George Washington’s Impact on Fire Fighting

Military General, President, and Firefighter? Not many people associate George Washington’s name with firefighting, but our nation’s first president was fighting fires several years before he was elected into office.

In 1774, two years before the American colonies declared independence, George Washington joined the Alexandria Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter. In 1775 Washington purchased the town’s very first fire engine.

According to the FASNY Fire Museum, after Washington was elected president he would reportedly visit various local fire companies to inquire about developments in apparatus and speak with firemen.

Not much information remains about Washington’s involvement with the Alexandria Fire Department; however, we do have the following graphics. The image on the left depicts a young Washington pulling a fire pumper, while the image on the right belongs to a mural in Cambridge, depicting the firefighters of Engine Company No. 5. George Washington is pictured holding a pail to commemorate the time he spent in Cambridge during the revolution, and in recognition of his service as a volunteer firefighter in Virginia.

GW Old

GW Mural

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One comment on “George Washington’s Impact on Fire Fighting

  1. I am a tremendous admirer of George Washington. I am a retired Los Angeles City high school teacher, and I taught US History for 38 years. I am continuing to learn more amazing information about our Founding Father.

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