HomeCommunity NewsPasadena Fire Department 125-Year Celebration

Pasadena Fire Department 125-Year Celebration

WHO: Current and retired members of the Pasadena Fire Department, City dignitaries and the community.

WHAT: Celebration and reflection of the Department's 125 years of service to include the Department's Color Guard, presentations by Mayor Bill Bogaard, City Manager Michael Beck, Fire Chief Calvin Wells, Deputy Chief Kevin Costa and members of the Pasadena Fire Dept. The event will include the Playing of Taps.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

WHERE: Pasadena City Hall located at 100 N. Garfield Avenue in Pasadena, CA  91101.

WHY: To bring retired Pasadena Firefighter's, some from several generations and in their 90's, together with current members of the Pasadena Fire family. A 125th commemorative badge will be unveiled that all sworn personnel will wear for a one-year duration.

BACKGROUND: As Pasadena grew, the need for fire protection grew as well. A little-known event that triggered the formation of a fire department occurred in 1885 when some boys threw a stone into a building, at the corner of Fair Oaks and Mills Alley that was being used by Chinese immigrants as a laundry. The stone tipped over a kerosene lamp, starting a fire that burned down the building. The building's owner, Johnny Mills, fought feverishly to stop the fire's growth and prevented it from spreading.

Perhaps considering the great Chicago fire of 14 years earlier, allegedly also started by a kerosene lamp (and Mrs. O'Leary's cow), the City, with some urging by a Dr. H.A. Reid (later a noted local historian), realized that a Fire Department was needed.

On October 8, 1887, after a delay to raise money, the City Trustees passed a resolution authorizing a Fire Department and the office of "Chief" was created. They allocated just over $1,000 to start the Fire Department.

The first Fire Department was simple, at best. The City's Blacksmith Shop built the first two pieces of fire apparatus, a hook and ladder rig and a hose cart. These were put into service on May 1, 1888 and ran out of a temporary station on DeLacey, near the Wiley and Greeley's Livery Stable, which provided the horses for 24 men who were selected to be the Fire Department, with 12 men assigned to each piece of apparatus.

CONTACT: Lisa Derderian, Public Information Officer, (626) 744-7276.



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