Harry Howard Bio

Harry Howard


In 1857 Harry Howard decided to seek the office of Chief Engineer of the New York City Fire Department after serving seven years as assitant to Chief Carson. After a lengthy and vigorous campaign throughout the City, he defeated Chief Carson and was elected Chief Engineer on February 3, 1857. His first official act after assuming his new office was to establish the bunk system. This system enabled the firemen to sleep in the firehouses at night and respond to alarms much quicker. He kept the firemen on constant alert and was instrumental in saving countless lives and untold amounts in property. In fact the loss due to fire in New York under Chief Howard caused an enormous drop in fire insurance rates.

Harry Howard resigned the office of Chief in 1860 after suffering a crippling stroke while running to a fire on East Houston Street in New York City. Although no longer Chief Engineer, he still worked diligently for the fire department and the City of New York. He was an advocate of paying the firemen for their services, and the use of steam and horses to pull heavy fire equipement instead of men.

Harry Howard passed away on February 6, 1896 at the age of seventy-four. His funeral was one of the largest gatherings of firemen, public officials and friends New York City had ever seen. He will always be remembered for his herculean frame, iron constitution, nerve of steel, and kindness and generosity. To all the men of the Harry Howard Hook and Ladder Company here in Port Chester he will always be remembered as our special and close friend.

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