With war on the horizon in Europe and only a small standing Army, Congress enacted the draft and
federalized the National Guard.  With thousands of men being drafted, sixteen training camps for the
National Army and a like amount for the National Guard were constructed.  In addition, other facilities,
depots, airfields and staging areas would be needed.  Modernization of existing Army forts would also take
place.  With construction underway, the Quartermaster Corps soon realized the great danger from fire in
the hundreds of wooden buildings and made provisions for camp fire departments.  Fire stations were
constructed in troop housing areas, warehouse storage areas and at the camp hospital.  The stations were
one story, had single or double bays with living quarters for the firefighters located to the rear of the

The Army established two types of military fire fighting companies to provide fire protection at its
installations during the war. " Fire Truck and Hose Companies" were formed at National Army and National
Guard cantonments and other important facilities.  The soldiers of these companies had but one duty, to
man the fire stations and fire apparatus at the cantonments.  "Guard and Fire Companies" were
established at smaller Army installations, depots and storage areas.   These units provided both fire
protection and security at the facility.

At most camps, a civilian fire department was formed to provide fire protection during the construction of
the installation.  Fire apparatus used by this department was often purchased from nearby fire departments
or apparatus that had already been delivered to the camp by the QMC.  Once the fire stations were built
and the camp fire department organized, the civilian department was disbanded.  In many cases, the
civilian fire chief during construction was offered a commission in the Army to stay on and head the
operation of the camp fire department.  At Camp Upton, NY, a battalion chief, loaned by the City of New
York, was commissioned and made Camp Fire Chief.  He directed a force of forty-two soldiers, all former
New York City firefighters.
Organization of the camp fire department started with the appointment of a Fire Marshal by the Camp Commander.  Fire
Marshals held the rank of Captain or 1st Lieutenant.  Officers with some background in firefighting were often chosen to head
the camp fire department.  Firefighters were drafted from units within the camp and assigned to the department.  As with Fire
Marshals, doughboys with experience in big city fire departments were chosen to help fill the ranks.  A Sergeant First Class
was in charge of each fire station with a Private First Class acting as driver of the equipment.  Army privates made up the
force of firefighters.  
The Quartermaster Corps was in charge of purchasing fire apparatus used by the US Army during WWI.  Equipment was
produced by several manufactures.  American LaFrance delivered over 200 fire engines of several types and Howe produced
over 160 fire trucks built on the Ford Model T chassis.  Ahrens-Fox delivered some 18 rigs for the war effort and Seagrave
produced 12.  White and Brockway also delivered rigs to the Army.  Some fire equipment used by camp fire departments was
homebuilt.  Fort Meade had on it's roster an Indian motorcycle with sidecar.  During the war some camps had horse drawn
fire equipment on their rosters.
Many of the American LaFrance and Ford-Howe fire trucks saw service in France during the war.  These rigs were manned
by Doughboy firefighters which were deployed from stateside camps.  The Army also used fire engines that were procured
from French fire departments.

As a means of reporting fires at stateside camps, telephone call boxes were mounted on telephone poles throughout the
camp.  These phones were tied directly to the Headquarters fire station where a watch was maintained 24 hours a day.  
Automatic  alarms from warehouse sprinkler systems also fed into fire headquarters.  Many camps also maintained an alarm
system between fire stations for prompt dispatch of equipment.

When the war ended, the military firefighting companies were demobilized and the operation of the camp fire departments
came under the control of the Post Engineer at each facility.  Civilian firefighters took the place of the military personnel at
many camps while others maintained combined crews of civilian and military.  Some camps, such as Camp Meade
maintained military firefighters until the start of World War II.
Camp Pike, AK
1918 Ahrens-Fox 750 gpm
AF Reg # 758
Great photo of the Camp Knox
Headquarters Fire Station    
Thanks to Jim for the photo.
One of the 1918 AmLaFr Type  40  
pumpers delivered to the Army.  This
unit served in France during the war
Camp Lee, VA
1819 Ford-Buckeye at Base Hospital
Camp Mills, NY
1918 Dodge-Pirsch Chem Car & 1918 AmLaF
Camp Custer, MI
1918 AmLaFr Type 75 pumpe
Camp Funston, KS
1918 Dodge-Pirsch Chemical Car
used by the US Army during WWI
Camp Devens, Mass
1918 AmLaFr & 1918 Seagrave

