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San Diego Fire Crews with their fire-fighting vehicles circa 1965. For more than 110 years, City of San Diego firefighters have kept a vigilant watch over their community. On August 5, 1889, a City Charter Amendment established the Fire Department. It began with forty-one men, eleven horses, two Steam Fire Engines, one Hose Wagon, two Hose Carts, one Hook and Ladder, and four thousand feet of hose. The total worth of the department, in materials, apparatus, horses and equipment, was $22,572.75.