In celebration and reflection of the Departmentâ€™s 125 years of service to the community, the Pasadena Fire Department will be featured in the 125th Anniversary of the Tournament of Roses Parade with the Mayorâ€™s Entry.
The Mayor and his family will ride atop a 1952 Seagrave driven by thirdÂ generation Pasadena Firefighter, Mike Maas. Mike is currently a Battalion ChiefÂ assigned to the Training Division. The Maas family has a combined 92 years ofÂ service with the Pasadena Fire Department. The 1952 Seagrave served in theÂ City of South Gate from 1952-1975 before it was sold to a private party in 1975.
It features a five-speed manual transmission, 1,000 gallons per minute â€œwaterousÂ pump,â€ vacuum assist hydraulic brakes and the loudest non-electric siren made.
The 1952 Seagrave will also be accompanied by the Pasadena FireÂ Departmentâ€™s 1909 Seagrave, housed in the museum at Fire Station 31 on SouthÂ Fair Oaks Avenue. It is the oldest running piece of fire equipment west ofÂ the Mississippi. Featured on this entry will be 97-year old Engineer Jason Fields,Â the oldest retired Pasadena Firefighter. It will be driven by retiredÂ Pasadena Fire Engineer, Ken Woolsey.
The third entry will be a Los Angeles County Fire Steamer, a replica of theÂ Pasadena Fire Departmentâ€™s first Steamer that donned the Parade route in theÂ late 1890â€™s. It is on loan from the Los Angeles County Firefighterâ€™s Museum.
Under the direction of Deputy Chief Kevin Costa, a four-member Float committeeÂ dedicated countless hours in researching, acquiring and selecting the entries toÂ showcase the Department in celebrating 125 years of service.
The decorations for the entries will take place beginning Saturday, DecemberÂ 28th in Lot I at the Rose Bowl.
As Pasadena grew, the need for fire protection grew as well. A little-known eventÂ that triggered the formation of a fire department occurred in 1885 when someÂ boys threw a stone into a building, at the corner of Fair Oaks and Mills Alley thatÂ was being used by Chinese immigrants as a laundry. The stone tipped over aÂ kerosene lamp, starting a fire that burned down the building. The buildingâ€™s
owner, Johnny Mills, fought feverishly to stop the fire’s growth and prevented itÂ from spreading. Perhaps considering the great Chicago fire of 14 years earlier,Â allegedly also started by a kerosene lamp (and Mrs. O’Leary’s cow), the City,Â with some urging by a Dr. H.A. Reid (later a noted local historian), realized that aÂ Fire Department was needed.
On October 8, 1887, after a delay to raise money,Â the City Trustees passed a resolution authorizing a Fire Department and theÂ office of “Chief” was created. They allocated just over $1,000 to start the FireÂ Department. The first Fire Department was simple, at best. The City’sÂ Blacksmith Shop built the first two pieces of fire apparatus, a hook and ladder rigÂ and a hose cart. These were put into service on May 1, 1888 and ran out of aÂ temporary station on DeLacey, near the Wiley and Greeley’s Livery Stable, whichÂ provided the horses for 24 men who were selected to be the Fire Department,Â with 12 men assigned to each piece of apparatus.