If you were to visit the small town of Tomales today, it would be hard to imagine a large fire. The very rural area is right next to the Pacific Ocean, and is often cool and wet, and covered in fog. The Marin County Fire Department operates a full-time staffed fire station here, supplemented by the Tomales Volunteer Fire Company. Unfortunately, as happened in so many communities across America long ago, the reality of unprotected wood construction, the lack of a fire water supply, and having no organized fire protection, often led to disastrous fires. At some point the community usually makes a decision to improve their fire protection.
In the example of Tomales, an entire business block burned on November 12, 1898. It was later rebuilt, and thrived. Then, about 21 years later, almost the entire town burned up. At some point, the fire protection was improved, both stories for another day. We do have placeholder pages for the history of the Tomales Fire Department, today's Tomales Volunteer Fire Company (some photos posted), and the 1920 fire, but have not completed the stories yet. You can read about the 1898 fire by clicking below. We thought starting with the oldest fire was best, and now we'll work forward.
Our Blog announces new site content, and gives the context of the topic and it's relationship to fire service history. Written by Tom Forster.