Buffalo Fire Department
|Buffalo Fire Department|
|Motto: Ut Vivant Alii|
|EMS Level||BLS Non Transport|
|Commissioner||Garnell W. Whitfield Jr.|
The Buffalo Fire Department is the principal fire and rescue service for the city of Buffalo, New York, USA. The Fire Department consists of one division which is separated into four battalions, and further separated into four platoons. Each platoon works two day shifts which are from 0800–1700 hours followed by two night shifts which are from 1700–0800 hours.
The department consists of approximately 675 uniformed firefighters that serve a population of about 260,000 in a geographic area of approximately 42 square miles (110 km2).
The department operates one Division Chief, four Battalion Chiefs, 19 Engine Companies, 9 Ladder Companies, 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 Collapse/Technical Rescue, 1 HazMatUnit, 1 Field Communications Unit, 1 Foam Unit and 1 Fireboat. Buffalo on average battles three structure fires a day. Residential structures are typically wooden balloon style framed buildings (Type V) with a high percentage of these abandoned. Balloon style framing lacks fire blocking between floors and balloon framing allows fire to run up the wall between floors. Run statistics show a total of over 35,000 incident responses per year. The department traces its roots to the early bucket brigades, which provided fire services from the early inception of the village of Buffalo in the early 19th century until the creation of the paid department on July 1, 1880.
- 1 History
- 2 Personnel
- 2.1 Administration/Headquarters Personnel
- 2.2 Fire Prevention Bureau Personnel
- 2.3 Fire Alarm Officer Personnel
- 2.4 Training Personnel
- 2.5 Hazardous Materials Personnel
- 2.6 Fire Investigation/Arson Personnel
- 2.7 Emergency Medical Services Personnel
- 2.8 Fire Apparatus Repair Shop Personnel
- 2.9 Mask Services/Tool Repair/Hose Tower Personnel
- 2.10 Service Station Personnel
- 3 Operations
- 4 Communications
- 5 Fallen Buffalo firefighters
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The Buffalo Fire Department had its origins in the old volunteer fire companies with names like Pioneer, Neptune, Fillmore, Clinton, Rescue, Citizen's, Defiance, Eagle, Taylor and many others that had protected the city. As the demand for fire protection increased with the increase of population, the department was converted to a paid career department on July 1, 1880. The Buffalo Fire Department has a high number of ethnic groups among its ranks. This continues today with a large presence of African-Americans, German-Americans, Irish-American, Italian-American, and Polish-American firefighters in the department.
The Buffalo Fire Department companies totaled at one time 35 Engine Companies,16 ladder companies, a Snorkel Unit, 2 Hose Tenders, 11 first aid squads ( operated by engine company they were with) and three fireboats ( Engines 20,23 & 29). It also consisted of multiple support units. In the past, the Buffalo Fire Department was separated into two divisions (North and South), which were further divided into seven battalions.
The beginning of downsizing the fire department began in the 1950s. In 1978, all eleven Squad companies were disbanded. Squad companies were two man light utility style vehicles that would response to medical calls and other technical rescue incidents. Rescue Company 1 was established in 1978 when the BFD saw the need for a specialized Rescue company. Rescue 1 responded to a large first alarm response area and to all second alarms in the remainder of the city.
On January 1, 1978, Rescue Company 2 was formed and quartered at Engine 37, Ladder 4 quarters, known as "The Big House". Rescue 2 responded to all 1st Alarm assignments within their response district and to all 2nd Alarms in the remainder of the city. Rescue 2 was phased out and closed July 1, 1994 due to budget restrictions.
The closure of numerous front-line companies as well as eliminating Chief's Aids, disbanding 1st, 2nd,& 5th Battalion, etc.; continued until 2006 with the closing of Engine 24 on Leroy Street and the re-positioning of several firehouses to more strategic locations, as per the MMA study conducted in the 1990s.
The Buffalo Fire Department, like many other older cities, had street call boxes. At one time the city had a network of over 2,000 call boxes tied into the Alarm Office. The Fire Department Communications Division still maintains a smaller network of street boxes across the city. There is one located on every firehouse. Any Manual Boxes that remained in institutions were converted into electronic boxes which reset themselves.
Until 1981, the Buffalo Fire Department also included the Buffalo Niagara International Airport crash-fire-rescue unit, designated Engine 7. Engine 7 consisted of multiple pieces of apparatus,not just one like a standard fire company. That unit was transferred to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in July of that year when the Greater Buffalo International Airport was turned over by the City of Buffalo to the control of the NFTA. Since that time Crash Fire Rescue has been a separate career fire department, however they have been called into the city several times in the past for chemical/industrial fires due to the nature of CFR apparatus.
At one time, the city had its own volunteer auxiliary corps, known as the Buffalo Auxiliary Fire Corps. The Corps operated four pumpers and acted under the direction of an Auxiliary Chief (CD-9). They responded on 3rd Alarm Fires and greater,assisting with such tasks as stretching hose lines, brand patrol and picking up hose lines. They were a welcome sight back in the 1960s and 1970s when the BFD responded to almost 100 Multiple alarms a year. They were invaluable in the bitterness of Buffalo's winters, where they would pack frozen hose onto the hose truck. It traced its roots to the World War II era and Civil Defense hype of the 1950s and 1960s but has since been disbanded. The decision to let the "C.D.'s " disband was made by the senior members of the Corps who decided to support Local 282 members who battled the city with firehouse closings and at times, the uncertainty of lay-offs. The Corps fell under the direction of the Erie County Emergency Services Department of Fire Safety until the early 1990s when the City of Buffalo took control over them. The city received Federal funding for the Auxiliaries until their disbanding. For many years, some former auxiliary members manned the Canteen Truck (F-76), which had been quartered at Fire Headquarters and is called in on all 2nd Alarms and greater to provide refreshments to the firefighters.
