a brief history of warren engine co. no. 1

Warren Engine Co. No. 1 was organized in Carson City, then in Utah Territory, on June 17, 1863.  “Where Duty Calls, There You’ll Find Us,” the motto of Warren Engine Co. No. 1, has stood the test of more than 150 years of service and continues to guide the efforts of one of the oldest continuously serving volunteer fire companies on the West Coast.


The 20 or so residents who organized the company raised about $2,000 and arranged for purchase of a Hunneman hand-pumped fire engine from Marysville, California along with two hose carts and three hundred feet of new fire hose from San Francisco.  The new company’s first test of fire was on August 12, 1863 when fire broke out in the Indian Queen Hotel.  Although two buildings
were destroyed, Warren Engine Co. No. 1 stopped the fire from spreading to other buildings, considered a success at the time.

At about the same time Warren Engine Co. No. 1 was organized, a small group of residents organized a second company, Carson Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1, with a two wheel ladder truck, compliment of ladders, hooks, rope and other tools.  Little is known about
this company that was apparently effective in its firefighting efforts, but disbanded in 1866.


With the patronage of Carson City founder Abe Curry, another fire company was organized on April 20, 1864. Curry Engine Co. No. 2 purchased the former Knickerbocker No. 5 engine from San Francisco and would soon house it in a substantial stone firehouse

built by Curry, that stands today at the corner of Curry and Musser Streets.


It was a matter of pride for a fire company to put “first water” on a blaze, and although rivals for that honor, the three fire companies worked together well to combat the “fire fiend,” protecting Carson City’s frame and masonry structures from flames that could quickly leap from building to building.


In 1873, a citizens committee led by Ormsby County Sheriff Shubal T. Swift raised $4,500 to purchase a steam-powered fire engine from the Silsby Manufacturing Co. in Seneca Falls, New York.  Members from both Warren Engine Co. No. 1 and Curry Engine Co. No. 2 defected from those companies to form Swift Engine Co. No. 3, and local officials divided the Curry firehouse to house the new  steamer.  This, and continual disagreement over how to select a fire chief created a lasting bitterness between the three
rival companies and prevented formation of an organized fire department.

By 1908, both rival Swift Engine Co. No. 3 and Curry Engine Co. No. 2 had ceased to exist as organized fire companies, and the City Trustees requested Warren Engine Co. No. 1 to move into the former Curry firehouse and take control of all of the fire apparatus.

Warren Engine Co. No. 1 has always looked to the future and in 1913 raised funds and successfully lobbied for purchase of a 1913 Seagrave chemical-hosewagon, believed to be the first motorized fire apparatus in the State of Nevada.  Warren Engine Co.
continued its progressive attitude with continual upgrades of newer, better motorized fire apparatus.  It also sought passage of a bond issue for construction of a new firehouse in 1954, and was successful in seeking creation of the Carson City Fire Department in 1964 with a career fire chief and career firefighters.


In addition to its firefighting duties, members of Warren Engine Co. No. 1 have continued the tradition of public service that began in 1863 and today is the steward of the artifacts and historic fire apparatus in the museum at the Carson City Fire Department, reflecting 150 years of dedicated service protecting the life and property of the residents of Carson City.

To read a more complete history of Warren Engine Co. No. 1 and early firefighting in Carson City, obtain a copy of “Where Duty Calls . . . The story of Warren Engine Co. No. 1,” from the Warren Engine Co. No. 1 Museum.