Newspaper History presents media sourced from a United States newspaper dating back 108 years.

  • The Fire Alarm

    From the Newark Evening Star, July 8, 1914.

    When riding on their motor trucks
        I see the firemen pass,
    Like soldiers dressed in uniforms
        Of natty blue and brass,
    I think about the volunteers
        Who used, in other days,
    To rally to the fire-alarm
        And battle with the blaze.

    When clanged upon the midnight air
        That sudden summons loud,
    The people tumbled out of bed,
        A wild, excited crowd.
    The barking dogs ran on ahead,
        And shouts and cries arose
    Above the crackle of the flames,
        The hissing of the hose.

    To save a neighbor’s little home
        The axe and hose they plied,
    Until among the cinders black
        The lurid demon died.
    The old red shirts they used to sport
        Are full of moths and holes;
    The men who wore them, too, are dead—
        God rest their gallant souls!

    But still we fear the smoky scourge,
        And tremble with affright,
    When suddenly the fire-alarm
        Blares out upon the night.
    So here’s a tribute from the heart,
        A word of praise for all
    The heroes of the hose and truck
        Who answer to its call.