On the evening of December 27, 1983 a warehouse at the intersection of North Division and Grosvenor Streets was the scene of the 1983 Buffalo propane explosion, the worst disaster and loss of life in the history of the Buffalo Fire Department. The warehouse had contained an illegal 500 gallon propane tank whose valve was broken off while it was moved and the building was in the process of being evacuated. The propane gas started to leak, eventually reaching an open flame. The tank exploded, killing all five firefighters assigned to Ladder 5 and two other citizens; and injured dozens more. It also damaged a dozen city blocks and caused millions of dollars of damage in fire equipment. There is now a memorial at fire call box 191 at the intersection of where the tragedy occurred. Each year on December 27, at 2023 hrs, the Fire Department rings out the alarm 1-9-1 to honor the five brave firefighters of Ladder 5.
The Buffalo Fire Department has also gone to the aid of its Canadian neighbors on several occasions, being one of the few department's to have an international mutual aid request. On April 4, 1904, the City of Toronto, Ontario was in the midst of a massive conflagration, known as the Great Toronto Fire. When the call for help went out, Engines 12 & 13 boarded express trains to Toronto along with the fireboat tender. On October 7, 1960, a massive fire at the Maple Leaf Milling facility in Port Colborne threatened the entire downtown core. The Fireboat Edward M. Cotter along with the crew of Engine 8 were sent to assist in the conflagration and helped save the City of Port Colborne. On August 20, 2004, BFD urgently responded to the Welland Canal after Port Colborne Fire Services had put out a mutual aid request for a difficult industrial accident with entrapment. Initially Toronto Fire's HUSAR Unit was requested, but when Port Colborne was given an ETA of 3 hours the call to Buffalo was made. Within 45 minutes of the initial call, Rescue 1, B-41 (Safety Officer), and various members of BFD's Technical Rescue Team were on location to extricate a welder from a ship that was being dismantled.
Presently, the Buffalo Fire Department operates out of 19 firehouses. The oldest active firehouse is Engine 19's quarters which are over 120 years old. The newest quarters, Engine 23, opened in 2010. The future will see firehouses constructed to replace older, inefficient stations as well as renovations to existing firehouses throughout the city.
Lackawanna Fire Department merger
City of Buffalo and City of Lackawanna officials have looked into the merging of the Lackawanna Fire Department with the Buffalo Fire Department in years past. The City of Lackawanna is a small city on the southern border of Buffalo which has seen its industrial and population base drop in the last few decades. Whereas the City of Lackawanna used to rely on income from taxes paid by the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the closure and shuddering of that plant and its operations in the 1980s and the closure in early 2009 of the last steel facility by Mittal Steel, left the City Of Lackawanna looking elsewhere for income revenue.
There are however no plans to merge the two fire departments at this time. The last discussions were turned down by the MMA Consultant Report in 2005. It should be noted the Lackawanna Fire Department once consisted of some 120 firefighters but now consists of roughly 40 career firefighters quartered out of three firehouses in the City Of Lackawanna.
|Lackawanna Fire Station #1||66 Ridge Road||Engine 1 (L1),Reserve Ladder (L4), Reserve Engine (L22)|
|Lackawanna Fire Station #2||1630 Abbott Road||Ladder 6 (L6),Rescue 2 (R2),Chief (L5)|
|Lackawanna Fire Station #3||2994 South Park Avenue||Engine 3 (L3),Reserve Engine (L11),Reserve Engine (L33)|
The Buffalo Fire Department currently has 766 filled positions within the department, including 727 uniformed and 39 non-uniformed personnel.
- 1 Fire Commissioner
- 3 Deputy Fire Commissioners
- 1 Deputy Chief of Special Operations
- 1 Planning Lieutenant
- 1 Safety Battalion Chief
- 2 Payroll Staff
- 2 Clerical Staff Members
- 1 Supply Superintendent
Fire Prevention Bureau Personnel
- 1 Fire Prevention Battalion Chief
- 3 Fire Prevention Lieutenants
- 1 Clerical Support Member
Fire Alarm Officer Personnel
- 1 Communications Captain
- 3 Dispatchers
- 3 Assistant Dispatchers
- 9 Civilian Dispatchers
- 5 Communications Technicians/Specialists
- 1 Fire Alarm Superintendent
- 1 Radio Supervisor
- 1 Communications Supervisor
- 1 Communications Engineer
- 1 Systems Support Analyst
- 1 Training Department Chief
- 1 Training Captain
- 2 Training Lieutenants
- 1 Clerical Support Member
Hazardous Materials Personnel
- 1 Haz-Mat. Captain
- 1 Haz-Mat. Firefighter
Fire Investigation/Arson Personnel
- 1 Fire Investigation/Arson Lieutenant
- 8 Fire Marshals
Emergency Medical Services Personnel
- 4 EMS Lieutenants
Fire Apparatus Repair Shop Personnel
- 1 Maintenance Supervisor
- 6 Mechanics
- 1 Laborer
- 1 Sign Painter
- 1 Carpenter
- 1 Supplies Stock Clerk
Mask Services/Tool Repair/Hose Tower Personnel
- 3 Firefighters
Service Station Personnel
- 12 Firefighters
The Buffalo Fire Department responds on average to 30,000 calls a year. General call types include fire, EMS, and hazardous materials incidents. The Buffalo Fire Department also has mutual aid plans with many local municipalities as well as Canadian fire agencies. For FY' 2005-2006, the BFD responded to 9,844 fire alarm activation, 1,483 confirmed working fires, and 23,543 EMS calls. The call volume has increased steadily since.
