor on the Pacific coast, and with the increase in the fire force will be one of the best-equipped cities in the state as far as fire protection is concerned.
The machine was secured through the Valley Auto Company of this city and cost $5250. It is fifty horsepower and is capable of making forty miles an hour. It includes a fifty-gallon chemical, forty-five feet of ladder, 250 feet of chemical hose and has a capacity of 1250 feet of hose. The Valley Auto Company will have the machine in charge until the city is ready to take it over.
Medford Sun, February 11, 1912, page 7
AUTO HOSE CAR HERE AT LAST
Medford's New Chemical Engine Arrives and Is a Beauty--
Large Crowd Inspects and Enjoys Initial Trial Trip About the City.
Medford's new chemical and hose auto car arrived in Medford Monday morning and was given a tryout by the fire boys.
The car is a beauty to look upon, and if it proves to be as good as it looks there seems no good reason to hereafter doubt the efficiency of the Medford firefighting equipment.
Some of the equipment on the wagon consists of a 50-gallon chemical tank, two hand extinguishers, 16 feet of ladder, 1000 feet of 2½-inch hose and 250 feet of one-inch hose. The full weight of the motor car is 5000 pounds. All the latest accessories are on the machine. An automatic headlamp lighter is also attached.
The car will be kept in the central engine house, where formerly stood the team chemical engine. The old outfit will not, however, be sidetracked, but will be kept where it can easily be gotten at in cases of emergency or at times when more than one engine is required.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 12, 1912, page 3
PAID DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED
The city council passed an ordinance Tuesday evening providing for a paid fire department, consisting of six men, a chief, assistant chief and four firemen. These men are to be paid: chief $85; assistant chief $75; and the men $60 a month.BIG 3-LINE NOZZLE BUILT FOR CITY
The matter of salaries is said to be not entirely satisfactory to the present firemen. The matter will be discussed at a meeting of the volunteer department at an early date. They favor salaries as follows: Chief $100; assistant chief $80 and the men $70 a month.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 6, 1912, page 7
FIRE BOYS WILL GO ON STRIKE
At a stormy meeting held Monday evening the fire department agreed to disband and turn the charter back to the secretary of state unless the wages asked were granted by the city council. The scale demanded calls for $100 per month for chief, $85 for assistant chief and driver and $75 apiece for three men, or $495 total.
The council has offered $85 for the chief, $75 for assistant chief and four men at $65, or a total of $420 per month.
The distance between Medford and a fire department at present then is $75 a month. If this is not bridged tonight there will be no fire department unless the mayor is in a position to form a new one.
The position of the council is that no provision has been made for raising money for a paid fire department, and the city finances are in such a condition that the city cannot afford to pay more than the schedule determined upon.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 19, 1912, page 4
DEADLOCK OVER FIREMEN'S PAY
The Tower of Babel had nothing on the scene at the city hall Tuesday night following the adjournment of the city council without taking any action in regard to the increase in wages sought by the firemen under the new ordinance passed two weeks ago authorizing a paid fire department. Citizens, firemen and councilmen paired off and went at it in a hammer and tongs fashion. Once or twice it looked like a free-for-all, but finally everything cooled down awaiting the result of a conference today.
The city hall was jammed with firemen last evening. Patiently they waited until such time as the council would take up the proposed salaries which are urged to replace those provided for in the ordinance and said by the fire boys to be too low. Finally Mayor Canon mentioned that a motion to adjourn was in order. Thereupon Councilman Millar asked if he understood what the city would be without a fire department Wednesday. Mayor Canon replied no, and stated that no such notice either verbally or in writing had been served upon him. Thereupon the council adjourned.
Immediately the storm broke. Some of the fire boys were walking out, but Harry Ling, assistant chief, put an end to this talk at once and summoned Chief Amann, saying that the boys would stand by the public. This statement was confirmed later by Chief Amann, who arranged with Mayor Canon for a conference today.
The trouble lies in the fact that the fire committee of the city council, to which the matter of amending the ordinance was referred, failed to report back to the council one way or the other, and therefore the mayor could not take any action.
The firemen are firm in their determination to go out unless higher salaries are provided. On the other hand the city officials say that the city cannot pay more. The matter will be fought out soon.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 20, 1912, page 2
The city has had the old fire wagon converted into a three-line nozzler for use should a fire break out in one of the large buildings in the city. A huge nozzle is mounted on the rear end of the wagon to which three lines of hose can be connected. This nozzle will hurl a large stream of water with the normal pressure of the city mains more than 400 feet and will tear down a brick wall at close range. It will throw water to the top of any building in the city.
The wagon will be kept in readiness for use at a big building fire and will be manned by the volunteer members of the fire department. It has been needed for some time.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 11, 1912, page 4
The fire department has started its annual work of burning off a number of the vacant lots in the city on which weeds and grass have grown during the past year, thus minimizing the danger of fire.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, July 16, 1912, page 4
Medford Needs Better Fire Protection
To the Editor:
This does not mean that the firemen do not do their duty, and the very best they can do with their present equipment and the local experience they have had.
The only suggestion might be that they be provided with, and make a study on, during their leisure, of scientific firefighting literature and periodicals.
They do excellent work when once "on the job," but the trouble comes in getting them there in time, and the main cause of this inefficiency of methods of getting to them information and location of fires, and fire in all its features is a calamity, in which instantaneous action means everything, possibly human lives, especially when it occurs somewhat out [of town], where the telephone is the only means of communication in the absence of a regular fire alarm system
. The fire at 10th and Grape Tuesday at 3 a.m. is an example, as it was accidentally seen only after in full blast, by a person crossing Grape Street on Main, who immediately went to the one lonely alarm box installed by the old Home Telephone at the Park, but long before this, 4 Pacific receivers and two Home receivers were down, in a fruitless effort to get "central" to call up the fire hall; meanwhile, intense heat cracking our front windows, and finally got only the stupid response of half-awake operators, when the engine was already leaving the hall from the accidental police alarm.
This is too slow a process, and had telephone been the only means of alarm the adjoining residences would have been afire before the firemen would have been even out of bed, but no criticism is intended of these particular operators, as it is understood they are permitted to sleep after 12 o'clock and no one is clear and alert when awakened from sound sleep, and they can't be expected to get numbers right and think quickly.
This is where our fire protection is inefficient, and if the telephone company can't afford to keep at least one operator on duty at the board and awake at night, to instantly sound an effective alarm to the fire boys upon call, then the city should provide compensation to have this, the only means of communication available for instant use at all times by everyone in the city.
