Fire Buffs promote the general welfare of the fire and rescue service and protect its heritage and history. Famous Fire Buffs through the years include New York Fire Surgeon Harry Archer, Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and - legend has it - President George Washington.

Ready to roll from Springfield Fire Headquarters on North Fountain Avenue

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


On Dec. 28, 1900, fire destroyed Hamma Divinity Hall, a seminary, and low water pressure delayed the firefighters' assault on the flames.

According to an article in the next day's Times newspaper in Washington, D.C., firefighters rescued three students. All the others were at home for the holidays.

The blaze started in a furnace "and by the time the students noticed it the chapel on the first floor was in a blaze," the Times newpaper said. "Efforts to put it out with buckets were fruitless, as the smoke was suffocating."

Underscoring the rapid spread of the flames, the newspaper said Oliver McWilliams, of Montgomery, Pennsylvania, "tried to get out of his room, but was forced back by the smoke." John Sweeter, of Curlsville, Pennsylvania, "was rescued from a second-story window." C.A. Hackenburg, of Pittsburgh, "escaped by crawling out on the rear part, where the firemen took him down."

The seminary - located on the grounds of Wittenberg University, then called Wittenberg College - was rebuilt in 1901.