EMS calls are the most frequent calls the BFD respond to. In its current capacity, the Buffalo Fire Department acts as a first response only even though all firefighters are trained NYS-EMTs. The BFD responds to mostly "life threatening" squad calls. Calls such as cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest/distress, chest pain, maternity, MVA's, medical alarms, etc.
There are a handful of Buffalo firefighters that are Advanced EMTs (AEMT) and Paramedics (AEMT-P), however due to state protocols they can not render services higher than their agency level, which is Basic Life Support (BLS).
The department does not transport patients to hospitals. This is done by Rural Metro Medical Services, a for profit commercial service which is contracted with the City of Buffalo. Ambulances are dispatched by ADI (Ambulance Dispatch & Inspection),which is the Emergency Medical Services Division of Erie County Emergency Services. In recent years, there has been an increase in wait times for arriving ambulances for EMS calls due to closures of multiple area hospitals, overcrowding in the current ER's,civilians who misuse the 911 system,as well as manpower issues within the commercial service,etc.; It has been the subject of multiple media reports within the local press, and the phrase "No Ambulance Available" has become commonplace when BFD are dispatched.
The Erie County S.M.A.R.T. (Specialized Medical Assistance Response Team) aids the fire department on bus accident calls, MCI's, and Hazardous Materials Incidents. S.M.A.R.T. is staffed by ER doctors from the Erie County Medical Center which allows for quick MD access to patients.
The Buffalo Fire Department had been looking into providing their own ambulance service as well as implementing a revamped Squad company which would have been an ALS (Advanced Life Support) flycar to assist the commercial ambulance service at peak times, but so far those talks have only been preliminary.
Hazardous Materials calls are specialized responses handled by specific crews in the BFD. The crew of Engine 3, where HazMat 1 is now quartered, mans the specialized truck on all Level 1 HazMat Responses as well as simple spill calls. If Engine 3 is unavailable, the crew of Rescue 1 will respond with HazMat 1. Engine 36 & Ladder 13 provide additional Haz Mat manpower. The Buffalo Fire Department also responds to HazMat calls for the Town of Elma which is in the eastern suburbs. Elma, home to companies such as Motorola, Moog, signed a contract a couple of years ago with the City of Buffalo to provide HazMat response in the event of an emergency. In addition, Engine 1,32,37,34 and Ladders 2,5,4 & 7 are trained as Chemical Protective Clothing Companies that respond to hospitals and large populous locations for immediate gross decon of civilians.
Buffalo on average battles a structure fire 2−3 times a day. The city is heavily laden with wooden balloon style framed buildings, multiple vacant warehouses and industrial buildings. In some cases these structures are just inches apart and since many are vacant they are very attractive for arsonists and firebugs. The city has begun a process to demolish the over 10,000 vacant structures. The city in conjunction with several city departments has begun marking vacant structures with a uniform system. Any structure marked with a red square (city inspector) or yellow square (fire dept) means an interior attack, if needed, is safe to enter. However structures marked with a square of either color with an X in the middle mean that the structure is unsafe and an interior attack is ill advised and only an exterior attack is warranted. A corresponding letter next to the box notifies companies of hazards ( i.e.: C= Chimney, R=Roof etc.)
Buffalo's Arson Investigation Unit is one of the busiest arson squads in the country. Buffalo's Fire Marshals are armed firefighters invested with the powers of arrest. They respond to all structure fires when requested by the command officer as well as investigate small fires to determine if it was accidental or an arson was committed. They were quartered out of Engine 20 (Fireboat) on Ohio Street but have moved into the old Painters Union Hall located on Elmwood Ave. next to Engine 2's quarters at Elmwood and Virginia.
The BFD has seen much restructuring within the ranks during the past decades with the population in the city dwindling from a high of 600,000 in the 1950s to less than 292,000 in 2006. Since 1994, the Fire Department has disbanded six engine companies (10,13,16,18,24 and 30), four ladder companies (1,9,11 and 12), and a heavy rescue company (2).
The Fire Department still uses some of its closed firehouses scattered throughout the city limits. Former Engine 18 (Annex 18) on Fillmore Avenue is used by the Training Bureau as an offsite location. Former Engine 10 (Annex 10) on Ganson Street is used as a HazMat office, as a well as a Haz Mat Training site. Former Engine 24 on Leroy Avenue has been heavily vandalized since it was closed as an active firehouse. However it is utilized as a storage facility for Technical rescue wood products and the spare Rescue rig.
