Fire Chief Victor H. Veit, Chief of the department for 33 years, got his start in 1896, just around the corner from his job at Yale & Towne. “It was a little old barn,” recalled the Chief. George Walton was Captain, and nobody was on duty. The station had a “hose carriage which firemen pulled by hand and 500 ft. of 2-1/2″ hose. It listed about 10 men.”
“When I started, call men received the vast sum of $12.00 per year. If one of these men didn’t show up for a blaze he was fined $1.00,” said Chief Veit.
Events & Accomplishments During Chief Veit’s Tenure:
- Purchased Engine 4, an American LaFrance triple combination hose, pumper and chemical Engine (1922).
- Construction of a modern drill tower, directly in back of Central Fire Station.
- A machine shop was built in Station #1.
- Firefighter Thomas Meehan died after being thrown from the apparatus when it collided with another vehicle (1945).
- A new 600-gallon triple combination engine was purchased for Station #2 (1937).
- A new 1000 GPM Ahrens-Fox paper was purchased for Station #2, but it was too wide for the doors, so it was assigned to Central (1938).
- The 56 hour “Short Work Week” was started (1950).
- A new two-way radio system was established (1954).