Teaching Cleveland

Lesson 10

Handout 2


  1. Be it ordained, &C. That the Fire Department of the City of Cleveland, shall consist of a chief engineer, two assistant engineers, ten fire wardens, in addition to the aldermen and councilmen, (who are ex-officio fire wardens,) and such fire engine men, hose men, hook and ladder and axe men, as are or may from time to time be appointed by the city council.
  2. The chief engineer, or in his absence the assistant engineers, shall, in all cases of fire, have the sole and absolute control over all the engineers, and other persons of the fire department; and it shall moreover be the duty of the chief engineer to report semi-annually to the city council, at their first meeting after the first day of May and October in each year, the condition of the reservoirs, engines, hose, hooks and ladders, and all other fire apparatus, and the buildings in which they are kept; and also to recommend such additions, alterations, and improvements in the same, as he may deem expedient; and also the names of such firemen as have disobeyed orders, or neglected or refused to attend to their duty, and the names of persons recommended by the respective companies to fill vacancies. And whenever the engines or other fire apparatus shall want repairs, he shall, with the committee on the fire department, cause the same to be done immediately.
  3. ...it shall be the duty of said fire wardens, immediately on the alarm of fire, to repair to the place of the fire, and aid and assist in procuring supplies of water to such engines as the chief engineer or other engineers may direct. It shall be the duty of the said wardens to prevent the hose from being trodden on, and keep all idle and suspected persons from the vicinity of the fire. They shall also cause the bye-standers to form ranks for the conveyance of water, if requisite, and the citizens are hereby enjoined to comply with the orders and directions of said wardens.
  4. The different fire companies shall be under the direction and control of the foreman and assistant, and upon the alarm of fire, the said companies shall immediately repair to the place of the fire with the engines, hose, hooks and ladders, and other implements under their care, and there work and manage the same, under the direction of the Chief Engineer and assistants; and in case of their absence place and work their engines and fire apparatus in the most effectual manner, until the fire shall be extinguished....they shall return their respective engines, hose cars, hooks and ladders, and apparatus, well washed and cleansed, to their respective places of deposits.
  5. ....the said firemen shall, on the first Tuesday of each month, meet at their respective engine houses, and on the first Tuesday of May, June, August, September, October and November, draw out their fire engines, and other implements committed to their care, in order to work and cleanse them, and to exercise the men; and every foreman neglecting his duty under this section shall forfeit for each offence the penalty of three dollars.
  6. If any fireman shall neglect or refuse to attend at any meeting of his company for exercising the men, or cleansing the engine or other fire apparatus, to which he is attached, he shall forfeit and pay for every such default, the penalty of fifty cents, unless he be exonerated therefrom by the vote of two-thirds of the company.
  7. If any fireman shall neglect to attend at fires without sufficient excuse, or shall refuse or neglect to do his duty in working his engine, or other fire apparatus provided for the extinguishing of fires, or shall disobey the orders of the chief engineer, assistant engineer, or foreman or assistant fireman of companies, or shall leave his engine or other fire apparatus while at a fire, without permission from the acting foreman, he shall forfeit and pay for every default, the penalty of one dollar, and be subject to be expelled from the fire department.
  8. The sextons of the several churches which are not or hereafter may be furnished with bells, shall immediately on the alarm of fire, repair to the several churches with which they are connected, and diligently ring the bells of said churches, during twenty minutes, and in such a manner as directed by the chief engineer, unless the fire be sooner extinguished, under the penalty of two dollars for every omission.
  9. If any person, having charge of an engine, or other fire apparatus, shall suffer or permit the same to be applied to private use, without the consent of the mayor, chief engineer, or city council, he shall forfeit the penalty of five dollars, besides being responsible for all damages.
  10. Every fireman, (not an officer,) attached to a fire engine, when on duty, shall wear such uniform as shall be required by the bye-laws of the company to which he may belong.
  11. At fires, the said hook and ladder and axe men shall regularly attend with their tools and implements,...shall...cut down and remove any building, erection or fence for the purpose of checking the progress of the fire.
  12. On arriving at the fire with the hose, two men shall remain at the hose car, the other hosemen will repair to the fire engines to which they respectively belong.
  13. The marshal and every constable shall repair...to the place of the fire...for the preservation of the public peace, and for the removal of all idle and suspected persons, or others, not actually or usefully employed in aiding to extinguish such fire....
  14. Every person who may repair to a fire shall be obedient to the orders of the mayor, aldermen, councilmen, fire wardens, the chief engineers, and assistant engineers, in the extinguishing of fires and in the removal of property; and in the case any person shall refuse to obey such orders, he shall forfeit the penalty of five dollars, and be subject to imprisonment forthwith. The citizens and inhabitants shall also, respectively, if the fire happens at night, place a lighted candle or lamp on the front door or window of their dwelling, to remain there during the night, unless the fire be sooner extinguished, under the penalty of two dollars.
  15. Any person willfully offering any hindrance to any fireman in the performance of his duty at a fire, shall be subject to a penalty of twenty-five dollars for each offense.
  16. If any person shall willfully injure, in any manner, any hose, fire engine, or other fire apparatus, belonging to the city, the offender shall for every such offense forfeit and pay the penalty of twenty-five dollars, besides being liable to an action for the recovery of the damage done.

Charter of the City of Cleveland, 1836

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