- 19 Engines(E1, E2, E3, E4, E19, E21, E22, E23, E25, E26, E28, E31, E32, E33, E34, E35, E36, E37, E38)
- 9 Ladders(L2, L4, L5, L6, L7, L10, L13, L14, L15)
- 1 Rescue(R1)
- 4 Battalions(B43, B44, B46, B47)
- 1 Division (B56)
- 1 EMS Lieutenant(F20)
- 1 Mobile Air/Light Unit(F8)
- 1 Mobile Command Unit ( unmanned)
- 1 Collapse/Technical Rescue Unit ( manned by E-21,T6 & R1)
- 1 Haz-Mat Unit ( manned by Engine 3)
- 1 Fire-boat(E20)
- 3 CBRNE Units (pickup trucks used for spare staff rigs, manpower units at events and to pull Decon and Medical trailers)
- 1 Arson Investigation Unit(F11)
- 2 Haz-Mat. CBRNE Decon. Support Trailer
- 1 Shop Van
- 1 EMS Support Trailer ( for special event EMS stand by)
- 1 Foam Unit ( manned by Engine 33)
The Buffalo Fire Department has completed a multi-million dollar replacement of the entire fleet of fire apparatus. All companies, with the exception of Engine companies 4 and 25, and Ladder companies 13, and 15, have all received American LaFrance Eagle apparatus with Engines 22 and 33 receiving the last two pumpers, and Ladder 4 receiving the last platform. Engines 4, 25, and Ladder 13 ; have all received Crimson Fire Apparatus, and Ladder 15 received Ladder 13's 2009 Crimson 103 foot rearmount demonstrator. Along with Ladder 4's new truck, a Field Communications Unit purchased from was placed into service. A new CBRNE explosives detection vehicle also paid for by Homeland Security funds. As well, All Chiefs and the EMS Lieutenant will receive new Chevrolet Suburban vehicles. Those vehicles will be cycled in FY'13 for new Chief vehicles along with a new Collapse Rescue rig.
The department also received 5 utility pickups, two HazMat trailers, one EMS Support Trailer, as well as new thermal cameras, bunker gear, etc. Former Fire Commissioner Michael Lombardo had utilized grant writing unlike previous administrations.
Buffalo Fire operates 19 Engine Companies, 9 Ladder Companies, 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 Collapse/Technical Rescue, 1 Haz-Mat Unit and 1 Fireboat. In addition, a fleet of 5 reserve engines, 2 reserve ladders, and 1 reserve rescue are at the department's disposal. The Fire Department has dozens of support vehicles for Arson, Commissioners, Chiefs, Communications, Repair Shop, etc.
Fire Station Locations and Apparatus
Below is a complete listing of all Fire Station Locations and current active fire companies/units in the city of Buffalo.
|Engine Company||Ladder Company||Special Unit||Other Unit||Command Unit||Address|
|Engine 1||Ladder 2||Decon. Unit 1||132 Ellicott St.|
|Engine 2||Mobile Communications Unit||Division Chief||376 Virginia St.|
|Engine 3||Haz-Mat 1(seasonal)||3rd Battalion Chief||609 Broadway St.|
|Engine 4||Reserve Engine, Reserve Engine||939 Abbott Rd.|
|Engine 19||209 Forest Ave.|
|Engine 20||Edward M. Cotter (fireboat)||155 Ohio St.|
|Engine 21||Ladder 6||Rescue 1, Collapse/Technical Rescue Unit||1229 Jefferson Ave.|
|Engine 22||1528 Broadway St.|
|Engine 23||3226 Bailey Ave.|
|Engine 25||Ladder 10||6th Battalion Chief||517 Southside Pkwy.|
|Engine 26||703 Tonawanda St.|
|Engine 28||1174 E. Lovejoy St.|
|Engine 31||Ladder 14||2025 Bailey Ave.|
|Engine 32||Ladder 5||700 Seneca St.|
|Engine 33||ATF Explosives Response Squad, Foam Unit||1720 Fillmore Ave.|
|Engine 34||Ladder 7||2839 Main St.|
|Engine 35||Ladder 15||1512 Clinton St.|
|Engine 36||Ladder 13||Haz-Mat 1(seasonal)||Haz-Mat. Trailer 1||860 Hertel Ave.|
|Engine 37||Ladder 4||CBRNE. Unit, Haz-Mat. Trailer 2||4th Battalion Chief||500 Rhode Island St.|
|Engine 38||7th Battalion Chief||398 Linden Avenue|
Buffalo Fire Headquarters and the Repair Shop is located at 195 Court St. and is home to F-7, F-8, F-9, F-76, Misc. Units, and the EMS Lieutenant, F-20. Buffalo Fire Dispatch/Communications Division is located 332 Ellicott St. and is also home to the Radio Repair Unit. The Buffalo Fire Training Bureau, Fire Academy, and the Training Tower is located at 3359 Broadway St.
The Buffalo Fire Department also operates 3 Fire Station Annexes to store additional fire apparatus or units that are not frontline. The annexes are retired Fire Stations and are considered department storage facilities.
- Annex 10 - 315 Ganson St.
- Haz Mat Offices
- Annex 18 - 1030 Fillmore Ave.
- Training Bureau Offices
- Annex 24 - 108 Leroy Ave.
- Shop Van
- Reserve Rescue
Along with the capital improvement to the fleet of fire apparatus, the Buffalo Fire Department has replaced or is replacing older facilities. Most recent are the new quarters for Engine 31/Ladder 14 slightly north along Bailey Avenue from their former firehouse. The former firehouse has had issues with plumbing, roofing, and poor HVAC systems. The firehouse was built in 1903 as a single company quarters. As of 15 July 2010 Engine 23 has moved to a new firehouse at 3226 Bailey Avenue, site of a vacated McDonalds.
The former quarters on Collingwood Avenue was too cramped for modern apparatus as well issues with the landlord, who purchased the old Precinct 16/Engine 23 complex from the city during Masiello's administration, had furthered the calls for a new two bay firehouse.
All new firehouses are built with extra bays for the storage of reserve apparatus or ambulances in the distant future per the MMA report released in the early 2000s. The apparatus floor at the quarters which house Engine 35 and Ladder 15 has been repaired in order for Ladder 15 to be upgraded with a new vehicle.
There are many former firehouses spread throughout the city proper. Many met the wrecking ball years ago, others were converted for residential/commercial/private use and some just recently closed.
