Fire Departments & Equipment
Bay City Fire Department (late 1880s)
Fire fighters have always played an important role in a community. Perhaps their most difficult period was during the 1800s when structures were made mainly from wood and fire fighting equipment was quite limited. The downtown buildings provided fire fighters with the most concern as a fire in one building could quickly spread to the close by very rapidly wiping out several structures. While fire fighters led the way, citizens were actively involved in helping to put out fires during that time.
Early structures were heated primarily with furnaces fueled by wood. It wasn't uncommon for hot cinder exhausted through the chimney to be the source of many fires.
While today's fire fighters seldom have to deal with the same conditions of the early fire departments, they are faced with their own set of challenges dealing with the difficulty of skyscrapers, industrial chemical, automobile accidents, and the explosive power of gas or oil heating systems.