=== 1631−1678 ===
The Boston Fire Department traces its roots back to 1631, a year after the city was founded, when the first fire ordinance was adopted. In what then was the Massachusetts Bay Colony of the Kingdom of England, the city banned thatched roofs and wooden chimneys. However, it wasn’t until 1653 that the first hand engine was appropriated to provide pressure for water lines.
=== 1678−1837 ===
In 1678, the city founded a paid fire department, and hired Thomas Atkins to be the first fire chief. On February 1, 1711, the town appointed a group of Fire Wards, each responsible for the operation and maintenance of equipment assigned to a region of the city. The grandfather and great grandfather of Herman Melville, Thomas Melvill, served as a town fire ward from 1779 to 1825, and Allen Melvill, served as an early firefighter 1733 to 1761.
It was not until 1799 that the first leather fire hose was used, after being imported from England.
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Fire_Department, http://www.bostonfirehistory.org/historybostonbefore1859.html