Profile America: Fire Hazard

Friday, January 13 —┬áToday, when a home is damaged or destroyed by fire, there usually is no question that it was insured against such a common danger. The first fire insurance company in Colonial America was the Friendly Society for the Mutual Insurance of Houses Against Fire. Organized in 1734 in Charleston, South Carolina, it began receiving subscriptions in January 1735. The company was bankrupted, apparently by numerous claims after a disastrous citywide fire in 1740. The first full-time, professional firefighting company was formed in 1853 in Cincinnati. It was also the first to use steam-powered fire engines. Across the U.S., there are 255,000 professional firefighters and some 33,000 insurance carriers, which employ more than 1.4 million agents and staff.

Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email