Pliny the Younger, Letters 10.34
Trajan’s reply to the letter by Pliny from 2 days ago.
tibi quidem secundum exempla complurium in mentem venit posse collegium fabrorum apud Nicomedenses constitui. sed meminerimus provinciam istam et praecipue eas civitates eius modi factionibus esse vexatas. quodcumque nomen ex quacumque causa dederimus iis, qui in idem contracti fuerint, hetaeriae eaeque brevi fient. satius itaque est comparari ea, quae ad coercendos ignes auxilio esse possint, admonerique dominos praediorum, ut et ipsi inhibeant ac, si res poposcerit, accursu populi ad hoc uti.
Trajan to Pliny.
It has occurred to you that a company of firemen could be established in Nicomedia, following the example of several cities. But we should remember that your province – and especially those cities – have been troubled by factions of this sort. Whatever name we give to them, for whatever purpose, men who have been brought together for the same purpose will quickly become political clubs. Therefore it will be preferable for those things to be got ready which are of service for the control of fires, and for the owners of property to be advised that they should extinguish fires themselves and, if the situation demands it, to employ the assistance of the populace for this purpose.