Firehouses like former Engine 17's quarters at Rhode Island and Chenango was torn down in the 1930s, only to have another firehouse built on the same plot 30 years later. Firehouses like former Engine 27 on Johnson Street was left open and exposed to the elements and thieves by the city government. It was torn down in the mid-1990s to make room for low income housing. The Buffalo Fire Historical Society was fortunate enough to have in possession some artifacts from that house on display at their museum. Engine 21, Ladder 6's former quarters at Best Street and Earl Place was torn down in the mid-1990s, and now is just an empty parcel. The only item still visible from the old firehouse is the driveway. Engine 5's former quarters on Emslie Street near Bristol Street is now a playground.
These are the last former firehouses still standing and it is with great respect that they are listed here, as old yarns die hard. The oldest firehouse is the former Engine 2, Ladder 9 at Jersey and Plymouth. These quarters were constructed in 1872 in the days of the volunteer department. The former quarters of Engine 11 and Engine 2 are the last firehouses remaining from the volunteer fire department days. Engine 2's former quarters closed in 1999 when a new station was constructed at Elmwood and Virginia. It was occupied by Hogan Restoration for a few years but is now vacant.
The former Engine 9, Ladder 1 served as a Training Bureau site for the Fire Department after Ladder 1 was closed in 1994. The Fire Department wanted to use the firehouse as the home of Rescue 1 and HazMat 1 but the former Masiello Administration sold the building to a private company. Chemical 5, Engines 15 and 36 and Hook & Ladder No. 12 are the most interesting reuses as personal residences.
|Location||Assigned Companies||Year closed||Current use|
|106 Collingwood Ave.||Engine 23, Precinct 16 Complex||2010||Vacant|
|2025 Bailey Ave.||Engine 31, Ladder 14||2009||Church/Halfway House Resource Center|
|275 Kehr St.||Engine 33, 5th Battalion Chief||2006||True Bethel Baptist Church Help Center|
|1655 Elmwood Ave.||Engine 36||2005||Private Residence|
|395 Amherst St.||Ladder 12||2005||Private Residence|
|638 Fillmore Ave.||Ladder 11, 3rd Battalion Chief||2003||Private Owner|
|306 Jersey St.||Engine 2, Ladder 9, Squad 11||1999||Private Owner - Ted Constantine|
|707 Washington St.||Engine 4, Engine 9, Ladder 1, Squad 9, 2nd Battalion||1994||Printing Company (Leader All Surface Printing)|
|1420 Main St.||Engine 16||1991||Offices:My Fellowship World/Veterans Housing|
|131 Southside Pkwy.||Engine 30, Ladder 10, Quad 6||1981||Apartments|
|176 Chicago St.||Engine 8, Ladder 8||1978||Private Owner|
|64 Amherst St.||Engine 15, Squad 7||1976||Private Residence|
|1197 Niagara St.||Engine 11, Ladder 4||1966||Rich's Outlet Bakery|
|166 Cleveland Ave.||Engine 37, Chemical 5||1966||Private Residence|
|17 Whitfield St.||Engine 30, Precinct 15 Complex||1960||Apartments|
Disbanded BFD Units
Over the years these companies have either been closed due to consolidation of fire districts, new technologies, or for budgetary reasons, or just impractical. In 1953, Engine 29, for example, was a specialized unit. Engine 29 operated a WWII DUKW amphibious surplus vehicle, quartered with Engine 10 on Ganson Street. It was intended to fight fires on the waterfront but proved impractical to use and was phased out after a few years of service.
Engine 23 was the fireboat George R. Potter from 1903 to 1931, which was decommissioned due to the age of the vessel.
Patrol 1 was a converted shop truck that was used for battling brush fires, especially in the Iron Island area of Buffalo. This was in part due to the amount of railroad property traversing the area which proved impassable for larger apparatus. Patrol 1 was manned by Engine 28, however this unit also was deemed "impractical" and was stricken only a few years after its inception in the 1960s.
In the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century the Buffalo Fire Department implemented the use of Chemical Companies. These pieces of apparatus used a specialized soda/foam mixture which was seen as the "better" way to fight fires. Buffalo had 6 chemical companies up until the middle 1920s when they were all either disbanded or changed over to Engines. Chemical 5 on Cleveland Avenue was also the only unit in the department's history to have motorcycles assigned to it.
In 1944, the BFD ordered a dual purpose rig, Quad 6, with 1000GPM pump, hose, and a complement of ladders. It was manufactured by the Buffalo Fire Appliance Corporation. It was quartered with Ladder 10 at 131 Southside Parkway. It proved impractical to run due to its inability to make right turns. Quad 6 was in service for about six years.
In the 1950s the BFD had implemented the use of squad companies, which were first aid responding units. These squad companies were quartered at firehouses across the city, 11 in total. The department had their own surgeon who was their Medical Director.
The first company to close was in 1931 when Engine 14, which was quartered at William Street and Casey Street (current site of Goodwill Industries). It was closed to consolidate with another Engine Company. This was the same year that Ladder 14 was opened at Engine 31's quarters.
In 1981, Engines 18 and 30 were closed due to budgetary constraints. However, due to public outcry, both companies were reinstated with Engine 18 returning to its quarters on Fillmore Avenue, and Engine 30 being stationed with Engine 25, Ladder 10 and B-46 because of the deteriorated nature of their old quarters at 131 Southside Pkwy. Both companies have since been shuttered, in 1994 Engine 30 and 2002 Engine 18.