As the winter season approaches, fires will be more numerous (and as this article is being penned, word comes of another fire Wednesday morning) as stoves, lamps and lanterns are more in use, and insurance statistics show that 75 percent of the annual fires occur during the winter months, so this matter should have the immediate attention of the city council.
W. H. SEARLE.Citizens endangered by Grape Street fire.
J. J. PARKER.
E. W. LILJEGRAN.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 24, 1912, page 4
BIG FIRE TRUCK STRIKES CURB ON WAY TO FIRE
Slippery Pavement Sends Auto into Gutter, Bending Front Axle Badly--
House Is Completely Destroyed by Flames--Other Homes Endangered--
Building Was Owned by A. Pottenger of this City--
Rented Yesterday and Completely Furnished
Owing to a wet, slippery pavement, the huge auto fire truck of the local department skidded while making a run to a fire at Eleventh and Grape streets shortly before noon today, and plunging into the curb nearly tore a front wheel off of the machine. The axle was bent to an angle of near 45 degrees. One or two of the boys were thrown from the machine but escaped with minor bruises. A hasty examination was made and the truck proceeded slowly.
A house owned by A. Pottenger of this city, and occupied by J. Grauman, was completely destroyed. The origin of the fire was not determined. The loss will reach $2500, partially covered by insurance.
The house was a mass of flames when the blaze was first discovered, so that nothing could have been saved had no accident occurred to the fire truck. Other houses were endangered, however, by the delay, but a hard fight with garden hoses in the hands of citizens led by Chief Hittson and Officer Cingcade of the police force saved the nearby buildings until the fire truck limped up and the heavy hose came into play.
Mr. Grauman, who occupied the house, moved in on Wednesday, completely furnishing it with new furniture. The fixtures were put in the house but yesterday. He invested nearly $600 and had not insured it. Previously the place had been unoccupied for some time. Mr. Grauman is a recent arrival in the valley and has a daughter living with him.
Frank Lindley, driver of the fire truck, stated today that he had slowed down considerably for the corner, owing to the condition of the pavement, and was not aware of any danger until the crown of the pavement was reached in making the curve. The big car then suddenly skidded directly toward the curb, and he was powerless in his attempts to check it.
During the winter months the car is equipped with chains in the front as well as the rear wheels, but these chains were recently removed owing to the continued dry weather.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 13, 1913, page 1
Members of the fire department are busily engaged in crocheting fancy work, shawls and socks, as a better way to pass their leisure time than playing "seven up." The boys have turned out some work that would be a credit to feminine hands.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, October 21, 1913, page 2
FIRE CHIEF IS DROPPEDMEDFORD, Or., March 5.--(Special.)--After eloquently urging the retention of Fire Chief Amann at last night's council meeting, Mayor Purdin, concluding that the council was determined to secure his removal, proceeded to offer the chief's written resignation, which was at once accepted by a unanimous vote. According to H. H. Sargent, councilman from the second ward, who led the attack against the fire chief, the move was one of economy solely and no one was appointed to fill Amann's place, but Harry Ling, assistant chief, was advanced to the post.
OPPOSITION DECLARED WHOLLY DUE TO ECONOMY.
Volunteers Resign In Body and Feeling Runs High, Friends of Bulb Sides Threatening Reprisals.
In sympathy with the deposed chief and also because their free telephones have been removed by the city, members of the volunteer fire department have resigned, leaving Medford with but six members of the department.
Considerable indignation has been aroused among the citizens by the action of the volunteer department, and rumors of a new volunteer department are current. Meanwhile, there are many threats on the part of fire department partisans of instituting a recall against councilman Sargent, who is held responsible for reforms which his friends declare will reduce the city expenses over $10,000 a year.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, March 6, 1914, page 5
OFFICE CAT ALSO STRAYSMEDFORD, Or., March 7.--(Special.)--All that is left of the Medford volunteer fire department is Jack Fredenberg and the departmental cat. Mr. Fredenberg refused to resign and the cat refused to be given away.
Medford's Volunteer Fire Department Has Fredenberg as Nucleus.
The reason for the resignation by the fire boys was given as the refusal of the City Council to continue to supply the members with free phones. The relic chest accumulated through the years was presented to the Commercial Club, the office desk bequeathed to Fire Chief Amann, recently resigned, and the caps and coats were returned to the members.
According to members of the City Council, however, Mr. Fredenberg will be the organizer of a new volunteer company which will be willing to cooperate with the economy policy of the city and supply their own phones.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, March 8, 1914, page 7
City Engineer Arnspiger is busy moving the fire house from the North School to the high school, where it will be used as a station by the volunteer fire department to be organized in the high school by Chief Lawton.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, April 30, 1914, page 2
FIREMEN GO BACK TO WORKMEDFORD, Or., June 6.--(Special.)--Members of the volunteer fire department of Medford, who resigned in a body several months ago when a misunderstanding arose over the granting of free telephones by the city, have been reinstated at their request by the City Council.
Medford Volunteers Ask for Reinstatement After Fires.
Three fires in Medford of recent date convinced the business men of the city that a capable volunteer department was necessary to aid the paid department and it was at their solicitation that the former volunteers reorganized and asked for reinstatement.
At a recent meeting the volunteers elected officers and made public a statement to the effect that the matter of free telephones would be disregarded by them, as they considered proper fire protection in the city of first importance.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, June 7, 1914, page 2
ASSERTS MEDFORD CHURCHES FIRETRAPSMedford Mail Tribune, September 14, 1914, page 4
Six of Medford's ten churches are firetraps, according to investigations made this morning by Fire Chief Lawton. In these half-dozen houses of worship the doors swing in, contrary to the city ordinance and common sense. In case of fire or panic, the chances of a worshiper escaping are reduced to the same chance that a farmer has of winning in a three-shell game. The doors of our lodge rooms also swing in. Notice will be served to comply with the law.
Contempt for safety from fire is further shown by the discovery to date of 160 residences where gasoline is stored without protection. Most of the houses have taken steps toward complying with the ordinance, but a few still cling to the pioneer ways of storing inflammable materials.
Chief Lawton reported that conditions in the business district, where the insurance regulations are rigid, and inspection often, are excellent.
