They were a company of men, proven firefighters hand picked from hundreds of volunteers. These men had past experience in the trades: iron workers, elevator men, and masons. They would use this knowledge and their new equipment to venture where no one else could.
These firefighters handled explosives, dangerous chemicals, and controlled toxic leaks. They were sent to the most dangerous fires: in cellars, sub-cellars and in the holds of ships. These brave men set standards, operating procedures, and an ethic of training that continues to this day.
Organized in 1915 they are the firefighters of Rescue Company 1, New York City Fire Department. For the next century they would dangle from ropes or dive underwater to rescue those in peril. With a wide array of tools, they would extricate people stuck in machines, pinned in vehicle wrecks or trapped in building collapses.
They would pull many civilians and firefighters from blazing buildings. The pioneering tools, techniques and innovations they helped forge became the basis of todays heavy rescue companies and Urban Search & Rescue Teams.
Their heritage has been passed on through generations of New York City rescue men. Their stories are many, their impact impressive and their motto is “OUTSTANDING!”
Hundreds of photos span the entire 100 years, helping tell the rich history of Rescue 1!