Forman Jacob Allen

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The collapse of burning structures has been the nemesis of many firefighters and residents  throughout history and recognizing the dangers of collapse has been a direct result of learned skills through repetition. Each fire encounter is different. The Dangers are infinite and forever changing.

As the population of the City of Newark grew so did the need for men that would fill the Fire companies that would fight the fires that threatened its citizens. With each conflagration would come a better understanding of the dangers that could and would be encountered at a fire scene. The dangers of collapse would be Newark’s first lesson. Jacob Allen was it’s tragic victim.

As new apparatus were purchased by the city, new fire companies would bloom. Engine 4 was established in 1837. The First apparatus of Laffeyette Engine company #4 was put into service in 1842.

Jacob Allen and His Brother Ludlow built the Second Laffeyette Engine #4. It was put together in their machine shop at 12 James Street after being commisioned in 1852. The New “Philadelphia Style” engine was housed at 19 academy Street and was in service on May 28th 1857. The night Poor Jacob met his demise. Killed in a collapse.

The Allen brothers apparatus would eventually replace the first Engine #4.  His Engine remained in service long after Jacob had past. Technology would change and this too came to pass. Jacob Allen was the first in a group that paid the ultimate price for Newark’s citizens. I am Curious and often wonder how much service his and his brothers apparatus contributed to saving lives and property.

Civilizations throughout history have  learned how bad fire can be. Each  new invention will continue to bring some solutions along with some disastrous effects that firemen would soon have to learn to accept. The fire department will always have to confront the affects of the hidden dangers of technology as well as benefit from its creative problem solving. The variables are all part of the equation.

Building construction and the cities expansion was rapid and confined to 50 by 100 lots that would be too small to keep fire from jumping and spreading. More people brought more disastrous possibilities and the likelihood of disaster looms continuously. The Newark Fire Department has plenty of Line of Duty fatalities to back up this claim and time and technology is no friend to the Firefighter.

In 1862 Newark became the first Fire Department to use horses to pull their engines to the fires. Response times would dramatically change and the dangers the firefighters would encounter would increase. Now every incident was a possible hazard. The future would expose the dangers and new challenges the firefighters would encounter and endure.

The apparatus was moving faster and faster. Horses ran faster than men.    These men hang on to the back of apparatus.  Now just responding to a fire was dangerous and life threatening.  This would become fact as men got thrown as apparatus overturned.  In the decades to come many men who would be lost to responding to the incident than catastrophe’s at the incident.

Engine Company #4 would close it’s doors in February 1985. Dispanded at 127 years. Gone But Not forgotten.

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