The auxiliary truck of the fire department has been fitted with red headlights. People seeing these lights approaching are supposed to give the right of way, and turn towards the curb.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, January 3, 1915, page 2
A horse driven by Mike Welsh ran away in front of the fire hall this afternoon. The animal is an old fire horse, and at the sight of old scenes and vistas he started on a "run." He slipped and fell on the pavement. The horse was mustered out of service with the coming of the auto truck.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, October 19, 1915, page 2
After having been in the service of the City for the past seven years, the team of big bays used to haul the reserve fire truck were delivered this morning to C. F. Magerle of Rogue River, to whom they were sold last week for $400. The team will be replaced with a light truck on which the body from the old horse-drawn truck will probably be mounted. As the selling of the team leaves the City without reserve equipment, it is probable that the matter of securing a truck will be decided at the council meeting tonight.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, March 20, 1917, page 3
FIREMEN UNABLE TO FIND HYDRANT; 2 HOUSES BURN
Had not the fire hydrant on Woodstock Street been set low in a ditch and allowed to be grown over with weeds, at least one of the two houses which were destroyed by fire late Saturday afternoon on that street might have been saved.
The fire started in the house occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Grant Richardson at 415 Woodstock Street, and owned by Dr. E. R. Seely, when a gasoline stove on which Mrs. Richardson was preparing supper exploded in her absence at a neighbor's. The fire had a good start before the flames were discovered and had spread to the home of L. O. Ossman adjoining, which is owned by S. C. Godlove.
The fire department drove right by the hydrant, as the firemen were unable to see it. The apparatus continued on to Second Street, the firemen still looking for the hydrant. Then they drove back to the location of the hidden hydrant, about 300 feet from the burning houses, and after beating about in the clover finally uncovered it. About five minutes were thus lost before water began playing on the flames, and it is thought that had work been begun sooner the Ossman house might have been saved.
The Richardson house was completely burned, and the Ossman house partially burned and completely ruined. Some furniture was saved from both dwellings. The total loss caused by the fire is estimated at close to $5000. Mrs. Richardson collapsed when on coming out from a neighbor's home she saw her own home going up in flames, and had to be given medical attention.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 30, 1917, page 4
There are indications that several of the city firemen may resign their positions in the department unless the city council at its next meeting raises the pay of firemen from $70 to $80 a month, the same as is paid the policemen of the city. The firemen have been endeavoring for some time to get the raise in pay.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, August 24, 1917, page 2
MESSENGER BOY GIVES CITY A SCAREWesterman Whillock, Western Union messenger boy, unwittingly gave the city a scare last night, and caused the fire department to run right out, waltz around the corner of Main and Front streets, and run right back again. It all took place in a few seconds, but the blowing of the siren whistle, and never did it blow louder, caused people to hurry downtown from all directions to see the fire.
The lad had a message to deliver to the night police. Not finding an officer about, he opened the fire and police alarm box in front of the Commercial Club building, intending to flash on the red light. Instead he pulled the wrong lever down, which summoned the fire department. Then the excitement began.
The "Commercial Club building" is at left;
the fire and police alarm box and its red light are visible at far right.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 15, 1918, page 6
When the firemen arrived and broke in the front door the entire storeroom seemed to burst into flames. There are only five firemen, one of whom has a crippled foot and two others of whom are new and inexperienced fire fighters. After they had worked on the fire about fifteen minutes without making any headway, Chief Lawton, fearing that the flames would communicate to the M&M Department Store next door, turned in a second alarm to summon the designated volunteer firemen, but it seems that the latter were all out of the city. The heat from the flames and the resulting smoke and steam made the work of the firemen a difficult task.
"Fire Damages Clothing Store, Guts Building," Medford Mail Tribune, September 9, 1918, page 6
JACKSONVILLE FIRE SERIOUSMEDFORD, Or., July 17.--Jacksonville, county seat and oldest settlement in southern Oregon, was saved from destruction by fire yesterday by prompt action of the Medford fire department. Four houses and one barn were destroyed and a dozen other houses badly scorched.
Four Houses and Barn Burned, but Most of Town Is Saved.
The Jacksonville fire department, with an antiquated equipment, was helpless when the fire hose burst in a dozen places. A call for help sent to Medford, six miles away, brought Fire Chief Lawton on the scene with the motor hose cart, and in a short time the danger was over. The loss is estimated at $10,000. The blaze started from a grass fire.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, July 18, 1919, page 8
NEW NOISE DEVICE EQUIPMENT PUT ON FIRE ENGINEProbably when the next alarm of fire is turned in the natives along the streets will take to the woods in terror and the autoists, who make it a practice to either follow the fire apparatus closely, or run along with, it, despite the city ordinance and pleas of the firemen to get out of the way, will frantically start their cars to climbing poles.
All this because the fire truck has just been equipped with the most outlandish, piercing fire siren whistle ever heard in this vicinity, which is kept blowing all the time the truck is on the run. When Fire Chief Lawton was in attendance at the recent California state and international firemen's conventions at San Francisco, the manufacturer had the patent truck siren whistle on exhibition there, and he persuaded the chief to give the whistle a tryout here.
It was blown in the engine house last evening for the benefit of the city councilmen gathered there, and scared some of the city fathers so badly that it will be some time before the council is able to vote $35 with which to pay for the siren.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 8, 1922, page 8
CURFEW TO RING ALL FIRE BOYS OUT SIX TONIGHTThe curfew bell will ring out tonight with the new fire department in charge, as no longer will D. T. Lawton pull the rope and as usual at every pull and every clang of the gong use the Methodist Episcopal expression for "doggonit." Other loving hands will ring the signal for kids to scamper off the streets for home.
The change in personnel of the fire department, ordered by Mayor Gaddis and the city council last Friday night, to take effect March 1st, because they regard the present incumbents as too old, by mutual agreement between the outgoing and incoming firemen, will take place at 6 p.m. today, instead of waiting until midnight tonight. The outgoing firemen removed all their personal effects from the department today, and tonight their beds will be occupied by the new firemen under Roy Elliott, the new chief.
There will be no formal ceremony marking the change, but the retiring firemen will no doubt leave the building, which has practically been their home for many years, with feelings of regret. This will especially be so in the case of Chief D. T. Lawton, who has been a member of the department for 12 years past. All the former fire fighters will depart into private life with the best wishes of their many friends, and the new ones will assume charge with well wishes from the public.
