The Boston Fire Department reports firefighters were summoned to a fire at 94 Endicott St. in the North End around 5:14 a.m. by a resident who thought to use a street fire-alarm box when calling 911 from a phone didn't work - from the same location where the world's first ever municipal fire-box alarm was pulled in 1852.
The department reports firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze. The resident had to use a call box because of ongoing national problems that have wreaked havoc with 911 systems.
The resident used a box at Cooper and Endicott streets known as Box 1212. According to the Boston Fire Historical Society, that location was the site of the first ever fire alarm signaled by a street box, for a fire around 8:25 p.m. on April 29, 1852 - just one day after Boston turned on the world's first municipal fire-box system.
The city's street fire-box system still uses the same basic mechanism as employed in the 1852 boxes: A spring-based system inside the box generates Morse Code-like signals to the a central alarm station that indicate the box's number, and so its location, without the need for fancy electronics or even an external power supply. The fire-alarm office has been located in the Fenway since 1925.