Puerto Rico Firefighters Corps

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Cuerpo de Bomberos de Puerto Rico
Bomberos de Puerto Rico.gif
Voluntad y Sacrificio (Willpower and Sacrifice)
Agency overview
EstablishedMay 9, 1942
Employees900 uniformed
264 civilian
Fire chiefAlberto Cruz
EMS levelBLS
Facilities and equipment
Trucks5 ladders
1 tower

The Puerto Rico Firefighters CorpsSpanish: Cuerpo de Bomberos de Puerto Rico (CBPR)— is the statewide fire department that provides fire protection, rescue, and protection from other hazards in Puerto Rico. It was established in 1942 under the Puerto Rico Fire Services. In addition, it offers fire protection services to all the airports under the authority of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, Rafael Hernández Airport, and Mercedita Airport and they serve as crash rescue divisions. A separate agency, the Puerto Rico Medical Emergency Corps, provides emergency medical services to all Puerto Rico.


Ponce's Parque de Bombas was Puerto Rico's first firehouse and today is a firefighting museum.

Puerto Rico firefighters have their origins in the southern town of Ponce. In 1823, Spanish Governor Miguel De La Torre, became deeply concerned by a large fire that occurred in Ponce, on February 27, 1820. This fire almost destroyed the town. As a result, it became mandatory for every male between 16 and 60 years to be a volunteer firefighter. Firefighters at this time had to provide their own fire-fighting tools such as picks, shovels, and buckets. Unfortunately, this first fire corps saw its decline once Governor De La Torre left his post.

Another major fire occurred in the Playa de Ponce sector of Ponce in 1845. This moved the Conde de Marisol, ruler of the island at that time, to create a new voluntary fire-fighting organization. In 1862, under the auspices of the mayor of Ponce, Luis Quijano Font, the fire corps was reorganized as The Fire Services and Thomas Cladellas was appointed Fire Chief.

In 1879, the Fire Services reorganized again, this time under the leadership of Ponce architect Juan Bertoly. Finally, Puerto Rico's fire fighting force reorganized in a more permanent manner in 1883 while Maximum Meana was mayor of Ponce. It consisted of 400 firefighters. Its officers were Julio Steinacher, Juan Seix (Senior Chief), Oscar Schuch Oliver (Second Chief), and Fernando M. Toro (Head Brigade and Charge of the Academy of Gymnastics).

On January 25, 1899, Pedro Sabater and Rafael Rivera Esbri, were among a group of firefighters fighting a fire in the U.S. powder magazine barracks, near today's Ponce High School in downtown Ponce. There were stored at that location large quantities of bullets, ammunition, and gunpowder. Had the fire reached this munition depot, it would have surely destroyed the whole town. These heroes saved the lives of many people and saved the town of a conflagration.

In 1918, the Mayoral brothers built the first motorized pump in Puerto Rico, using the chassis of a Pope Hartford. In 1930, Raul Gándara joined the Ponce Fire Service as Lieutenant; he would later become Puerto Rico's first Fire Chief.

Island-wide fire services[edit]

In 1942, the Puerto Rico Legislature passed Act #58 of May 9, 1942, also known as "The Fire Service of Puerto Rico Act", in which the Puerto Rico Insular Fire Services was created. The governor of the island at the time, Rexford Guy Towell selected Raul Gandara as fire chief. Mr. Gandara was, at the time, captain of the Ponce Fire Corps.

Later, in 1953, it was called the Puerto Rico Fire Services, because of the new formed Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. By that time, they were using Mack trucks bought from the United States, specialized for fire extinguishing. On December 9, 1993, Law #58 was amended and it was called until this day as the "Cuerpo de Bomberos de Puerto Rico". On May 12, 2010, Carmen I. Rodriguez Diaz became the first woman in the history of the Cuerpo de Bomberos to become Chief of the CBPR.


The CBPR is divided into different businesses and divisions to get a provide more effective fire protection coverage for the communities. These are:

Fire Prevention Bureau[edit]

This program provides firefighting, rescue and emergency and disaster situations, protection from natural disasters and coordinates interaction with other agencies in operations. It also handles emergency calls in situations of accidents, disasters and hazardous materials spill.

As a secondary responsibility to attend the Fire Prevention program acting as a preventive nature, as is the education of young people of school age, "Bomberito" program, guidance on areas and sites of assembly and inspection and elimination of fire hazards and research to determine the origin and causes of these. The 9-1-1 Emergency System, which centralizes emergency calls and faster response to the call of the community. It serves the people in general throughout the island.

Education and Fire Prevention[edit]

This program has the responsibility to develop and implement measures to eliminate fire hazards and educate the community about them. It is also responsible for inspecting industrial, commercial, commercial, institutional, residential, educational workshops, stores and meeting places to ensure compliance with the rules and basic requirements of fire prevention. Under Law 148 of 22 December 1994, empowering the charge for inspection services, reading and endorsement of plans as well as community education on preventive measures and use by the Fire Corps of proceeds.

