Marcus Licinius Crassus (b.115 BC) created his own Fire Brigade in Rome—500 slaves strong. On arriving at the scene, the firefighters stood aside while Crassus bargained over the price of their services with the distressed property owner. If Crassus could not negotiate a satisfactory price, his men simply let the structure burn to the ground, after which he offered to purchase it for a fraction of its value.
A far cry from the courageous men and women of today's Fire Brigades.
As for Crassus, this and other swindles earned him a fortune variously estimated in today's money as $160bn - $2,000bn, making him possibly the wealthiest man in history. Although he did have his head chopped off.