Charleston Discovers Old Fire Record
A research worker discovered a news item that shows that fire protection in Charleston, S. C., dates back much earlier than Chief Louis Behrens realized. The item was printed September 7, 1734, concerning a contemplated purchase of fire apparatus. The paid fire department developed 150 years later. The news account is as follows:
“This is to give notice that I, John Wilson, have left a very good fire engine with John Laurens Sadler of Charleston to be sold (for use by said town) by subscription; about eighty pounds is already subscribed, and the price of the whole is two hundred and seventy pounds. Any person that has a mind to encourage the keeping of so beneficial an instrument, may apply to the said John Laurens who has the subscription list and the said engine to be viewed, and has also engaged besides his subscription, to keep the engine in repair, and upon all occasions to have it ready and in order to be used.”
It is presumed that the subscription price was raised and thus Charleston’s first fire engine was bought in English money in 1734.