Bel Air’s first two pieces of fire apparatus consisted of two hand drawn hose carriages. The hose carriages were purchased from Charles T. Holloway of Baltimore in early September of 1890 at a cost of one hundred and fifteen dollars.
The hose reels were delivered to Bel Air in late October of 1890 and immediately outfitted for fire fighting. Along with the hose carriages the company also purchased seven hundred and fifty feet of 2 ½ inch hose from the Eureka Fire Hose Company of New York for four hundred and fifty dollars. This hose purchase also included two play pipes, six spanner wrenches, and six hose slings. Within the next two months the company also purchased two ¾ inch play pipes and six hydrant wrenches. In November of 1890 two loud gongs were added to the two hose carriages (one for each carriage) for the purpose of announcing the carriages response to a fire.
There are no known photographs of the original hose carriages. The above photograph is of a hose carriage purchased by the fire company in 1974 from The Fire Museum of Maryland. This hose carriage was originally owned by the Thurmont Volunteer Fire Company located in Western Maryland. This carriage is very similar to the original carriages that were owned by the Bel Air Fire and Salvage Company.
The fire company had been divided into two divisions, named Division 1 and Division 2, when it was formed. Each division was assigned a hose carriage with accompanying small tools and ladders. Division #1’s hose carriage was originally supposed to be housed at the public school property on Gordon Street but the school board never approved the motion.
The hose carriage ended up being stored at Henry B. Brun’s livery stable on Ellendale Street next to the MA and PA Railroad Station. It would remain here until July of 1897 when it was moved to Henry B, Brun’s carriage house on Gordon Street. It remained there until it was moved, along with Hose Carriage #2 and Hook and Ladder #1, to the fire company’s first fire station for the fire company on Courtland Street in 1907.
Hose Carriage #2 was stored in a hose house to the rear of the County Jail, which was located at Main Street across from the court house. It would remain at this location until 1907 when it was also relocated to the newly built fire station on Courtland Street along with Hose Carriage #1 and Hook and Ladder #1.
Both these hose carriages served the fire company and the Town of Bel Air with much needed fire protection until October of 1919 when the fire companies first piece of motorized apparatus was purchased.
The disposition of these hose carriages is unknown.