• By Albert Depew

Warren Engine Company No. 1

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The mission of Warren Engine Company No. 1 (WECO) is to provide a well-trained, all-volunteer company that supports the Carson City Fire Department with the functions of fire suppression, emergency medical services, and related services to Carson City.


WECO was organized on June 17, 1863, in Carson City. The company is the oldest volunteer fire company west of the Mississippi River. Nationwide, WECO is probably the oldest continuously operated fire company, having provided uninterrupted service to this community since its inception. WECO adopted its name from the Revolutionary War hero, General Warren. WECO purchased a Hunneman hand pumper, two hose carts, and 300 feet of fire hose. This original equipment is now on display in our fire museum that is located at Fire Station No. 1.

It was very prestigious to be a member of a fire company in those days, and the pride of being the first company to get water on a fire held the highest esteem. The fact that there were two other volunteer fire companies, Curry Engine Company No. 2 and Swift Company No. 3, in the area only increased the competition. Throughout the years, WECO firefighters have been striving to keep pace with the changing times in firefighting techniques, equipment, and keeping the ever present threat of fire in check. Even to this day with all of the modern technology and the vast science of fire behavior, our men and women still heed their sworn motto to the people of Carson City, "Where Duty Calls - There You'll Find Us."

WECO is still an all-volunteer organization that assists, trains, and works beside other firefighters and paid personnel of the Carson City Fire Department when called to duty. Our members receive no pay for their services; however, our uniforms, protective clothing, state-mandated medical physicals, training requirements, and insurance are provided for by the City through a portion of the Carson City Fire Department's budget.

The fund-raising efforts of the company augment any shortfalls that Carson City cannot provide to the members and go to supporting the social and historical functions of our organization. One example of fund-raising is the standby we provide at car and motorcycle races held in Carson City.

In 2006 we celebrated 143 years of continuous service. The fire museum at Fire Station No. 1 houses our history and artifacts and has been open to the public now for over four years. It is a unique thrill to view the pictures of the past and the equipment of yesteryear. Those were the "glory years" in the fire service; however, a short distance across the main station is the awesome reminder of the progression that WECO and the Carson City Fire Department have made together in this past century.

WECO operational members respond to ‘Working Incident Requests." We are notified with pagers that are activated through a tone alert sent out by the Carson Dispatch Center after a determination has been made by the Incident Commander that there is a need for additional equipment or personnel. All of our members have made prior arrangements with their employers so that when our pagers alert us during working hours, we can respond to the call for help. The majority of our members are employed by local businesses in Carson or with the State of Nevada. The members also have the understanding and the support of their families when summoned to duty at night.

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