From the Vault:
One Hundred Years Ago Today-
After the tragic subway fire on January 6, 1915. FDNY Chief Kenlon and the commissioner put their plans for the creation of a new company- a rescue company, on the fast track. Kenlon chose a young captain, John J. McElligott of Ladder 1 to be the first commander. His lieutenant would be Edwin Hotchkiss of Ladder 21, who’d been cited for bravery and leadership at the recent subway fire. McElligott and Kenlon then hand-picked the remaining eight firemen (from hundreds of volunteers) who would become the first rescue men.
The applicants were checked out physically and evaluated for their skills. Being a proven fireman was of course the first critical criteria. Members who also had experience as mechanics, engineers, electricians, iron workers and riggers etc., were given preference. A tough physical and medical exam was given due to the severe work the new company was expected to encounter.
The new men were chosen, announced to the department on Special Order #10 and reported for the beginning of their specialized training. A new era in the fire service was beginning!
Next- the first rescue men. Paul Hashagen-author