In the early days bucket brigades were formed
using buckets made of leather and rubber which were filled with
water from streams, pond, rain barrels, or where it was available,
and passes to each other until they reached the fire. As early
as 1860, Ada had a hand operated pump mounted on a small steel
wheeled wagon which was 4 ½ ft long, 20 ½ in wide, and 10 ft deep. The
tongue was 5 ½ ft long and made of steel. The pump was of
piston type and had two wooden handles. It was operated by about
four men. It is now at Ghost Town near Findlay.
On March 11, 1874 Ada corporation purchased a steam fire engine
from Silsby Mfg Co for $5,900 payable at $700 a year with 7 percent
interest payable semiannually. Ada was the birthplace of N.O.V.F.A.
in 1874 where the first convention was held, other conventions
were in 1881, 1954, and 1974 in Ada.
On Feb 12, 1883 bonds were issued to pay
for seven wells and cisterns to be used in fighting fires. In
August, 1884 the constitution and by-laws was accepted by the
council which states – This
organization shall consist of two departments, acting together
and shall be known as the Empire Fire Engine and Hose Company.
This company shall not consist of more that 100 nor less than 20
active members. The officers of this company shall consist of a
foreman and assistant foreman, secretary, treasurer, foreman and
assistant fore of hose, and six engineers. These instructions must
be strictly obeyed. The first Chief was Agnew Welsh.
At the Feb 17, 1890 meeting, a committee was appointed to make
arrangements so a team could pull the fire apparatus, also purchase
a coal cart. Coal was purchased for $3.00 a ton, as of March 21,
1898. Council agreed to pay $2.00 for a tem to haul the engine
to and from fires. At the June 19, 1893 meeting, a discussion was
held on combining the three divisions, engine, hose, hook and ladder
company into one body. Consolidation was effected October 30, 1893
and the department renamed Ada Fire Department.
On Jan 21 1895, council granted a request
that firemen be paid $5.00 a year and everything else for the
welfare of the department. In June, 1896, a chemical fire engine
was purchased. At the Nov 15, 1897 meeting Chief S.D. Willard
reported the two engines in good condition, and adjourned to
try out the chemical engine.