Training Bureau[edit]

Puerto Rico Fire Fighters at Sugar Pine, Miles Fire, Bella Vista, California, 2018

This program is responsible to train and retrain all members of the Fire Brigade in the latest techniques of fire suppression, prevention, rescue and first aid. This training and retraining program for firefighters and inspectors in the latest fighting techniques and fire prevention. Provides retraining for fire prevention officers and training of employees in private industry. And provides the latest fighting techniques and fire prevention to employees so they are prepared for any emergency.

General Management and Administration[edit]

This program is responsible for planning the work that will fulfill the public policy of the Fire Corps, provisions of its organic law, the Governor's executive orders and other mechanisms to safeguard life and property. It also establishes the procedures to provide management support to implement the planning process and implementation of operational activities of each program. Serves all employees of the Agency to other programs and other government agencies. This program provides accounting, budget, procurement, audit, general services, mail, human resources, information systems, legal, public relations and transportation. This program is located the office of Fire Chief. In establishing this public policy, manages and supports other operational program.

Special Operations Division[edit]

The "Division de Operaciones Especiales" (DOE) (Special Operations Division) is responsible for incidents that require specialized equipment or the emergency is one of nivelcritico for the population, such as large-scale fires, fuel spills or hazardous materials, landslides, searching for people in rubble, among others. All 6 Fire Corps zones have a Special Operations Division station. Your staff is chosen not only for their years of service, but also for their physical and mentales. Every member is trained in fire and accident prevention, search for people in debris, use of specialized equipment, hazardous materials, among others.


The CBPR is divided in various areas. The management area consists of the divisions of Finance and Budget, Purchasing and Supply, Information Systems, Property, General Services and inactive files. The extinction area consists of six (6) areas and (12) twelve Districts. The area of Prevention consists of the Prevention Inspection divisions and Endorsements, Technical Drawings and Certifications, Fire Research and Education at the Community. These divisions are established within six (6) zones. In the Training Area is the Fire Academy and Fire Volunteers. CBPR chain of command is as follows:

  • Fire Chief/Jefe de Bomberos
  • Vice-Chief/Jefe Adjunto
  • Battalion Commander (Chief of Operational Area)/Comandante del Batallón
  • District Chief/Jefe del Distrito
  • Station Captain/Estación Capitán
  • Lieutenant/Teniente
  • Sergeant/Sargento
  • Firefighter/Bombero


no bugles
3 Chevrons
1 bugle
2 either traditionally side by side
or less usually crossed bugles
District Chief
2 either side by side
or more traditionally crossed bugles
Division Chief/ Assistant Deputy Chief
3 crossed bugles
Deputy Chief
4 crossed bugles
Fire Chief
5 crossed bugles

Operational areas[edit]

The Puerto Rico Fire Corps was reorganized in Puerto Rico through General Order 98-1. Under it there are six (6) operational areas located in Aguadilla, Arecibo, Carolina, Caguas, Ponce and San Juan. We also, with eleven (11) districts located in: San Juan, Bayamón, Carolina, Rio Piedras, Caguas, Humacao, Ponce, Guayama, Mayagüez, Aguadilla and Arecibo. The districts will respond to 91 fire stations island-wide are also considered additional District Special Operations Division, which performs functions such as fire-rescue and "First Response" with the ambulance service and medical emergencies.


The Aguadilla Fire Corps area is composed of the districts of Aguadilla and Mayagüez. The district is composed of the stations Aguadilla, Ramey, Aguada, Añasco, San Sebastian, Moca, Rincon and Isabela. It also is composed of the fire divisions of the Ramey Regional Airport and the Aguadilla Special Operations Division or D.O.E. in Spanish. The Mayagüez fire district is composed of the stations of Mayagüez, Las Marias, Maricao, Hormigueros, Cabo Rojo, Boqueron, Lajas, Sabana Grande, San German and the Rosario neighborhood.

Aguadilla Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Unit Special Units Address
Aguadilla District/ D.O.E. Engine 210 Ladder Rescue R-55, Rescue R-54 Severiano Cuevas Ave. #22
Ramey Engine 211 #101 Cliff St. (Near Rafael Hernández Regional Airport)
Aguada Engine 212 #104 Colón St. (PR-115), Downtown Aguada
Rincon Engine Pedro Albizu Campos Ave. (PR-115 km 12.9)
Moca Engine 215 Monseñor José Torres St. (Downtown Moca)
Añasco Engine 231 Rescue 233 PR-402 km. 0.0 Downtown Añasco
Isabela Engine Lorenzo Chico St.
San Sebastian Engine 216 #907 Emérito Estrada Ave.

