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Manassas, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Steam Locomotive Tire Fire Alarm – 1909

 
 
Steam Locomotive Tire Fire Alarm Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2006
1. Steam Locomotive Tire Fire Alarm Marker
Inscription.  One of the challenges for volunteer fire departments is how to alert their members to a fire. In July 1909, the Town of Manassas authorized Mr. J. I. Randall, the first town Fire Chief, to purchase three locomotive tires to be suspended in frames in different parts of town to be used as fire alarms. Each alarm was to be furnished with a hammer or other device to strike the tire.

One alarm was located on Center Street by the Town Hall, another was placed on Grant Avenue at the present location of the Piedmont Building, and the third was erected at the intersection of Center Street and West Street. The alarm at the Town Hall on Center Street used a heavy iron suspended on a rope to be swing like a bell clapper. A small section of the tire had to be cut out in order to produce the loud ringing sound that alerted the volunteers.

The railroad tires were eventually replaced by a steam whistle at the power generating plant on Church Street, which was itself later replaced by air raid sirens positioned around town. Today, radio voice pagers that are activated by the Manassas Police Dispatchers alert volunteers. All of these altering
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systems, except for the steam whistle, are on display at the Fire Department Museum at Fire Station #1 on Centreville Road.

This locomotive tire is not one of the original alarms.

Driving wheel tires from steam locomotive No. 89 donated 1998 by the Strasburg Rail Road Co., Strasburg, PA.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkRailroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1909.
 
Location. 38° 45.068′ N, 77° 28.235′ W. Marker is in Manassas, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Center Street (Virginia Route 28) and East Street, on the right when traveling west on Center Street. Marker is on the side of Town Hall between Town Hall and City Hall, near the sidewalk. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9025 Center Street, Manassas VA 20110, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Right to Vote (here, next to this marker); Harry J. Parrish (here, next to this marker); Wartime Manassas (a few steps from this marker); Defenses of Manassas (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Manassas 1906 (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
 
Steam Locomotive Tire Fire Alarm image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2006
2. Steam Locomotive Tire Fire Alarm
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 11, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 2,350 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 11, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Feb. 29, 2024