Fire Horses

The next innovation, in 1894, was the acquisition of fire horses to pull the hose wagons. Men had pulled the engines and hose carts by hand, and it was not unusual for a man to be injured or even run over by a wheel.

Newburgh's first fire horse was named "Old Skate." 10 year-old Edith Miller composed a poem about the horse:

Old Skate is a good old horse,
He runs to all fires, of course;
When the alarm rings he runs so fast
That soon on the fire a stream of water is cast.

When the bell rings in the stable,
And all the boys run from the dinner table,
With Charlie Sears in the seat so steady,
Old Skate is always ready.

Yet strong trained horses served a relatively short tenure in Newburgh fire service. In June 1907 the tragic wreck of the Brewster Hook and Ladder truck killed two of the three matched dapple grey fire horses in that company.

Fire Horse Team

The eager team of fire horses that day did not wait for their driver to climb aboard but bolted out the firehouse door and raced across and down Broadway. The 7,200 pounds of truck behind them forced them into the poles at the foot of Broadway, and two of the horses were crushed to death. That incident brought on the end of horse-drawn fire wagons in Newburgh.