Brookfield Fire Department Contributes Its Intelligent Team.

Specially written for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.


Brookfield, Mo., has an excellent fire department dating back as far as 1885, when the first fire company was organised, and all that the city had in the way of a water system was a four-inch main laid from the railway station up Main street, as far as Wood street. To this main the fire company, when its services were called for, made connections. In 1887 the company was reorganised, and John Ziehr was appointed chief. He held the office for five years, and brought the company forward to be one of the best in the State—a position which the department has held ever since. In 189a Fred Notrott became chief, and three years afterwards was succeeded by L. M. Mettler, whom George Ziehr followed the next year, to be succeeded in 1900 by bred Notrott, who in 1903 gave way to L. M. Mettler. Chief Mettler, the “North Missouri Boomer,” has had a long and successful experience in fire service. At thirteen years of age he was a torchboy in the old New York city fire department. He organised the Carrollton, Mo. fire department, and on removing to Brookfield, at once joined the fire department, of which he has twice been elected chief. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Engineers, and is an expert firefighter. The assistant chief of the department is C. O. Alspach, an active and zealous member of the department of four years’ standing. The secretary, John Ziehr, organiser and first chief of the department. is the man who as organiser, chief and secretary has done so much to enhance the reputation of the Brookfield department for efficiency and general all round excellence. Treasurer E. G. Chapman is probably the oldest fireman in the State. His experience in firefighting dates away hack many years to the days when he was a member of a fire company in Kingston, Out. As a Brookfield fireman, his enrollment dates hack to 1888. He has been a member ever since, and is conspicuous for regularity at his attendance at fires and drills. He rarely misses either. As treasurer, he has served the department for many years. Foreman John W. Powell has been for four years a member of the department, and in that capacity has bad charge of the famous team “Rick” and “Fred.” horses which he has trained so highly as to be second only to the famous Kansas City team, “Buck” and “Mack,” with which, as with their Brookfield rivals. Foreman Powell will be associated at the World’s Fair, St. l-ouis, and, after the Exposition is over, will tour the world with them. Brookfield is a town of about 5,500 inhabitants, and has a fire area of nearly 2,000 acres. Its fire department consists of fourteen members,’ of whom twelve are volunteers, Chief Mettler being proprietor of the Brookfield Iron works, one of the leading local industries. The equipment of the department, with buildings, is valued at $4,000, and is as follows: Hand chemical extinguishers, two; hose carts, two; hose, cotton, rubber-lined, good, 1,500 feet; fire alarm, telephone and electric. The underwriters’ rating of the department is third-class; the average annual fire loss for three years has been $4,700; the average insurance for the same time, $3,966. There are forty-twO hydrants, set on six miles of cast iron main, ten-inch to six-inch; the fire pressure being sixty pounds. What brings the fire department in particular and Brookfield in general before the eyes of the world is its team, “Fred” and “Rick,” already alluded to, which, as one of the quickest hitching teams in existence, is second only to “Buck” and “Mack” of worldwide fame as recordbreakers under George C. Hale, former chief of the Kansas City, Mo., fire department, and now chief of the department attached to the St. Louis Fair. How Chief Hale toured Europe with these horses in 1900, and there, as well as on this continent, outdid the exploits of every team on that continent, is a matter of history. Next to it come “Fred” and “Rick,” of Bfookfield, so named in honor of Mayor Richard Bowden of that city and former and first Chief Fred. Nortrott. That these horses are the wonderful animals they arc acknowledged to be is due to the marvelous patience and skill bestowed upon their training by Foreman John W. Powell, of the local fire department, than whom it is probably impossible to find a finer trainer in the world. The horses not only understand every word he speaks to them, but, also, make signs to Driver Powell, of which only he and they know the meaning. Chief Mettler has taken care to advertise them well, as in whatever town he sojourns he seeks out the fire department, and asks for a trial run of the fire team. In no single instance has he found one to heat his own. The fame of these horses came to the ears of Chief Hale, and on the principle of can-any-thing-good-come-out-of-Brookfield, he visited that place, and found that his “Buck” and “Mack” had found worthy competitors. The outcome was, that he bargained for an exhibition of the horses at the St. Louis Fair, with Foreman Powell to accompany them at $100 a month and expenses, and, on the closing of the Exposition, to start with Chief Hale, “Dan” and “Charley,” “Buck” and “Mack,” the Kansas City horses, and the Brookfield “Rick” and “Fred,” besides the Midget ponies, on a tour round the world. Thus Brookfield awakes to find herself famous, as the owner of the best fire team but one in the world.

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