The members of the outgoing department at Chief J. W. Lawton, D. T. Lawton, Frank Parker, Taylor Burch and Tom Roseberry. The new firemen are Chief Roy Elliott, 324 years old; Chas. Boussum, 34 years old, and a former member of the department; Chester Ellis, 26 years old; Taylor Burch, 53, and one other man yet to be named. Tom Roseberry will be retained temporarily until relieved by the new man, to take care of the mechanical apparatus of the department.
Up to 3 o'clock this afternoon the last fire call was received in over a week and the outgoing men were hoping that they had made their last run to a fire until relieved from permanent duty at 6 p.m.
After that hour they hoped to throw away their crutches, canes and false teeth and walk the streets henceforth energetically cussing the taxes and acting otherwise like normal citizens.
Their exact plans for future occupation are not ready for announcement, except in the case of Chief Lawton who always has been a great horse lover and expects to acquire very soon a ranch on which he will raise and develop horses for the market. D. T. Lawton has planned to make an immediate auto trip with his wife to visit their daughter and family in the northern part of the state, but gave it up on learning that the flu was so prevalent there. Mr. Lawton is considering a good offer from Klamath County which would necessitate his removal to that locality.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 28, 1923, page 8
FIRE APPARATUS TO CARRY RED LIGHTS
From now on when citizens see a fast-approaching car with red and green headlights they will be wrong in surmising that a traveling drug store is heading toward them. Such lights will indicate that the fire apparatus is responding to a fire alarm and serve as a warning to get out of the way quickly.
On each of the cars of the fire department apparatus new headlights have been installed, red on one side and green on the other, in place of the former ordinary headlights, which had always been the rule heretofore. The change was made so that the drivers of other cars on the street at night time can readily see the department is coming at the usual breakneck speed and draw up to one side of the street out of the way.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 28, 1924, page 3MEDFORD PROUD OF HER EFFICIENT FIRE DEPARTMENT
MEDFORD COUNCIL VOTES PURCHASE NEW FIRE PUMPER
$13,500 to Be Expended in Putting Fire Fighting Equipment on a Safe Standard
MEDFORD, Dec. 18.--The city council meeting of Tuesday night was not the last meeting of that body during the present year, as it will require one or two more meetings in which to clear up the odds and ends of city business for this year. Hence Tuesday night's meeting adjourned until next Tuesday evening.
In addition to passing a number of ordinances straightening out property matters, passing an ordinance to purchase for $13,500 a triple combination fire pumper for the fire department, the council also considered a tentative proposition for the opening up of West Sixth Street, through the F. Roy Davis property on North Oakdale Street out to West Main Street opposite South Newtown Street. Mr. and Mrs. Bert Anderson, Emil Mohr, John Perl, Carl Fichtner, A. S. Bliton and F. Roy Davis appeared before the council in behalf of the suggested improvement.
The $13,500 for the fire pumper will be paid by means of city warrants, the local banks having agreed to float the required number at 5 percent, instead of 6 percent as always the case heretofore when bonds were floated.
The council also last night voted to retire $5000 worth of gravity water bonds, in accordance with its program long in force of retiring such bonds yearly to the amount of $20,000.
Ashland Daily Tidings, December 18, 1924, page 1
A new brass sliding pole is to be installed shortly at the fire department, preliminary installation work having already been started. The pole will be situated in the west side of the fire hall directly opposite the one used for many years past. With both poles available, the firemen can get to the trucks much easier on night calls.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, July 28, 1926, page 2
FIRE DEPARTMENT1 chief, 1 assistant chief, 4 men, all full pay, 24 call men, 5 of whom sleep at headquarters; these are paid $3.00 for the first 2 hours and 50 cents per hour thereafter.
1 Stutz pumper, model "O," capacity 1,200 gallons per minute, 1,250' fire hose. 1 chemical car with 117½-gallon chemical tank and 250' chemical hose. 1 hose truck (for call men) with 650' of hose. 800' of hose in reserve. Apparatus fully motorized.
Fire alarm by telephone. 1 compressed air siren at headquarters. 3 electric street sirens being installed in the business district of the city.
Medford Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1927, page 1
After having served for more than five years, the front tires on the city Pope-Hartford fire truck were replaced last week with new tires, giving the veteran truck a redressed appearance. The machine has been used considerably and has proved its value numerous times. Ever since the arrival of the Stutz pumper it has been used as an auxiliary truck in laying hose to the scene of the flames.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, May 15, 1927, page 2
FIRE CHIEF UNABLE TO GIVE HIS PARTY
Because a very busy season makes it impossible to rent the Natatorium swimming pool for special parties, Fire Chief Elliott will be unable to give his annual swimming party this year to the younger boys of the city, although he had planned on so doing. Chief Elliott, however, will probably hold a swim party next year. He believes these events have a lasting effect in keeping boys from becoming careless with fire, as a lecture on fire prevention has been given with each of the last two parties.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 28, 1927, page 3
Among the many organizations of which the citizens of Medford are duly proud is the fire department, which is recognized as one of the best in any city the size of Medford on the coast.
The department is composed of six salaried members and 24 volunteers, under the supervision of Chief Roy Elliott and Assistant Chief H. T. Burch.
The regulars are H. T. Haswell, C. L. Spiers, C. Stevens and E. Anderson.
The volunteer department, which includes five special officers for duty during fires, is composed of the following members: Harry Beal, captain; Harry Rinabarger, J. G. Gill, B. H. Daley, Victor Danielson, W. J. Fredenburg, Walter Smith, Lawrence Pennington, Haskin Estes, Guy Fox, Charles Brown, Fred Fredenburg, R. T. Nichols, George Barnum, Elliott Butler, William Thurman, Fred York, Gene Wright, Howard Glascock, John Whipple, Floyd Higdon, Herman Newland, Ray Marks and Cecil Newland.
In addition to housing the salaried members, the fire station on North Front Street has sufficient room to provide for sleeping quarters of six volunteers.
The equipment includes a Stutz pumper of 1200 gallons capacity and 225 horsepower, a Pope-Hartford hose truck, a Dodge chemical truck of 115 gallons capacity and an Allis-Chalmers hose truck.
Out of 146 calls in 1926, the chemical truck answered 121, putting numerous threatening grass and house blazes under speedy control.
The total fire loss was $115,731.12 for the years of 1923 to 1926 inclusive, during which time 432 alarms were answered. These figures do not include the first six months of 1927, for which no official figures have been made.
