Steam Fire Engine

A man before his time in Stamford.  Yes.. the big fire did happen several years later, and it changed everything, albeit a little late.

CHIEF SKELDING, of Stamford, Conn., has been having a lively scrimmage with the authorities of that town relative to the purchase of a Steam Fire Engine. Chief Skelding is an old New York Fireman, and knows the requirements of the service in his town. A petition, signed by a large number of citizens, was presented to the Burgesses asking that a town meeting be called to vote on the question of buying the Steamer. The Burgesses called the meeting, but passed a resolution declaring that a Steamer was not necessary. They also published a card calling upon all opposed to the purchase to attend the meeting and vote down the proposition. At the meeting Chief Skelding explained the necessity for greater fire protection, gave an estimate of the cost, and stated that the hand Engines in service were “so rotten he could pick them to pieces with his thumb.” Although many of the taxpayers favored the proposition. it was finally voted to postpone the whole subject, and the Stamford Firemen will be expected to fight fire with their rotten old Engines for some time to come. But Chief Skelding is a persevering man, and not likely to give up the fight with his first defeat. A good, rousing fire in Stamford would probably wake up the authorities there to a realization of their exposed condition.

— Fire & Water Magazine, December 7, 1878