George LeMoyne constructed the first town hall, a two-story brick building on the north side of Oak (Wall) Street. In the rear of the building, a modern tower, thirty feet high, hung a bell with two ropes suspended, reaching the ground. When fire was discovered, it was the duty of the person finding it to run to the tower, grab both ropes and ring the bell until all able-bodied citizens were awake and out for duty with blankets, ladders and rope. The only water available was the well on Pine Street, immediately east of Orange Avenue, and the well on Central Avenue on the courthouse grounds
ORLANDO ESTABLISHES FIRST VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
MAJOR DOWNTOWN FIRE DESTROYS BUSINESS DISTRICT
ORLANDO FIRE DEPARTMENT ESTABLISHED, JOHN WEEKS APPOINTED 1ST OFFICIAL FIRE CHIEF
WILLIAM C. SHERMAN APPOINTED 2ND FIRE CHIEF
JOHN W. GETTIER APPOINTED 3RD FIRE CHIEF.
FIRST FIRE ENGINE PURCHASED
FIRST TOWN HALL BUILT WITH FIRE ALARM SYSTEM
MECHANICS HOSE AND ENGINE CO. #2 ESTABLISHED
SIX VOLUNTEER COMPANIES BEGAN USING THE NAME “ORLANDO FIRE DEPARTMENT”
CONCERNS RAISED OVER NEED FOR FIRE PROTECTION
Mrs. Basset, owner of a hat and dressmaking shop, accidentally set fire to flammable and explosive material in the front part of her store. She had to be forcibly restrained from re-entering the building to help rescue her daughter. Two men, P. Hyer and C. Graves rushed in and rescued the child. This incident inspired William Sherman to start the first volunteer fire department. Sherman was also named as the department’s first Fire Chief. The department consisted of 6 members – WC Sherman, Ben Bartlett, Tom Mann, J Walter Hosier, JW Gettier and Macy. Gettier, Macy and Sherman are known as the Founding Fathers of the Orlando Fire Department. Equipment consisted of a hose, hose reel, bucket brigade and painter’s ladder on a wagon hauled around by hand.
On January 12, the Orange County Reporter newspaper plant was completely destroyed along with DeLaneys Grocery Store, Bassett Millinery Store and Drs. RJ Gillam, Ketcham & Gillam Drug Store. The City started using fire plugs with the establishment of Waterworks at a cost of $2,000/year.
Orlando’s volunteer fire department consisted of “Orlando Hook and Ladder Company No. 1” and “Orlando Hose Company No. 1.” A third volunteer company organized but by July 1885 all three were consolidated into one.
After the Business District fire, a series of articles written by E.H. Gore in the Orange County Reporter detailed concerns over the need for fire protection and how fires had ravaged other Florida cities.
All volunteer companies consolidated under “Mechanics Hose Company No. 1”.
Orlando’s City Council purchased $5,000 fire engine from American-La-France Fire Engine Company.
1883 - 1900
A timeline of the biggest moments in OFD History.