FIRST TREASURER OF I. A. F. E.
Ex-Chief Thomas F. Nevins of the City of Brooklyn Fire Department, a Charter Member of the Association, Still Hale and Hearty at Eighty Years of Age
THE first treasurer and a charter member of the Inernational Association of Fire Engineers is a resilent of Brooklyn Borough, New York City, in vigorous health. This is ex-Chief Thomas F. Nevins of the fire department of the city of Brooklyn, N. Y. Chief Nevins believes that he is the last survivor of the charter members of the association. He served as treasurer from its formation in 1873 to 1876. Thomas F. Nevins was born in Ireland and came to America in his infancy. He learned the trade of steam engineer, and at the age of eighteen joined the Hope Hose Company No. 9 of the then volunteer fire department of Brooklyn and speedily rose to foreman. He held this position when, in September, 1869, the paid department was organized, and he was appointed district engineer. Mr. Nevins was made chief of the old Brooklyn fire department on November 12, 1870, at the age of twenty-seven years. He was retired on January 31, 1894. On this occasion he was given a public reception and was presented with a set of resolutions by the fire department, beautifully engraved, six feet high and four feet wide in dimensions, in panel form. These resolusions were signed by Platt Van Colt, James Maguire, treasurer; Frank J. Duffy, foreman and secretary; Thomas J. Nash, assistant foreman and secretary; Clatus Burke, fireman, Committee on Resolutions.
In the nearly twenty-five years of service that Chief Nevins served in the Brooklyn department he saw many changes, He watched the fire forces grow from a small volunteer organization to a large and efficient paid fire department, as it was at his retirement. Mr. Nevins served for twenty years as president of the Brooklyn Association, which organization presented him with a beautifully engraved gold chief’s badge, the inscription on which read:
THOMAS F. NEVINS 1870—Chief Fire Department—1894 Brooklyn, N. Y. 1914
The reverse of the badge had this inscription; “Presented by Members of the Twenty Years’ Veteran Firemen’s Association of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. May 4, 1940.” The Veteran Firemen’s Association of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens erected twenty-three monuments to the men who made the supreme sacrifice in the world war.
Chief Nevins at the age of eighty years is full of energy and vigor, both mentally and physically, and in these respects would bear favorable comparison with many men several years his junior. He is still an active member of the International Association of Fire Engineers.