Monday, June 23, 2008
IN THE BEGINNING
In 1894, a man named William Nelson published an account of firefighting in Paterson, New Jersey, in the years before the Civil War entitled "Records of the Paterson Fire Association 1821-1854.''
The subtitles of Nelson's book were ``With the Laws Relating to the Association'' as well as ``Accounts of Fires and other Matters of Interest, From Contemporary Newspapers.''
In the introduction, Nelson said: ``No record is known of the first organization in Paterson to combat fire. It is believed, however, that Engine Co. No. 1 was formed about 1815.'' In doing his research, Nelson said ``a careful search through the records of Paterson from 1815 to 1819 has brought to light'' only a two brief items related to fires.
The first was an account of a blaze at the residence on the inventor Samuel Colt, who lived at 120 Market Street, on Dec. 31, 1815. The second was about a fire in late June or early July 1819 at the home of John Amens. The Colt residence was saved. The Amens residence was not.