Another feature of the past four years, during the regime of Fire Chief Elliott, is the fact that 43 buildings of a fire-hazardous nature were torn down. The last one to be razed was the Vincent barn on North Riverside Avenue, one of the few remaining fire hazards in the city.
Chief Roy Elliott is recognized as one of the most efficient firemen in the state, and has been twice chosen president of the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association, which position he now holds.
The local department won the state flag for efficiency last year.
Following is a list of the alarms by months and years from March 1, 1923:
1923. Alarms Loss
March . . . . . . . . . . 6 $ 43.00
April . . . . . . . . . . . 4 75.00
May . . . . . . . . . . . 8 50.00
June . . . . . . . . . . . 6 None
July . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 500.00
August . . . . . . . . . 9 800.00
September. . . . . . . 3 796.00
October . . . . . . . . 6 15.00
November. . . . . . . 5 20.00
December . . . . . . 8 40,705.72
1924. Alarms Loss
January . . . . . . . . . 9 $ 6,431.74
February . . . . . . . 3 None
March . . . . . . . . . . 6 1,500.00
April . . . . . . . . . . . 3 None
May . . . . . . . . . . . 9 None
June . . . . . . . . . . . 21 60.00
July . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 None
August . . . . . . . . . 6 600.00
September. . . . . . . 11 503.00
October . . . . . . . . 9 50.00
November. . . . . . . 3 19,000.00
December . . . . . . 5 None
1925. Alarms Loss
January . . . . . . . . . 5 $ 250.00
February . . . . . . . 13 60.00
March . . . . . . . . . . 5 1,732.00
April . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1,945.00
May . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1,025.00
June . . . . . . . . . . . 9 12,574.00
July . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 5,691.00
August . . . . . . . . . 14 160.00
September. . . . . . . 6 350.00
October . . . . . . . . 4 1,900.00
November. . . . . . . 9 None
December . . . . . . 6 900.00
1926. Alarms Loss
January . . . . . . . . . 10 $ None
February . . . . . . . 7 None
March . . . . . . . . . . 6 73.75
April . . . . . . . . . . . 6 550.00
May . . . . . . . . . . . 15 4,080.00
June . . . . . . . . . . . 36 311.00
July . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 935.00
August . . . . . . . . . 10 5,665.00
September. . . . . . . 10 1,000.00
October . . . . . . . . 11 1,075.00
November. . . . . . . 5 1,580.00
December . . . . . . 17 153.95
Medford Apartment House Doomed by Fire--Water Low
Inadequate pressure in the Medford water system is handicapping the efforts of the fire department of that city in extinguishing a fire that broke out in the Barnum Apartments of Medford, according to word received here this afternoon. It is said that the apartment house, the finest of its kind in Medford, is doomed to complete destruction. Firemen, unable to play an adequate stream of water on the blazing structure, were waging an uneven battle at a late hour this afternoon.
Ashland Weekly Tidings, October 5, 1921, page 1
MEDFORD'S FIRE DEPARTMENT RANKS HIGH IN STATE
Medford is justly proud of its fire department, which with the very best equipment is recognized as one of the most efficient and best organized fire departments in the state for the size of the city.
The department, with Chief Roy Elliott and Assistant Chief H. T. Burch at its head, is composed of six salaried firemen and 24 volunteers. In addition to furnishing quarters for the regular firemen, the fire station on North Front Street affords sleeping quarters for six members of the volunteer department.
The firefighting equipment is most complete and has a Stutz pumper of 1200-gallon capacity and 225 horsepower, a Pope-Hartford hose truck, a Dodge chemical truck of 115-gallon capacity and a Chalmers hose truck.
The department was called out 143 times last year and succeeded in holding the fire loss down to $69,986.
A very important feature in stamping out menaces to the safety of the city was the wrecking and removal of eleven old wooden structures within the fire zone.
Two new street sirens have been recently installed to warn the traffic. One has been placed at Sixth and Holly streets, while the other is at Riverside and Main streets. 1400 feet of new hose was also recently ordered.
Presentation of the state flag, won by the Medford fire department at the last annual meeting of the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association of the cities of Oregon, was to have been presented on December 22, but due to the fact that Governor Patterson could not be here on that date the presentation program will take place early in this year.
Chief Roy Elliott of the Medford department was re-elected president of the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association at the last annual meeting. The annual meeting for 1928 will be held at Marshfield.
The volunteer firemen are very efficient in meeting regularly on the first Monday night in each month. Addresses on various subjects are given to the volunteer members at these meetings, including danger of electricity, first aid, rescue work, salvage, fire drills and other matters pertaining to fire fighting.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1928, page G1
Work upon the new fire hall, under construction at [Third] and Front streets, which will be completed by April 15, is progressing nicely.
"Two Fine Homes Will Be Erected Crown Hill Zone," Medford Mail Tribune, January 24, 1929, page 4
FIRE DEPT. STUNTS THRILL BIG CROWD
Hundreds of people from all sections of southern Oregon crowded the streets leading to the Hotel Medford this morning while the local fire department, under the leadership of Chief Roy Elliott, presented the annual exhibition of spectacular feats common to fire fighting.
Chief Elliott opened the show with a slide with a life belt from the roof of the Hotel Medford, landing in the city park. He then shot a lifeline to the fifth story, and Joe Fredrickson and Gradon Childers followed it to the ground.
The next stunt on the program centered around a check for $10, which was locked in a safety box. The box was placed in the center of the street, with lock and key available. The fire hose was then turned on the box, and competition opened for obtaining the check. Several men tried the stunt, but no one got to the $10. Joe Fredrickson, Claud Stevens, Geo. Brown, Jack Persault and Ora McDonald were among the close competitors. Raymond Frisbie, well-known local wrestler, came closest to the money but was forced to surrender to the 80-pound-pressure current of water.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 11, 1930, page 3
CHIEF ELLIOTT GIVES REPORT ON FIRE DEPT.
Laddies Answered 145 Calls During Year--Razed Fire Hazards, Made Many Inspections.
Fire Chief Elliott's annual report for 1930 to the mayor and city council follows:
The department answered one hundred forty-five alarms as listed below:
46 grass fires, 23 flue fires, 12 false alarms, 8 residences, 7 autos, 7 rubbish, 4 roofs, 4 sawdust, 4 garages, 3 electric motors, 3 electric wires, 2 grease, 2 barns, 1 electric iron, 1 oil pot, 1 oil stove, 1 department store, 1 hot ashes, 1 tar pot, 1 pile of poles, 1 service station, 1 shed, 1 paper chute, 1 honey refinery, 1 pile ties, 1 woodshed, 1 awning, 1 furnace, 1 overheated stove, 1 confectionery, 1 oil burner, 1 kids' playhouse, 1 ammonia. Total 146.