The last company closed was Engine 24 quartered at Leroy Avenue and Halbert Street. Engine 24 provided 113 years of service to the City of Buffalo, and was closed in early 2006. Ladder 7 was moved from its quarters shared with Engine 24 to new quarters with Engine 34 at Main Street and Mercer Street. At the Citistat Buffalo meeting of 12 July 2007, the idea was brought up of a possible return of a company to the area of where Ladder 12 was quartered, due to increased response times in the North/Delaware Councilmatic districts.That idea never developed.
|Engine 5||Ladder 1||Squad 1||Rescue 2||1st Battalion|
|Engine 6||Ladder 3||Squad 2||Snorkel 1||2nd Battalion|
|Engine 7||Ladder 8||Squad 3||Chemical 1||5th Battalion|
|Engine 8||Ladder 9||Squad 4||Chemical 2||8th Battalion|
|Engine 9||Ladder 11||Squad 5||Chemical 3||9th Battalion|
|Engine 10||Ladder 12||Squad 6||Chemical 4||South Division|
|Engine 11||Ladder 16||Squad 7||Chemical 5||North Division|
|Engine 12||Squad 8||Chemical 6|
|Engine 13||Squad 9||Water Tower 1|
|Engine 14||Squad 10||Water Tower 2|
|Engine 15||Squad 11||Hose Tender 1|
|Engine 16||Hose Tender 2|
|Engine 17||Auxiliary 1|
|Engine 18||Auxiliary 2|
|Engine 24||Auxiliary 3|
|Engine 27||Auxiliary 4|
|Engine 29||Quad 6|
|Engine 30||Patrol 1|
Top Engines for 2011:
Top Ladders for 2011:
Erie County Emergency Services Units Radio Callsigns
The Buffalo Fire Department has many support units within itself. Below is a list of some of the units that make up the BFD and outside agencies.
- Fire Commissioner (C-1)
- Deputy Commissioner (B-51)
- Deputy Commissioner (B-52)
- Deputy Commissioner (B-53)
- Operations Chief (B-55)
- Division Chief (B-56)
- Homeland Security Coordinator (HS-1)
- Department Safety Chief (B-41)
- Department Training Chief (B-42)
- 3rd Battalion Chief (East) (B-43)
- 4th Battalion Chief (West) (B-44)
- 6th Battalion Chief (South) (B-46)
- 7th Battalion Chief (North) (B-47)
- HazMat Captain (F-16)
- EMS Lieutenant (F-20,F-19)
- Training Bureau (F-21,F-22,F-23,F-24)
- Superintendent of Apparatus (F-48)
- Superintendent of Fire Alarms (F-58)
- Head Mechanic (F-49)
- City Engineer (F-39)
- Chief of Communications (F-61)
- Chief of Fire Prevention (F-1)
- Fire Prevention Inspectors (F-1x)
- Department Chaplain (F-72,F-74,F-75)
- Buffalo Fire Marshals Arson Investigation Bureau (F-10,F-11,F-12)
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms (F-13)
- Professional Standards (F-14)
- Mobile Air Unit Trucks (F-7,F-8,F-9)
- Communications Division (F-82,F-84,F-86,F-87,F-88)
- Canteen Truck (F-76)
- Red Cross Coordinator (F-78)
- Repair Shop (F-83,F-85)
- Department Tow Truck (F-2)
- Department Service Truck (F-3)
- Hose Wagon (F-62)
- Hose Wagon (F-63)
- Fuel Tanker (F-65)
- Utility No. 1 (CBRNE 1)
- Utility No. 2 (CBRNE 2)
- Foam Unit 33 (CBRNE 3)
- Utility No. 4 (CBRNE 4)
- Utility No. 5 (CBRNE 5)
- Erie County Emergency Services Commissioner (ES-1)
- Erie County Emergency Services Chaplain (ES-11)
- Erie County Emergency Services Deputy Chaplain (ES-12)
- Erie County Emergency Services Deputy Chaplain (ES-13)
- Erie County Emergency Services EMS Chief (ES-10)
- Erie County Emergency Services Deputy EMS (ES-14)
- Erie County Emergency Services ALS Coord. (MC-11)
- Erie County Emergency Services Command Post (MOCC-1/2/3)
- Erie County Deputy Commissioner Fire Safety (FC-1)
- Erie County Assistant Fire Coordinator (FC-3)
- Erie County Deputy Commissioner Emergency Management (EM-1)
- Erie County SMART 1 (SMART 1)
- Erie County SMART 2 (SMART 2)
- Erie County SMART 3 (SMART 3)
- Erie County Sheriff Helicopter (AIR 1)
The Buffalo Fire Department's Alarm Office is operated out of 332 Ellicott Street in downtown Buffalo. The Alarm Office is staffed mostly by civilian dispatchers, as the department has attempted to phase out uniformed firefighters in the alarm office. The Alarm Office is home to the Communications Division and Radio Repair of the Buffalo Fire Department. These personnel are civilians, who manage not just the communications for the fire department, but also the police, public works, ambulance dispatch, etc.
The Buffalo Fire Department used to send alarms as the FDNY still does in box format. The gong would strike out the call box number. If it was a working fire or an additional alarm was requested, the gong would strike out the box number, and then a 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, or a 6-6 for a General Alarm. A General Alarm is all apparatus in the city, the recall of off duty platoons, and the implementation of mutual aid plans with suburban departments. The Larkin Building Fire of the 1950s was the only General Alarm in the BFD's history.
Today, the Buffalo Fire Department transmits alarms in tone form. Two short tones signify an EMS Call, three short tones signify a Still Alarm or Preliminary Signal. Three long tones signify an Alarm of Fire and four long tones signify a HazMat response.
