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Spokane's First Professional Fire Fighters

Spokane's first professional fire station opened in 1890. Spokane City Preservation Office.

The Spokane City Historic Preservation Collection includes a photograph of Spokane’s first fire station. Featured in the image are several firemen with the station’s horse and buggy. What one may not realize is significant about the picture, taken in 1890 of Spokane’s Firehouse #1, is that it captures a shift in the priorities of the city. The summer of 1889 was regionally very dry and resulted in major fires throughout the Pacific Northwest. The Great Fire – as it is known in Spokane - began on August 4, 1889. By the time the fire was out, it consumed more than thirty blocks and decimated the city’s downtown. Spokane did not employ professional firefighters in 1889. The men fighting the flames during that terrible August were volunteers. The 1890 photograph showcases crew members who were some of Spokane’s first paid firefighters. The horse-drawn wagon method was the transportation method used in Spokane to combat fires until 1910. There is an array of photographs, such as this one, contained within the Spokane City Historic Preservation Collection which depict the visual clues to Spokane’s history.

You can see this image and many others in the Spokane City Preservation Office collection

Written by Elena Axton