The department used 662½ gallons of chemical and laid 10,550 feet of 2½-inch hose.
Total fire loss for the year was $47,854.02 on which $47,479.02 insurance was paid.
Estimated value of property actually on fire was $955,079.
The department received cash in the sum of $110.76 as follows:
For recharging chemicals . . . . . . $ 22.76
Sale of old hose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76.00
Sale of soda and acid . . . . . . . . . . 4.50
Sale of old gas tank . . . . . . . . . . . 7.50
All cash received was turned over to the city treasurer and his receipt taken.
Old Buildings RazedNine old buildings condemned as fire hazards were removed under direction of the fire chief during the past year.
One thousand and ten personal inspections of property and buildings was made by the chief and members of the department during the past year and recommendations made to remedy any fire hazards that existed.
All hose is tested each year under normal working pressure. This year 350 feet was condemned for fire use. Three hundred feet of which was turned over to the street department.
Schools InspectedA thorough inspection was made of the schools and a drill held at each one.
Medford's new water system and betterment of the fire department are two reasons for a reduction of insurance rates made recently which will save the property owners approximately $32,000 per year. Medford's fire loss the past year was only 6 percent of the value of the property actually on fire.
In an effort to show at what time of day the most fires occur, a graph made from the records of the fire department for the past seven years shows that more fires occur between three and three-thirty in the afternoon than at any other hour. This was very interesting to the many chiefs at the convention last year.
Many thousands of dollars in stock, furniture and fixtures has been saved from water damage by covering everything with large salvage covers as soon as possible after the department arrives. A regular salvage squad appointed both from the regulars and volunteers takes care of this work before they do anything else.
24 VolunteersThere are 24 volunteer firemen who answer general alarms. They meet once a month and drill regularly when the weather permits. "I wish to thank them for their hearty cooperation during the past year, and I feel certain they will respond just as readily the coming year," says Chief Elliott's report.
"We feel that the past year has been very successful as regards fire loss in Medford. We wish to thank the public for their hearty cooperation toward fire prevention by keeping their places cleaned up. Also a word of praise is due the Boy Scouts for their able support during cleanup week each year in Medford. We most earnestly desire the same glad response for the coming year.
"We wish to thank the mayor and city council, the fire committee in particular for their efforts the past two years in securing for the department better apparatus and a new station with more room and a better place to live."
Medford Mail Tribune, January 7, 1931, page 8
Remodel Old Fire Hall
Remodeling of the old city hall at the corner of Sixth and Front streets started last weekend under supervision of Fred W. Scheffel, city superintendent, with work being done by the engineering department. The alterations, sanctioned by the city council, are expected to enable the city to rent all of the building. Display windows will face Front and Sixth streets.OLD FIRE BELL REMOVED FROM FORMER STATION
Medford News, June 26, 1936, page 1
Bell Placed 45 Years Ago Will Grace Front of New Station to Honor Volunteers.The fire bell which has hung over the old city hall at Sixth and Front streets about 45 years was removed from the building Saturday and will be placed in front of the present fire department hall this month, it was announced today by Fire Chief Roy Elliott.
Placed in the tower over the hall, then used as a fire station, by Gordon Schermerhorn in , the bell was used to summon volunteer firemen to blazes in this area. Hose and reel carts were used in those days, the first dray team from any city livery stable to arrive at the station being hooked up to the hose cart and dispatched to the fire.
Bought by Volunteers.The bell was purchased by the volunteers themselves, with funds raised by dances and other community affairs. Still considered the property of the men who composed the Old Protection Companies No. 1 and 2, it will be mounted in memory of the early volunteers of Medford’s fire department when the city was still a "sagebrush town." Chief of the volunteers at the time the bell was erected was Eugene Amann
The old city hall building was sold last month by the city council to John O. Cupp, with the stipulation that the bell be returned to the purchasers. Elliott stated Saturday that the bell weighs about 850 pounds. In recent years it has been used by the city to ring curfew, but will not be in service now.
Remaining members of the old volunteer fireman companies meet the latter part of each May for a reunion, coming here from all parts of surrounding states.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 8, 1944, page 8
FIRE DEPARTMENT SHOWS 218 CALLS DURING PAST YEAR
Medford's fire department responded to 218 calls in 1945, and the total loss for the year was $28,613.39, according to a report from Fire Chief Roy Elliott read to the city council last night.
The figures are lower than those of 1944, when 221 calls were answered and losses amounted to $31,052.68. Estimated value on property involved the year was $368,876.64, and the insurance at risk was $300,700. Insurance paid was $28,163.39. The city's loss per capita was $1.79 compared to $1.94 in 1944.
Fire Chief Elliott made 305 personal inspections of buildings and property, had two fire hazards removed, issued 510 permits and inspected all schools and attended fire drill at each school during the year, his report stated.
There were two injuries and one death due to burns.
New equipment added was one American LaFrance 1,000-G.P.M. pumper. Equipment was in service a total of 83 hours, 32 minutes.
Elliott's report said that "The department wished to thank the public for their wonderful cooperation, also the mayor and the city council for their excellent support during the past year."
Medford Mail Tribune, January 16, 1946, page 2
'46 Fire Consumed Medford Warehouses
Firefighters from across the Rogue Valley Were Called In
To Fight the Big Downtown Fire
BY MARK FREEMAN
Eddie Clark was mopping floors at the American Fruit Growers plant in Medford on June 25, 1946, just as he did most early evenings. But about 6 p.m., something seemed different.
The smell of smoke reached Clark, so the 18-year-old son of noted Medford architect Frank Clark dropped his mop and walked outside.
"I just walked out of the place," Clark recalls. "I don't think I even saw any flames.
"It was a run-of-the-mill thing for me," he says. But that changed within minutes, as columns of flames fanned by stiff summer winds turned West Medford's warehouse district into a raging inferno that became the biggest fire in Medford history.
The fire raged over two city blocks in the area around 10th, Grape and Holly streets, engulfing five large businesses, and damaged several nearby residential structures.
High winds drove the flames into highly flammable materials in warehouses and the mills. Firefighters struggled through the night to keep flames from engulfing other buildings.
