When the Gong Rings
A Fire History of Charleston, Illinois


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CHARLESTON FIRE DEPARTMENT FIRST PAID PROFESSIONAL CREW


 

44

 

VOLUNTEER TRADITION ENDS IN 1941

Charleston often pondered the idea of having a full-time paid fire department. As with other big decisions, such as purchasing modern equipment, the idea did not jell until 1941. Alvin "Doc" Wright joined the department in 1931, as an un-reimbursed volunteer. He would become chief of the first full-time paid department in 1941. "Doc" Wright left a scrapbook of clippings and photos of the first department. The pictures were taken by the late Lee Lynch. Members of that department included: Frank Kincade, Assistant Chief; John Turner; Sam Wilkins; Arthur McMorris; and Jess Howard. The clippings indicate no great fires. In 1942 another grain elevator would burn. Things would be relatively peaceful and uneventful as far as fire disasters in Charleston for the last volunteers and the first paid department.

 

THE FIRST PICTURE taken of Charleston's first paid fire dept.-- taken by Lee Lynch, Daily News Reporter one morning in the first part of Sept., 1941.  From left: John Turner, Jess Howard, Frank Kincade (Asst. Chief), Arthur Mc Morris, Alvin Wright (Chief), and on the right, Sam Wilkins. These pictures and the comments about them are from Chief Wright's scrapbook, October, 1941.


 

       PROGRAM OF THE

             SEVENTEENTH

ILLINOIS FIRE COLLEGE

FIRE PREVENTION, CONTROL, AND EXTINGUISHMENT

June 10, 11, 12, 13

1941

University of Illinois


                                   Urbana - Champaign

               Held under the Direction of

             Illinois Firemen's Association

                                                                           Incorporated

R. W. ALSIP, Champaign,

Secretary L. H. PROVINE,

       Urbana, Director of Fire College                                                    


 

 

 

ATTENDING the 1941 Illinois Fire College were: Chief Alvin Wright, 1 1/2 days; Assistant Chief Frank Kincade, 2 days; T.E. Rennels, 2 days; John Turner, 1 1/2 days; A.N. Mc Morris, 1 day; Sam Wilkins, 1 day. The men would often travel to Champaign in the Chief's car.


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