(To skip this page and go directly to where you can get ordering information, click here)

From the earliest days to the modern era, volunteer firefighters have always placed the lives of their neighbors and the well being of their community above their own, continually striving to find faster and better ways to reach and extinguish any threat of fire. For them, doing so is a source of honor and pride, and from the first day the second fire truck came to town firemen have been competing with each other for that honor – both on and off duty. In New York State, these friendly firematic contests between “drill teams” of volunteer firefighters have reached a level of competition that is unique in the entire world; there is nowhere else in terms of speed, technique or sophistication that even comes close.

Chariots of Firefighters chronicles the birth and rise of these contests, from foot races and fistfights between neighboring fire companies in New York City to the formation of the New York State Volunteer Firemen’s Parade and Drill Team Captain’s Association and the over 350 teams from over 260 fire districts that make up its 200-year history. From simple hand-pumping duels to modern-day drills of speed and refined technique on specially-built tracks with custom apparatus, the story of how these competitions evolved – through wars, riots and celebrations, public scorn and the wild praise of cheering throngs – is one that anyone with any interest in the fire service – or even sports in general – will want to read.

Volume I of the two-book series - "The History" - is a richly illustrated 325 page volume consisting of eighteen Chapters and eleven Appendices. (Volume II - "The Practice" - will fully describe the modern-day sport of firematic competition as it exists today. This book is still in production.) Below are descriptions of each Chapter; by following its accompanying link the reader may also see some sample pages from within it:

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Firematic Competition introduces the sport of firematic competition to those readers who may not be familiar with it. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 2: The Beginnings describes the very first contests between groups of firefighters. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 3: The Era of Fighting provides historical accounts of races to extinguish fires in early nineteenth century New York City, and how these rivalries grew in intensity to the point where they often resulted in out-and-out brawls. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 4: The Dawn of the Muster describes the very first organized friendly firematic contests between groups of different fire companies. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 5: The Birth of FASNY and the Dawn of Competition on Long Island tells of the formation of the Fireman's Association of the State of New York in 1872, and describes the very first parades and contests on Long Island, which was to become the heart of the sport of firematic competition. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 6: The SCVFA is Born describes the formation of the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighter's Association, and its very first tournament in Patchogue in 1886. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 7: Growing Pains gives further accounts of the sudden rise in sophistication and popularity of firematic parades and tournaments throughout New York State, and the problems encountered as that happened. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 8: The Advent of Northern and Western, and the Golden Age of Tournaments describes the formation of the Jefferson County Firemen's Association (which pre-dates the Northern New York Volunteer Firemen's Association) and the Western New York Volunteer Firemen's Association, and the majesty of the sport of firematic competition as it reached its peak at the turn of the century. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 9: Enter the Auto discusses the intoduction of the automobile to the world - and to parades and contests within the sport of firematic competition. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 10: Changes, Sammis and Standardization describes the further struggles that the sport went through as it grew, and the efforts of leaders in the sport like Albert Sammis to help define and standardize it. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 11: No Need for Prozac talks about the sport of firematic competition during the years before, during and after the Great Depression, and how it thrived in spite of it. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 12: A World's Fair, and a World War tells of the New York State Champtionship Tournaments held in conjunction with the World's Fair in Flushing, New York in 1939 and 1940, and of how the sport of firematic competition fared during the years leading up to, during and after World War II. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 13: Rome and Gomorrah describes the post-war years within the sport, with rowdiness and violence once again became more and more prevalant at firematic conventions and tournaments, culminating with a riot at the state convention in Rome, New York in 1948. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 14: Assurance of Insurance discusses how matters of insurance - for both the hosts of tournaments and the teams participating in them - rose to become an issue of significance, and how both chose to deal with them. Samples pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 15: A NYSVFDTCA is Born describes the idea behind, and the eventual formation of, the New York State Volunteer Firemen's Drill Team Captain's Association. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 16: "Race" Relations talks about the sport of firematic competition during the 1960's and 1970's, and how the sport grew, changed and adapted to current events and mores of that era. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 17: Breaking Up is (Not So) Hard To Do gives an account of the deteriorating relationship between FASNY and the NYSVFDTCA in the 1980's, and how they eventually parted ways. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

Chapter 18: The Controversy Lives On concludes the book with a discussion of some of the significant challenges the sport of firematic competition has had to face in the 21st century, and how it has risen to meet those challenges and continued to grow in spite of them. Sample pages from that chapter can be found here.

 

The eleven Appendices are:

    Appendix 1: Firematic Competition Timeline

    Appendix II: NYSVF&DTCA State Champions (Motorized)

    Appendix III: NYSVF&PDTCA State Champions (Old Fashioned)

    Appendix IV: NYSVF&PDTCA State Champions (Juniors)

    Appendix V: State Convention & Tournament Locations

    Appendix VI: SCVFA Tournament Locations

    Appendix VII: NCFA Tournament Locations

    Appendix VIII: NNYVFA Tournament Locations

    Appendix IX: WNYVFA/DTCA Tournament Locations

    Appendix X: Central New York Firematic Drill Team Association Past Champions

    Appendix XI: Selected Parade Prizes from the 1800's

 

ORDER "CHARIOTS of FIREFIGHTERS"

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

E-MAIL THE AUTHOR