- Preliminary Signal Assignment(Automated Fire Alarm Activation): 2 Engines, 1 Ladder, 1 Battalion Chief
- Still Alarm Assignment(Investigations, Rubbish Fires, Auto Fires): 1 Engine or 1 Engine, 1 Ladder
- Box(1st) Alarm Assignment(Alarm of Fire/Structure Fire): 3 Engines, 3 Ladders(1 for F.A.S.T.), Rescue 1, 1 Battalion Chief, Division Chief(B-56), EMS Officer(F-20)(Accountability), 1 Mobile Air Unit(F-7, F-8, or F-9), Fire Marshal(F-11)
- 2nd/Greater Alarm Assignment(Upgrade): 3 Engines, 2 Ladders, 1 Battalion Chief, Operations Chief(B-55), Safety Chief(B-41), Canteen Unit(F-76), Deputy Commissioners and Fire Commissioner are notified.
- 3rd Alarm Assignment(Upgrade): 3 Engines, 2 Ladders, 1 Battalion Chief
- 4th Alarm Assignment(Upgrade): 3 Engines, 1 Ladder
- Recall of off Duty Personnel at the request of the Division Chief, but confirmed by the Commissioner or the Duty Deputy.
Motor Vehicle Accident(MVA) Response
- Motor Vehicle Accident(MVA) Assignment: 1 Engine, 1 Ladder
- Motor Vehicle Accident(MVA) on Thurway or 198/33 Expressways Assignment: 1 Engine, 1 Ladder, Rescue 1, 1 Battalion Chief (For responses along Route 5, either Engine 1, Ladder 2 or Engine 4, Ladder 10 typically respond)
- Motor Vehicle Accident(MVA) involving a School Bus Assignment: 1 Engine, 1 Ladder, 1 Battalion Chief, F-20, S.M.A.R.T.(Upon request only)
Special Incident/EMS Response
- EMS Assignment: 1 Engine or 1 Ladder ( Ir closest Engine is out)
- Struck Elevator Assignment: 1 Engine, 1 Ladder, Rescue 1, 1 Battalion Chief
- Collapse Assignment(Building/Industrial Accident/Collapse): 1 Engine, 1 Ladder, Rescue 1, 1 Battalion Chief, Division Chief(B-56), Collapse/Technical Rescue Unit ( with E21/L6, Safety Chief(B-41)
- Level 1 Haz-Mat. Response Assignment: 1st due Engine, 1st due Ladder, Rescue 1, 1 Battalion Chief, Division Chief(B-56), Haz-Mat. Team(Engine 3, 36, Ladder 13, Haz-Mat. 1), Safety Chief(B-41), EMS Officer(F-20)(Accountability), Haz-Mat. Captain(F-16), 1 Mobile Air Unit(F-7, F-8, or F-9)
Buffalo Fire Radio Channels
- Channel 1: 424.225 (Fire Dispatch)
- Channel 2: 424.350 (Fire Ground)
- Channel 3: 423.900 (HazMat Low Portables)
Fallen Buffalo firefighters
Below is a list of all Line of Duty Deaths(LODD's) in the history of the Buffalo Fire Department.
|12/23/1882||Ladder 3||FF. William Smith|
|03/25/1885||Engine 3||FF. George Roth|
|07/21/1887||Engine 6||Captain John Manning|
|02/02/1889||Engine 10||FF. Richard Marion|
|01/13/1890||Engine 6||FF. John Morrissey|
|07/20/1890||Ladder 4||Driver Daniel Shanahan|
|01/23/1891||Engine 4||Captain Adam Fisher|
|01/23/1891||Engine 4||FF. Robert Schneider|
|02/09/1891||Engine 7||Driver Charles Wilson|
|10/07/1893||Engine 9||Engineer Frank McMurray|
|10/15/1893||Engine 23||FF. Charles Harrison|
|01/12/1894||Engine 24||Driver Michael O'Brien|
|04/25/1894||Ladder 7||FF. Joseph Rittling|
|08/16/1896||Ladder 6||FF. John Clarke|
|10/30/1896||Engine 21||Driver William Dickman|
|01/08/1901||Engine 13||FF. William O' Donnell|
|11/01/1901||Engine 6||Lieutenant Henry Devitt|
|11/11/1901||Engine 6||Captain Martin Mahoney|
|05/08/1902||Engine 18||FF. John Kennell|
|12/27/1903||Engine 18||FF. Thomas Donlon|
|05/13/1903||Engine 21||Lieutenant William Clark|
|05/19/1905||Engine 6||Driver Robert Minnis|
|01/28/1907||Engine 8||FF. Stephen Meegan|
|01/28/1907||Engine 8||Lieutenant William Naughton|
|01/28/1907||Engine 4||FF. John Henky|
|01/19/1908||Chemical 5||FF. Daniel O' Connor|
|10/07/1908||Ladder 3||FF. Joseph Schellheimer|
|08/12/1909||Ladder 9||FF. Nathan Riley|
|03/11/1911||Engine 1||FF. William Clinton|
|07/06/1912||Engine 22||FF. Paul Siegert|
|09/18/1914||Engine 8||FF. James O' Brien|
|06/08/1915||Chemical 2||Driver Robert Robinson|
|12/19/1915||Engine 9||FF. Henry Wick|
|09/11/1917||Assistant Chief||Driver Charles Kaiser|
|11/13/1917||Ladder 4||Captain Edward White|
|06/01/1918||Supply Barn||Driver William Roland|
