A good read from TMJ 4 in Milwaukee this morning provides us with the long interesting history at Milwaukee’s Engine Company 1’s quarters which has had its doors open since 1872. Â As with any firehouse there are stories of triumph and tragedy. Â Take the time to read up on this firehouse and its history.
“If you ever drive downtown, you have probably seen Engine House One, tucked in between a parking lot and the Milwaukee Athletic Club near the corner of Broadway and Wells. If it’s summer, you’ve probably seen the guys sitting outside with the garage door open. You should say hi, they like that.Â
Engine House One has been at that corner since 1872, 11 years after the Milwaukee Fire Department was incorporated, going from volunteer to a full time paid department. It housed both Engine One and Ladder One, responding to fires primarily downtown.”
“When I asked if the place was haunted, one of the men laughed and said “Yeah, I still hear Chief Foley coming up the stairs.” Chief James Foley was one of the first Milwaukee Fire Department Chiefs and was set up in Station One. Chief Foley, along with three other firefighters, Captain Andrew White, Pipeman Thomas Droney and Truckman Edward Hogan, suffocated while sleeping in their beds at Engine House One. They had responded to an acid spill where they inhaled toxic fumes on February 3rd, 1903. According to one story, Chief Foley bet his men $100 that he would not live through the night. Unfortunately, he won. “
“Engine House One still handles mostly downtown calls, but they go where they’re needed.Â They were first on the scene for the O’Donnell Park tragedy.Â They were at the Pizza Man fire and the Falk Corporation Explosion in 2006.Â They responded to the plane that crashed in Lake Michigan carrying six people and several transplant organs. They also handle the Summerfest grounds and most calls on the Hoan Bridge.”
“Most fire stations are located within residential areas; however, that’s what makes Engine House One different. When I asked the guys what they liked about working out of this particular house, they talked about downtown and the community that comes along with it. When they started talking about their jobs, you could tell no one loved what they did more than these guys. When they see their friends complaining about Mondays, they count themselves lucky. Firefighter St. John tells me he hasn’t had aÂ MondayÂ in 18 years.”…Continue Reading Here