Warren Engine — the company you keep
“Where Duty Calls – There You’ll Find Us.”
The above is the motto for Carson City’s Warren Engine Company No. 1. If you think about it, it’s a motto to apply to the newspaper as well.
From our point of view, our duty is to keep readers informed and to act as a repository for the community’s history. We do this daily and often with the help of our readers.
Tom Young, a Carson City resident for the past 52 years, is one of the many who have helped us to keep the names and faces of our community in our memories.
Young, a member of the Warren Engine Company No. 1 since 1954, remembers Emil Marques as a quiet, husky fellow who used to like to be in the parade pulling the hose cart.
“He was kind of a quiet person,” Young said Wednesday. “I don’t know that much about him.”
But Young did remember his face and his name. Young found Marques in a photo on page 94 of Carson Discoveries, the 2003 almanac published by the Nevada Appeal last month. Marques was the only face we couldn’t identify, so Young called to set the record straight.
In the photo of the company members taken in about 1953, Marques is kneeling between Harry Sweetland and Ross Morris in the front row.
Young said he is not sure if Marques is still around Carson City. Give me a call 881-1261 if you know of him.
Young joined the fire company June 10, 1954 and is member No. 165 to this day, though at age 75 he is exempt from fighting fires.
A longtime Carson City businessman, old timers may remember stopping by Gilbert and Young’s Union Service Station at Fifth and Carson streets and asking Young to fill ‘er up.
Young said there were about 2,500 people living in Carson City when he moved from Minden.
“You could fire a cannon down the street and hit no one,” he said. “Packs of dogs ran the streets; you maybe would have hit them. But things got real quiet at 6 o’clock.”
After closing his service station, near where the Legislative Building is now, Young went to work for the U.S. Post Office and then opened Capital Petroleum, a bulk fuel plant on Stewart Street between Seventh and Eighth streets. He later sold the plant to Carson Valley Oil.
Young said he doesn’t remember the last fire he fought, but does remember fighting a New Year’s Eve fire in the Nugget’s warehouse one year, a fire at Copeland Lumber another New Year’s Eve, the fire at Carson-Tahoe Hospital and the White House Hotel.
State Archivist Guy Rocha said the hotel was at Fifth and Carson streets before it burned in 1964 and was used, in part, as a storage facility for state records, which were lost in the fire.
“It burned down in the winter,” recalled Young. “It was cold. It was colder than a billy goat’s tail. Everything was freezing. Louie Nelson and I went up the back stairs. He got to the top that looked down into the lobby. I told him ‘Louie, I don’t think you should go any farther out there.’ I thought it was burning underneath. The center fell down and he said ‘I think we’d better get outta here.'”
At the Nugget warehouse fire, he and Bill Berning were trapped between the roof and the burning building when the center beam of the roof collapsed.
“I hollered bloody murder and ‘Shorty’ (George) Gibson got us out.
“Bill was wearing a nice new gray suit — it was New Year’s — but his suit wasn’t worth much by the time we got out.”
When Copeland Lumber burned, Young was at his oil plant.
“I was hosing things down to keep it from catching fire. The burning embers were flying.”
The Carson City Fire Department Web site — http://www.carson-city.nv.us/CCFD/weco/1.htm — says the volunteer firefighting company was organized June 17, 1863. The company is the oldest volunteer fire company west of the Mississippi River. And nationwide, it may be the oldest continuously operated fire company, having provided uninterrupted service to this community since its inception. The company adopted its name from the Revolutionary War hero, Gen. Warren. To learn more visit the fire museum at Fire Station No. 1, 777 S. Stewart St.
The engine company is still an all-volunteer organization that assists, trains, and works beside other firefighters and paid personnel of the Carson City Fire Department when called to duty.
Kelli Du Fresne is features editor for the Nevada Appeal.