Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
Miles City's First Paid Fireman
Recently we told in this column the story of how early day fires were fought by volunteer firemen who would man pumps wnile others formed a hand brigade, with buckets, to fight fires. We also told you that the first horse drawn fire wagon was purchased in May, 1908. But what we did not tell you was, who the fellows were that were hired as the first "paid firemen" to look after the horses and be on hand, night and day, to answer an alarm. The first hired driver of the horse unit was a man who will be remembered by many of the old timers. This was a party by the name of Elmer Hand. He was paid $75 per month, and it was his job to stay at the firehall to answer any calls that might come in during the days. After hiring Hand to look after calls in the day time, George Aitchison was hired as the night man at a salary of $15 per month. George was undoubtedly a volunteer fireman, but he forsook devoting his evenings to anything else but the safety of the town by filling this responsible position. He worked for W. B. Jordan & Sons Company during the day time. Then the first paid fire chief was brought into being about the same time. He was Joe Deckert--a tonsorial artist for many years--and his salary as chief was the sum of $25 per month. When Joe resigned as chief in November, 1909, Steve Forseth was appointed to fill the office.