The Gold Rush Fire Brigade was originally formed to represent the Sacramento Fire Department that existed at the waterfront in Old Sacramento during the Gold Rush Years between 1860 and 1910. The “Brigade” is comprised of active and retired Firemen from Fire Departments throughout the Gold Country Region. Members come from San Francisco, Dixon, Woodland, Sacramento, Auburn, Georgetown, Placerville and other Gold Rush Era Fire Departments and have provided “Fire” Shows at Gold Rush Days in Old Sacramento, San Francisco, Woodland, Jackson, Grass Valley and Virginia City. The “Fire Show” was created to demonstrate the Fire Department’s response to a “Live” Fire on upper floors of a building in the center of Old Sacramento. This was accomplished by using smoke machines to simulate a Fire, period Actors to be the victims, with Firefighters responding with Fire Trucks and tools to perform roof top rescues and extinguish the “Flames”. Over the years the Show was expanded to present the “Great Fire of 1852” when Sacramento was totally burned down. To achieve this setting, the roofs on the entire block of K Street at the Waterfront was “Smoked” up by employing a Pyrotech company. The “Fire Show” was created to demonstrate the Fire Department’s response to a “Live” Fire on upper floors of old buildings in the center of Old Sacramento. This was accomplished by using smoke machines to simulate a Fire, period Actors as the victims, and Firefighters responding antique Fire Trucks with tools to perform the roof top rescues and extinguish the “Flames”. The Fire Brigade has participated in Parades & Fire Shows at Historic Celebrations for the Cities of San Francisco, Woodland, Jackson, Georgetown, Virginia City, and the Draft Horse Classic in Grass Valley. Last year the Gold Rush Fire Brigade added an 1880’s period Fire Department Brass Band. The Fire Brigade Brass Band plays 1800’s music on original instruments from that time period and have performed at Gold Rush Days, and with the Sacramento Symphony. In keeping with our Mission to bring a Fire Museum out before the Public, the Rose Parade offered the perfect venue to exhibit and demonstrate the Fire Trucks, tools and equipment that were used during the “Golden Years” of Fire Horses racing to Fires with Steam Pumpers, Hose Wagons, and Ladder Trucks.
The mission of Gold Rush Fire Brigade has been to provide a colorful and dramatic Museum quality Living History experience of the Horse Drawn Fire Department era. Parades and “Fire” Shows have provided the venues to entertain audiences and educate both the young and old on the History of the Gold Rush Era Fire Department culture during the “Golden Years” of Fire Horses. The Native Sons of the Golden West have been an integral partner with the Gold Rush Fire Brigade in providing support with equipment and personnel over the years. If you are interested in learning more about the NSGW please visit the website at www.nsgw.org.