The history of organized combating of structural fires dates back at least to Ancient Egypt. Many people put out fires back in biblical times, but whether people did it for a living is unknown.1
The United States did not employ professional firefighters in the sense of government-organized departments until the time of the Civil War. Before then, amateur fire brigades competed with one another to be the first to respond to a fire -- in order to receive the payout from the insurance companies.2
These brigades, or fire societies, were very organized, with individuals having specific assignments: put out fire; get residents to safe place, or secure an items pertinent to their financial well-being.
1 Firefighter (wikipedia)
2 A History of Fire Departments