Hundreds of curious spectators lined nearby streets watching flames dart more than 60 feet skyward. Dozens of people joined firefighters from across the Rogue Valley to battle the blaze. Other volunteers helped evacuate people and goods from nearby homes--sometimes pulling out the bath fixtures and furniture against their owners' pleas.
In all, more than $1 million in damage was initially reported, earning the fire its ominous moniker: "the million-dollar blaze."
The American Fruit Growers plant on South Fir Street at 10th Street was one of several in a small area known as Medford's industrial district, where well over 100 men worked.
Some time in the late afternoon of June 25, 1946, flames broke out in the cold storage area of the plant. Paul Hobbs, an equipment operator, was the first to find the flames. He and Clark were the only two men in the building.
Hobbs tried to douse the flames, but they quickly spread to flammable liquids. Failing, he fled.
On the other side of the building, Clark whiffed the smoke and walked out unaware of the dangers, he says.
By 6:13 p.m., firemen arrived and discovered gusty shifting winds spreading flames in all directions.
Sirens drew Freeman Johnson, then a 33-year-old firefighter, from home to the fire station at Third and Front streets and then to the fire. Immediately, he joined his friend, LeRoy Williams, on a hose line, and the pair found themselves on the roof.
"It was not so good," Johnson recalls, and it soon got worse.
Williams slipped and fell off the top of the wall, still holding the hose but dangling over the glowing timbers and bouncing off the wall like a wind chime. Johnson hauled Williams back up to the wall, and the pair fled to the ground.
"If he had lost his grip on that hose," Johnson says, "LeRoy was a goner."
Later, while standing on adjacent railroad tracks, a superheated cannister of rat poison exploded next to Johnson, who passed out from the fumes. Both men rode out the fire in hospital beds.
By nightfall, the fire had digested the entire American plant and its contents, as well as the nearby Crystal Springs Packing Co. plant, the Monarch Feed and Seed Co. warehouse, the Porter Lumber Co. mill across the street, the Medford Millworks and several neighboring garages and homes.
A dozen fire trucks from Ashland to Central Point were sent to the blaze. Residents ran into neighbors' homes to help them evacuate. The Mail Tribune reported that Lucille Fredenburg watched neighbors rip her bathtub, cooking and heating stoves from the walls by men who ignored her pleas to leave them.
Embers in the ruins glowed for days as fire inspectors sifted for clues. Most of the businesses were fully insured, and most of the companies rebuilt.
The Oregon fire marshal still has a file on the blaze, albeit a thin one that now fills just one line on a computer screen.
"Origin never determined," it says. "Loss: $699,507."
"Story of a Century," Medford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1999, page 28
Fire Insurance Rating May Not Be Reconsidered for Many Years
Medford's fire insurance rating, which has not changed in 25 years, may not be reconsidered for another several years, according to City Manager Robert A. Duff.
He said the rating--now class 5 on a 10-class scale--has stayed the same for three reasons:
1. Between 1933 and the war, Medford grew little, and its fire protection facilities remained much the same.
2. During World War II no rerating surveys were conducted.
3. Since World War II, Medford's growth has been so rapid that it has been all the various city departments could do to keep up with it, let alone improve service to a point where a better rating--and resulting lower insurance rates--could be hoped for.
Rural District Rating
Rating of the Medford Rural Fire Protection District, which since 1952 has purchased protection from the city, is class 9A, Medford Fire Chief Gordon R. Baker said.
The last complete grading of the city by the Oregon Insurance Rating Bureau was in May 1933, Duff said. He explained that the rating board engineers had visited the area several times each year since the last rating and had made suggestions for improving or maintaining the rating.
The bureau has just completed a grading of all the buildings other than residential within the city, he added, but the results would not be available until April or May.
Lapse of Time
The reasons for the lapse of time since the last grading is due mainly to the war and the increase in the size of the city, the city manager continued. Gradings are usually not made by the state bureau, Duff explained, unless requested by the city, as long as the city is maintaining or improving their rating.
In 1933, Medford had a population of approximately 11,000 and included 2,080 acres. Today there are 23,571 persons living within the city limit, which now includes 5,594 acres.
No gradings were conducted during the war, Duff continued, and when it came time for regrading the problem of annexation and population growth had just started. Grading requests were postponed until the city's departments, especially fire and water, could catch up with the area they were protecting.
Study Fighting Force
In 1950, Fire Capt. Leo Weidner of the Portland department, now assistant fire chief there, spent four months in Medford studying the firefighting force of the city. His suggestions resulted in a $125,000 bond issue, approved by the voters, for the expansion of the department.
With a portion of the money the west side fire station was constructed, and an aerial ladder purchased, Chief Barker reported. Seven men were added to the department staff, he explained, but added that at that time Medford covered 2,080 acres and had a population of 17,170. Shortly after the new equipment was purchased 80 acres were annexed to the city.
Further expansion in the department came in 1952 when a division of fire prevention was organized within the department and a fire marshal added to the staff. It was during that same year that 37 street alarm boxes were placed in service with the telephone alarm system switchboard at the police station.
A 1,000-gallon-per-minute pumper was purchased, and later that year the Rural Fire Protection District was organized. A contract was signed with the city for fire protection of some 27,741 acres with an estimated population of more than 8,000 persons. But Medford was still expanding--54½ acres were annexed to the city in 1952.
The following year a tanker-pumper was put into service and four firemen were added to the department. But Medford grew on--3.8 acres were annexed to the city.
And Medford still grew--in 1954 an assistant fire chief and seven firemen were added to the staff, and the east side station was activated in rented quarters on South Keeneway Drive. Then 45½ more acres were annexed to the city, and the next year saw the city leap ahead again by another 99 acres.
In 1956, another 1,192 acres were annexed to Medford. It was in this year that the east side station was constructed at 530 Highland Dr. The completion of the station completed the expansion program begun in the department with the approval of the bond issue in 1950, except for an indicator switchboard for the street alarm system, which was added in 1957.
The close of 1956 the Medford Fire Department was added by 37 men in three stations with two 1,000-gallon-per-minute pumpers, one 750-gallon-per-minute pumper, one 500-gallon-per-minute Army-style pumper, one combination tanker-pumper, carrying 1,250 gallons of water and equipped with a 500-gallon-per-minute pump, one 85-foot aerial ladder truck, a utility pickup equipped with a 200-gallon-per-minute portable pump, a sedan and a station wagon, all equipped with three-way radio on the city frequency.