|01/08/1920||Ladder 2||FF. Martin Haley|
|04/15/1921||Engine 9||FF. Raymond Lawrence|
|02/01/1922||4th Battalion Chief||Driver William Farrell|
|02/28/1922||Engine 5||Driver Elmer Cassidy|
|05/06/1922||Engine 19||Engineer William Jones|
|05/09/1923||8th Battalion Chief||Battalion Chief Joseph Nirschel|
|08/07/1923||Engine 24||FF. Harrington Brand|
|09/14/1923||Engine 36||Captain William Kelly|
|08/12/1924||Engine 1||FF. Jacob Gall|
|10/08/1924||Engine 22||FF. Martin Hoelche|
|12/05/1925||Engine 27||FF. Michael Schmidt|
|12/06/1925||Engine 27||Captain Michael McCarthy|
|07/14/1926||Engine 10||FF. John Zahn|
|09/05/1926||Ladder 1||FF. George Carbine|
|01/03/1927||Engine 17||FF. Francis Wolfe|
|07/27/1927||Engine 20||Engineer Thomas Lynch|
|11/07/1928||Ladder 4||FF. James Byers|
|11/07/1928||Ladder 4||FF. Edward Thompson|
|03/21/1929||5th Battalion Chief||Battalion Chief William Hill|
|08/06/1929||Ladder 11||FF. Edwin Hoffman|
|12/18/1929||Engine 2||FF. Raymond Zahm|
|02/09/1931||Engine 9||Lieutenant Francis Masterson|
|02/28/1931||Engine 20||Pilot William Richardson|
|12/11/1932||Engine 22||Captain George Weitz|
|12/11/1932||Engine 22||FF. Rudolph Bethge|
|01/24/1934||Squad 2||Captain George Amos|
|08/31/1934||Telegraph||Lineman William Sheehan|
|12/21/1934||1st Battalion Chief||FF. Edward Hanavan|
|08/28/1935||Squad 1||FF. Matthew Merzig|
|06/29/1936||Ladder 12||Captain Thomas Sullivan|
|02/08/1937||Headquarters||Commissioner John Crotty|
|05/04/1937||1st Battalion Chief||Battalion Chief Walter Mahoney|
|08/02/1939||Engine 36||FF. George Mularky|
|03/20/1940||Engine 36||FF. James Hennessy|
|02/17/1943||Engine 37||FF. George Lyons|
|04/11/1944||Engine 9||FF. Edward Hawkes|
|12/09/1944||Ladder 15||FF. Michael Sheehan|
|06/16/1949||Engine 32||FF. Roy Dodge|
|05/15/1950||Ladder 4||FF. Charles Mooney|
|01/11/1952||Engine 2||FF. Fred McClellan|
|10/18/1952||Engine 34||FF. George Moriarity|
|12/23/1952||Engine 34||Captain William Quinn|
|04/05/1956||2nd Battalion Chief||Battalion Chief James Curtin|
|01/06/1957||North Division Chief||Division Chief William Boland|
|11/05/1960||Engine 30||FF. Harry Smith|
|01/01/1961||Engine 27||FF. Vincent Morana|
|01/27/1961||High Pressure Company||FF. Edward Mulligan|
|05/06/1963||Ladder 6||FF. Frederick Hochhauser|
|09/12/1967||7th Battalion Chief||Battalion Chief Eugene Bowers|
|09/30/1967||Engine 34||Lieutenant Leonard Wood|
|01/03/1968||Ladder 4||FF. Robert Brunner|
|03/22/1970||Engine 15||Lieutenant Thomas Yeates|
|07/25/1972||Ladder 10||FF. John Maloney|
|11/08/1972||Engine 21||Lieutenant Henry Hoffman|
|03/08/1974||Engine 13||FF. Francise Fitzgerald|
|01/07/1975||Engine 9||Lieutenant Burton Winspear|
|07/21/1976||Service Station||FF. Zigmund Klemowski|
|09/09/1976||Engine 34||FF. Daniel Wisniewski|
|04/05/1978||Ladder 9||FF. William Keane|
|09/26/1983||Engine 26||Lieutenant Edmund Chrosniak|
|12/27/1983||Ladder 5||FF. Michael Austin|
|12/27/1983||Ladder 5||FF. Michael Catanzaro|
|12/27/1983||Ladder 5||FF. Matthew Colpoys|
|12/27/1983||Ladder 5||FF. James Lickfield|
|12/27/1983||Ladder 5||FF. Anthony Waszkielewicz|
|07/14/1984||Ladder 9||FF. Francis Hanavan|
|04/13/1985||Engine 3||FF. C. Clifford Preisigke|
|07/29/1985||Ladder 9||FF. Raymond Whalen|
|12/23/1986||Engine 24||Captain Edward Duggan|
|02/02/1988||Engine 24||Lieutenant Michael Gerrie|
|01/28/1991||Ladder 15||Captain Brian Dillon|
|07/04/1997||Engine 33||FF. Michael Sequin|
|04/04/2005||Engine 21||FF. Christopher Dill
|06/30/2005||Ladder 2||Lieutenant William Lewis|
|02/21/2006||Rescue 1||FF. Donald Herbert|
|08/24/2009||Rescue 1||Lieutenant Charles "Chip" McCarthy|
|08/24/2009||Ladder 7||FF. Jonathan "Sim" Croom|
- Toronto Fire Services - historical ties with the former Toronto Fire Department in regards to the Great Fire of 1904.
- The early history of the BFD
- Buffalo Fire Historical Society
- Buffalo Fire Department official site
- IAFF Local 282 BFD Union
- Fireboat Edward M. Cotter