Engine 4 was organized on March 15, 1871, at 116 S. 17th Street in the firehouse of the Philadelphia Fire Company of the volunteer department.
The original roster was as follows:
Hugh H. Cochran-driver
Andrew J. Kilpatrick-fireman
James P. Love-hoseman
Jabez W. Artman-hoseman
Interestingly, there were twelve men assigned and there were twelve spittoons listed in the company inventory – one per man.
Engine 4 would operate from these quarters until 1898 when they moved to a new firehouse at 1528 Sansom Street.
Beginning in 1874 and ending in 1897 Engine 4 was considered a jinxed company due to the high number of members killed and injured in the line of duty. Here’s a list of some of the incidents were members were killed and/or injured.
January 29, 1874 – 2 alarms 12th & Market Streets – Hosemen George Devitt, of Engine 3, and Charles O’Neill, of Engine 4, killed and the Foreman and three hoseman from Engine 4 injured by falling walls.
October 31, 1875 – 3 alarms – 23rd & Hamilton Streets – one member injured, Hoseman Thomas Evans of Engine 4 was badly burned.
April 4, 1876 – while responding to Box 14, Engine 4’s hose cart overturned injuring Hosemen Andrew Kilpatrick and William J. Black.
July 23, 1877 – while operating at a box alarm at 37th Street and Darby Road, Hosemen John E. Murphy and George Hostler of Engine 4 were badly burned by an explosion of coal oil.
November 1, 1879 – while operating at a box alarm at 1729-1733 Market Street, Assistant Engineer William Stagairt and Hoseman Harry Hogg, of Engine 4, were injured by a falling wall. Engine 17’s steamer was also destroyed in the collapse.
June 21, 1884 – 3 alarms at 251 Levant Street – Hoseman James McCuen, Engine 4, was injured.
December 27, 1886 – 2 alarms at 717-721 Chestnut Street, Hoseman John Gibson, of Engine 4, and Ladderman John Johnson, of Truck B, were killed and two Hosemen from Engine 4 and one Ladderman from Truck D were injured.
May 31, 1888 – 2 alarms 36th Street and Woodland Avenue,
Hoseman Andrew Hamilton, Engine 4, injured.
February 10, 1889 – Hoseman George Showers of Engine 4 killed, and the Assistant Foreman and two hosemen from Engine 4 were injured, along with a hoseman from Engine 18 while operating at an extra alarm fire at 1412-16 Walnut Street.
November 22, 1889 – 2 alarms at 119-123 Market Street, Assistant Foreman James McCuen, Engine 4, was killed and seventeen other members were injured, including one from Engine 4, by falling walls.
December 15, 1897 – 2 alarms at 1025 Market Street, five firemen were injured, including George Gore of Engine 4.
Also, the first foreman of Engine 4, Hugh McClintock, would be promoted to Assistant Engineer. He was critically injured March 4, 1876 while battling a three alarm fire at 309-311 Market Street when he fell from the roof. He would die from his injuries on June 21, 1876.