In reserve was the 1924 [sic] model 1,000-gallon-per-minute Stutz pumper. With the exception of the rural district and equipment and men added for rural protection, the Medford fire department was at the recommended strength for a city of 17,170 population and an area of 2,080 acres, Chief Barker explained.
Two Men Added
Two men were added to the department last year, and the city annexed 1,950 acres. Today the 39 men in the department include Chief Baker, an assistant chief, fire marshal, six captains, six enginemen and 24 firemen.
In 1950 the greatest distance from the fire station to the city limits was two miles; today the distance has been increased to nearly four miles. Travel distance to the rural district boundary at the most remote point is slightly more than 4½ miles, the fire chief reported.
Why then, it is asked, has not Medford been rerated by the state rating bureau since 1933? The answer is not as easy as it seems. Cities hope to improve their fire insurance rating or at least remain the same before requesting a grading, City Manager Duff explained.
Continues To Grow
"Medford has been growing. Just as the city departments build themselves up to the strength needed for the city, the city would grow again," he said.
In light of the current growth of the city, a letter received by the city manager last August from H. E. Marqueling, chief engineer of the Oregon Insurance Rating Bureau in Portland, stated that any rating of the city would be delayed for a year or more.
Duff added that cities in the United States over 25,000 population are rated by the National Fire Rating Board rather than state bureaus.
Class ratings, he explained, are based on a scale, with the lowest numbers those cities with the best fire protection.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 2, 1958, page B12
Tree-Climbing Feline Rescued by Firemen
It took $60,000 worth of equipment to do it, but Medford firemen were successful in a rescue effort yesterday.
They rescued a cat from a tree.
The cat's owner, whose named was not recorded, called the fire department at 1:57 p.m. to report that her pet had been up in a tree in front of 514 South Holly St. for two days and would not come down.
First a fire truck was dispatched to the scene. But the men on the truck found a ladder would be needed to get the cat down, and they didn't have one. So an aerial ladder truck had to be dispatched to complete the rescue operation.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 14, 1962, page 1
Longtime residents remember . . .
Medford in the Early 1900s
By MARY ANN CAMPBELL
Mail Tribune Staff Writer
When Bess Smith Johnston and Seely Hall sat down in the study of Hall's Medford home one day last week, their talk turned to life in [and] around Crater Lake and in Medford between 1914 and 1920.
Hall drove a tour bus to Crater Lake in days when the road was almost nonexistent. Mrs. Johnston was hostess at the Crater Lake Lodge in 1920 and 1921, until she married Ralph Smith, the hotel steward at the time.
Mrs. Johnston's father, Horace Venable, arrived in Jacksonville in 1884 and bought a saloon and restaurant at the corner of California and South Oregon streets, in a building now occupied by a leather shop. He kept it for only a short time, trading it for a 160-acre ranch in the Applegate Valley, where Mrs. Johnston grew up.
This spring, when Mrs. Johnston saw remodeling under way on a building at the corner of West Main and South Central streets in downtown Medford, she remembered a day in the fall of 1915 when the same building was almost demolished by a runaway team of horses hitched to a heavy trash wagon.
"I remembered I was so unhappy and embarrassed for my father," she said. "He had raised that team. They were gentle as kittens. He sold them to the Medford Fire Department for $600, which was big money in 1911."
She said that the horses, Tom and Jerry, were full brothers. They were 3 and 4 years old when they were sold. Their sire was a black German coach stallion, and the dam was a dark bay Morgan mare. This was considered a perfect cross for speed and size, bred for light draft duty, she added.
"They were identical, except the white star in Tom's forehead was larger than Jerry's," she recalled. "Their dark bay coats shone like burnished mahogany in the sunshine. And now, the favorites of Horace Venable's horse ranch in the Applegate Valley were in disgrace."
As Mrs. Johnston tells the story, "The team had performed well for the city. They learned the routine at the fire hall, stood trembling under the rack as the firemen lowered the harness on their backs, snapped it in place and they were instantly secured to the fire wagon by the crew."
In 1912, the city replaced the horses with a new motorized fire engine, and Tom and Jerry were relegated to the lowly duty of hauling trash for the city.
Mrs. Johnston quoted Horace Venable as calling the move "a waste of beautiful horseflesh."
On what Mrs. Johnston remembers as a warm, lazy fall day in 1915, Tom and Jerry were standing in front of the then-new Medford library, while the attendant gathered leaves and trash from Library Park. He had wrapped the reins around the whip socket.
"Suddenly, the fire alarm sounded, followed by three blasts, indicating the fire was in Ward 3," she said. "The team lunged ahead, feeling no restraint, so they ran full speed down Main Street, made a sharp right-hand turn on South Central and the heavy wheels of the trash wagon plowed through the corner of the drugstore there, leaving a gaping hole. The horses continued for two blocks until they were stopped, entangled in the reins."
They were running to Ward 3, Mrs. Johnston added.
After the incident, the city sold Tom and Jerry to a local farmer.
The fire engine that brought an end to the career of Tom and Jerry as fire horses was driven often by Hall, who was a member of the volunteer fire department. He also helped train other firemen in the art of driving the engine.
Hall's father, Court Hall, owned a Cadillac agency in Medford, and Hall drove Cadillacs for the Crater Lake tours.
In Hall's study hangs a large colored photograph of a 1913 Cadillac on the rim of Crater Lake. Hall is driving and the passengers are Mr. and Mrs. Emil Moore, who built the Hotel Medford. The car is standing on the spot now occupied by Crater Lake Lodge.
Hall has photographs of the first building at Crater Lake, a mess hall, he said. In those days, visitors camped out. He also has a photo of the lodge, taken in 1915, showing part of the roof collapsed from the weight of snow. Other photos show him driving in 14 inches of snow on unplowed roads.
Another set of pictures shows a demolished automobile. He was driving a hunting party of six in October 1914, when the steering gear on their 1910 Cadillac broke and hurled the car down a canyon. It struck a tree which smashed the gas tank, causing the gasoline to explode. Hall and his passengers escaped serious injury because they were thrown out of the vehicle.
On June 27, 1915, Hall photographed a group setting out for Crater Lake. One of the passengers was Arthur Perry, "Ye Smudge Pot" columnist for the Medford Mail Tribune. It was Perry's first trip to Crater Lake and he, along with the others, had to walk the last four miles because the snow was too deep to drive through.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 28, 1981, page B2
Last revised May 23, 2019