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A Memorable Enterprise: The AYPE and the City of Seattle

Fire: A Memorable Enterprise

AYPE fire station
AYPE fire station

In his 1909 annual report, the Fire Chief wrote, "We all take pride in the success of this memorable enterprise, and congratulate ourselves that it ran its allotted time under such favorable circumstances and without disaster. It was the first of the great fairs to have fire protection furnished to such a large extent by the city."

The Exposition sponsors built the engine house and supplied fuel, feed, and lights, while the City of Seattle supplied and funded the officers and men, the horses, and the apparatus. The alarm telegraph system was rented to the Exposition on the understanding that the city would take it afterwards.

The Fire Chief claimed Seattle had the best track record of all previous fairs because with "a smaller number of men and apparatus on the grounds than at any other of the expositions, the Fair just closed had the least fire loss of any of them. It was farther from the city protection than other expositions, the buildings were closer together and the water supply more precarious; the weather was continuously dry (except for three or four days) and the composition used as a substitute for glass on the roofs was unusually combustible. Yet the appearance of none of the buildings was marred by fire at any time." There were only two fires of consequence: one on March 30 alongside the Forestry Building in a contractor's shed, and the other on September 18 in the foundry.

The Fire Chief expressed concern that there was no fire protection after the close of the Exposition. He requested that the city purchase the alarm boxes in order to avoid the fire hazard to the empty buildings. City Council granted him $5,000 for purchase of the boxes.

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