Uhm, are we the only one's who had never heard of the New York City Fire Patrol until they read about it in today's Times? We feel really silly about not knowing too since the Fire Patrol actually has a pretty cool job and story. And they've been around since before New York even had a paid Fire Department!

So what is the difference between the Patrol and the FDNY? "While the Fire Deparartment puts out fires the patrol works in its wake, salvaging property and limiting the damage at commercial blazes." For instance, where the FDNY brings hoses, the Patrol brings pumps to clear out the water. The main concern for the Patrol is to lessen the financial damage caused by fires, rather than stopping them. They're they guys you hope threw a blanket over your workstation so that maybe those files you've been working on for the past two years weren't destroyed. And so it isn't too big a surprise that it is underwritten not by the city or state but by the insurance industry. Also, considering the insuarance industry, not such a surprise that apparently the relationship between the two has become a bit strained.

It seems that the fire insurers who normally finance the $8.5 million to to fund the 98-member force is no longer sure that the property salvaged is worth the cost of mainting the Patrol so they are killing it's budget. Unless a solution is come to in the next few months (and there is some hope) just like that, after 200 years in which thirty-two patrolmen have died in the line of duty, the last Fire Patrol in the country may cease to exist. Bummer.

You can learn more about fire fighting in New York at the New York CIty Fire Musuem and Amazon sells a paper back book on the patrol.

Fire Patrol Station from luxfarah's flickr stream.