Two modified 1918 Dodge-Pirsch Chem Cars
Camp Holabird, MD

1917 Ford-Buckeye & 1918 AmLaFr
Camp Lewis, WA
Camp Funston, KS
1917 Ford-Buckeye pumpers
WW I view of the Base Hospital Fire Station
Camp Custer
1917 Ford-Buckeye
Fort Ben Harrison, IN
1917 Ford-Buckeye, Camp Grant, IL
Fort Meyer, VA, 1918 AmLaFr
1918 Ahrens-Fox 750 gpm Model K-4.  
OReg. 671. Port of Embarkation, NJ
A pair of 1917 Ford-Buckeyes
Camp Custer, MI
1918 AmLaFr, Fort Sheridan
1917 Ford-Buckeyes, Camp Lee, VA
1918 AmLaFr Type 40, Camp Custer
Fire Department operated by the
constructing contractor at Camp Custer,
FT&HC 310
1918 AmLaFr Type 75, Base Hospitall
Camp Merritt, NJ
Equipment lineup at Rock Island Arsenal
1918 Ahrens-Fox and Dodge-Pirsch
chemical wagon, Camp Sherman

1918 Ahrens-Fox & 1917 South Bend pumper
Camp Knox 1919
1918 AmLaFr Type 40  Reg 2377  Rig served at Camp Perry, OH
Rig owned by John Lytle
1917 Ford-Buckeye
US Army, Tours, France
Sept 1919
1918 Ahrens-Fox from Camp
Taylor, KY
Sent in by Steve Hagy
Pirsch hose wagon
Rock Island Arsenal
1917 Ford-Buckeyes at Camp Funston, KS
1917 Ford-Buckeye, Camp Upton, NY
1917 American LaFrance, Camp Dix, NJ
Headquarters, Fire Station No. 1
1918 AmLaFr Type 75 pictured at Camp Eustis
Thanks go out to Bobby for the photo
1917 Ford-Buckeye & 1918 Brockway LaFrance
Hospital Station Camp Sherman
1917 American LaFrance Camp Dix, NJ
Headquarters, Fire Station No. 1
Partial view as original photo measures 12x14
From the SMH Collection 2011
World War I
The above photos were sent in by Jim Mauch and show the military firefighters and equipment at Camp Taylor, Fire
Truck and Hose Company # 309.  Jim's grandfather, Levi Ferguson was a member of the fire department at Camp Taylor
and can be seen at the wheel of the 1917 Ford-Howe pictured directly above.  That photo was taken in Nov 1917.
Thank you Jim for sending in the photos.
Fort Sill, OK, 1920
1918 Robinson 600 gpm pumper for the
US Quartermaster Corp.
Fire Department operated by the constructing
contractor at Camp Devens before the 301st Fire
Truck and Hose Company was organized.
1917 Ford-American LaFrance
Double Chemical Tank
Chanute Field, IL
1918 American LaFrance, Camp Dix, NJ
Fire Station No.2
From the SMH Collection 2010
1918 American LaFrance
Camp Dix Fire Station No. 3
From the SMH Collection 2010
American LaFrance from Fire Station No. 2
Camp Dix
From the SMH Collection 2010
1917-18 Ford-Boyer
Chemical & Hose Car
Fire Station #3 Camp Devens Dec 1918
Constructing contracter fire department at
unknown Army Camp using 1917
Ford-Buckeye QMC pumper.
Fire Truck & Hose Company No. 303 Camp Dix
Brockway-LaFrance Chemical & Hose Car
Camp Dix Fire Station No. 5  1 May 1919
From the SMH Collection 2011
1918 Dodge-Pirsch Chemical Car
Camp Dix Fire Station No. 4
From the SMH Collection 2011
1918 Seagrave
Carlisle Barracks PA
Chanute Field Fire Station and Guard House, WWI
US Army Fort Logan, CO
1918 American LaFrance Type 40, USA 50561
4 April 1928
From the SMH Collection 2011
US Quartermaster Corps Cairns
High Eagle Leather Helmet
World War I era
From the SMH Collection 2011
U.S. Army American LaFrance First Size
Metroplitan Steamer 1904-1909
Wisconsin Historical Society Image WHi-74650
Camp Travis Fire Station No. 3
White & Ford-Howe pumpers
Camp Upton, NY 1917 Ford-Buckeye
Manned by draftes from the FDNY.
Fire Truck & Hose Company #319
Headquarters, Fire Station #2
Gievres, Loire et Cher, France  7 Jan 1919
Camp Johnson, FL, WWI
Fire Trucks at War
Fort McHenry Fire Protection
camp lee
Class 1500
Camp Dix