Linda Webster: Service organization staple in Carson City celebrates 154th birthday
On Saturday, Sept. 17, Warren Engine Company No. 1 Volunteer Fire Company members celebrated the 154th anniversary of Warren Engine Company No. 1 Volunteer Fire Company at the Elks Lodge in Carson City.
Warren Engine Company No. 1, Carson City’s volunteer fire company, was established June 17, 1863, in Carson City, a year prior to Nevada becoming a state. Warren Engine Company No. 1 is said to be the oldest continuously active volunteer fire company west of the Mississippi!
Warren Engine Company No. 1 was the first fire company operating in Carson City, but was soon followed by two more volunteer fire companies, Curry Engine Co. No. 2 and Swift Engine Co. No. 3. As one story goes, at the sound of the fire alarm bell, all three volunteer fire companies raced to the scene of the fire where, often, a fight would break out amongst the three companies as they all tried to get the first water on the fire, thus losing the object on fire it being a house, stable or any other firey object.
Eventually, the Curry and the Swift fire companies both disbanded mainly due to lack of membership. This left Warren Engine Company No. 1 the sole volunteer fire company to cover all of Carson City.
The Steamer fire engine became the fire fighting engine of choice. Few of these steamers still exist for use as demonstration and display. In 1963, Warren Engine Co. No. 1 Volunteer Fire Co. became the Carson City Fire Department with paid fire fighters.
Warren Engine Co. No. 1 Volunteer Fire Company continued as volunteers fighting fires and training until the mid-1990s.
Although no longer fighting fires, Warren Engine Company No. 1 remains active taking care of the Warren Engine Co. No. 1’s Fire Museum located in the Carson City Fire Department’s station at 777 S. Stewart St. and the fire apparatus and other displays which include an 1847 Hunneman Hand Pump Engine, the “Warren,” two hose carts which belonged to the Curry Engine Co. and the Swift Engine Co.; a rare four-wheel hose cart, and two motorized vehicles, a 1913 Seagrave Chemical Engine and a 1927 Seagrave Engine which still is in service. This 1927 Seagrave has been driven in every Nevada Day Parade since the first one; and is also used for other annual festivals and display.
Besides taking care of the museum, the WECO volunteers sell hamburgers and hotdogs at the Nevada State Railroad Museum four times a year — Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July weekend, Labor Day weekend and the Santa Train weekends.
Linda Webster is with Warren Engine Company No. 1, which supports the Fire Department and maintains the Warren Engine Co. No. 1 fire museum, open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays by appointment.