This collection consists primarily of meeting minutes documenting the development of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s Volunteer Fire Department
from its formation in 1915 through the early 2000s, including details of day-to-day operations, funds raised, members added,
This collection was donated by Art Black (b. 1946). Black, a native of Carmel, graduated from the University of Maryland
and began his fire career in 1975 as a firefighter/EMT with the Carmel-by-the-Sea Fire Department. He served as Fire Marshall
from 1987 until his retirement in 1993, when he became a Principal at Carmel Fire Protection Associates, a fire protection
consulting firm in Carmel. Black, a nationally-recognized authority on fire alarms, has been on the Board of Directors of
the Automatic Fire Alarm Association since 2010.
The history of the Carmel Fire Department goes back to 1908, when local volunteers provided fire protection for the City of
Carmel. It wasn’t until 1915, however, that a group was formally organized, calling itself the Carmel Chemical Co. No. 1.
The group had monthly meetings (initially held at the Manzanita Club, but also held at numerous other locations), elected
officers, kept minutes, and solicited funds from the community for fire equipment, including fire bells, sirens, and a Luverne
fire engine (purchased in 1923). Over the years, the department was reorganized and renamed several times. In 1935, the
community passed a bond measure to fund the building of a permanent fire house. The fire house (constructed on 6th Street
between Mission and San Carlos) was completed in 1937 and is still in operation today. The Carmel FD started hiring paid staff
in the 1970s, but it was still mostly volunteer-run through the 1980s and 1990s (30-40 volunteers to 6-10 paid staff). The
Carmel FD continued using volunteers all the way until it was merged with the Pacific Grove and Monterey Fire Departments