170 Years of Bravery
In 1846, eight Volunteer Memphis Firemen, serving under the first paid fire chief, formed the first “Independent Fire Company #1.” They were not pleased with the original “Little Vigor” fire engine, so they purchased a better machine and named it the “Pinch.” Two years later, in 1848, a second engine company was formed and called “Eagle Fire Company #2.” “Liberty #3” followed in 1849, and so on. So many fire companies began to trigger fierce competition as a reaction to the City of Memphis award of an extra $15.00 to the first company to throw water on a fire. Insurance companies paid the fire company that put the fire out. The result of this arrangement was violence, including sabotage of fire equipment among the competing companies. Some firefighters were actually recruited for their fighting abilities to protect the equipment, thus, the first side-line job created for Memphis Firemen!
The Fire Museum of Memphis is proud to fly the MFD Anniversary Flag, celebrating 170 years of Memphis Firefighting Bravery!