Chief Hoyt of Cheyenne.
The fire service of Cheyenne, Wyo., makes interesting reading, seeing that a short time ago the city was but a straggling hamlet, while today it is one of the most progressive places in the western section of the country. Then it had a fire department consisting of a few volunteers equipped with buckets and fire extinguishers, while at the present time it is supplied with the most modern apparatus and tools for fire extinguishment. Ten years ago, when the population of Cheyenne was about 15.000. it had a fairly good fire department equipment consisting of a steamer, two combination wagons, a hook and ladder truck, Gamewell fire alarm system of ten boxes and 5,000 feet of hose. Since that time the department has improved in proportion to the increase in population, even to providing a Webb automobile for the chief, ar. illustration of which is shown herewith.
When Chief P. S. Hoyt arrived in Cheyenne it was little more than a sparsely populated western village. Everything was in a very crude condition, the buildings were mostly of w’oodeti construction, and the Indians were playing havoc with property on the outskirts by their carelessness in dealing with fire. He soon took in the situation, accepted the position of chief and set about the troublesome task of fire prevention and the establishment of a fire department to cope with the conditions then existing. Chief Hoyt is now very proud of his work and the people feel they are well protected as long as he remains at the head of the service. Not long ago the principal fires to he extinguished were those occurring in the temporary shacks on the ranches. It is recorded that on one occasion, while returning from one of these “conflagrations,” about a mile from the town, a volunteer fireman in charge of the jumper drawn by a buffalo team, nearly lost his life. The jumper was the only piece of apparatus in service at that time. It was an ordinary 2-wheel dump cart, equipped with two 5-gallon extinguishers, and it appears that the team drawing it became unmanageable and could not be made to move notwithstanding the severest urging that had to be used. Eventually the animals lay down and no human effort could stir them. In this dilemma a stampede of cattle took place and only for the foresight of the cowboys in heading the herd off, the whole fire department was doomed to obliteration. An automobile at that time would certainly have made the occurrence impossible. An illustration of the jumper and team is given herewith. Chief Hoyt was well known in New York City before he went west. In certain places in Manhattan where he visited every day he was always welcome. A desire, however, to join the cowboy cavalcade prompted him to try western life and he now feels well satisfied with the experience. He has made an excellent head of the fire department, besides being an enterprising and fearless citizen. A short time ago Chief Hoyt visited his old haunts in New York where he was well received by a large number of his old friends and while here was entertained by a representative of this journal.