Mayagüez Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Unit Special Units Address
Mayagüez District Engine 228, Engine 229 Mini Engine, Pump Unit, First Response #50 Nenadich Ave. Downtown Mayagüez
Las Marias Engine #101 Matías Brugman Ave.
Maricao Engine PR-120 km. 22.2
Hormigueros Engine Segundo Ruiz Belvis St. Downtown Hormigueros
Cabo Rojo Engine Barbosa St. (on the end) Downtown Cabo Rojo
Boqueron Engine 96 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Fire Unit PR-101 km. 18.6 (next to the PRPD station)
Lajas Engine 243 #25 Estación St.
Sabana Grande Engine 236 #41 San Isidro St.
San German Engine 241 Forest Unit PR-2/ Castro Perez Ave.
Poblado Rosario Engine Forest Unit Vicente Ramos Colón St. PR-348 km. 9.0


The Arecibo Fire Corps area is composed of the districts of Arecibo and Barceloneta. The district of Arecibo is composed of the stations Arecibo, Camuy, Castaner neighborhood, Lares, Hatillo, Angeles neighborhood, Utuado and Quebradillas. The Barceloneta Fire Corps district is composed of stations Barceloneta, Ciales, Florida, Manatí, Morovis and Vega Baja. It is also the operational area for D.O.E. located at the Barceloneta firehouse.

Arecibo Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Unit Special Units Address
Arecibo District Engine 201 Mini Engine, First Responder Unit, Pump Unit #101 Hostos Ave. (Next to the PRPD regional station)
Camuy Engine Puente Neighborhood
Castañer Engine Cooperativismo St, Lares
Lares Engine 217 Ave. Los Patriotas (PR-111 km. 3.3)
Hatillo Engine 190 #1000 Tulipán St.(In front of PR-2).
Bayaney Mini Engine PR-129 km. 15.2, Hatillo
Angeles Engine Branch Line PR-602 km 0.2, Utuado
Utuado Engine Mini Engine #29 Fernando L. Rivas Dominici Ave. (PR-602), Downtown Utuado
Quebradillas Engine #91 Socorro St.

Barceloneta Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Company Special Units Address
Barceloneta District/ D.O.E. Engine Ladder Rescue R-45, Rescue R-46 PR-2 km. 56.2
Ciales Engine PR-145 km. 12.1, Jaguas neighborhood
Florida Enigne PR-140 km. 55.4 (Next to the PRPD station)
Manatí Engine PR-670 km 2.7 Cotto Sur neighborhood (Next to the coliseum)
Morovis Engine #10 Patron St.
Vega Baja Engine 194 PR-2 km. 38.6


The Caguas Fire Corps area is composed of the districts of Caguas and Humacao. The Fire Corps District of Caguas is composed of the stations Caguas, Gurabo, San Lorenzo, Cayey, Aibonito, Cidra and Aguas Buenas. Is also the district house for the Caguas D.O.E. area. The Fire Department District of Humacao is composed of stations Humacao, Buena Vista, Ceiba, Naguabo, Las Piedras, Yabucoa, Maunabo and Juncos.

Caguas Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Unit Special Units Address
Caguas District Engine 121, Engine 122 Rescue 123, Ladder 124, HAZMAT Unit Rafael Cordero Ave. (Behind the PRPD regional station)
Gurabo Engine 128 Between 1st. Street and PR-9944 (Downtown Gurabo)
San Lorenzo Engine 130 PR-203, Public Safety Complex
Cayey Engine 127 PR-1 km. 54.8
Aibonito Engine 126 Felix Rios St. (Behind the PRPD regional station)
Cidra Engine El Jíbaro Ave./PR-173
Aguas Buenas Engine 124 #2 Muñoz Rivera St.

Humacao Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Unit Special Units Address
Humacao District Engine 141 First Respond FR-2, Rescue Unit #1110 Miguel Casillas St. (In front of City Hall)
Buena Vista (Humacao II) Engine 151 EMT Unit 2159 PR-923, Humacao
Ceiba Engine Felisa Rincon Ave.
Naguabo Engine 154 PR-31 km. 4.4
Las Piedras Engine PR-183 (courner of Felix Lopez St.)
Yabucoa Engine EMT Unit 2112 #95 Catalina Morales St.
Maunabo Engine EMT Unit Kennedy Ave. (next to the hospital)
Juncos Engine PR-935 km. 4.2


The Carolina Fire Corps area is composed of the districts of Carolina and Rio Piedras. The Carolina fire district includes the municipalities in the northeast area of Puerto Rico with the stations Carolina, Loiza, Canóvanas, Rio Grande, Luquillo, Fajardo, Vieques and Culebra. It is also the home for the Luis Muñoz Marin Aircraft Search & Rescue unit. The Rio Piedras fire district covers the southern half portion of the San Juan city limits and the town of Trujillo Alto. Is composed by the stations Rio Piedras, Trujillo Alto, San Jose and Puerto Nuevo. The Rio Piedras station is the busiest station in all of Puerto Rico.

Carolina Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Unit Special Units Address
Carolina District Engine 102 Mini Engine 105, Pump Unit, Oil Spill Unit Roberto Clemente Ave.
Loiza Engine 108 PR-187 km. 10
Canovanas Engine 107 EMT Unit 2124 Corchado St. (next to the PRPD station)
Rio Grande Engine 109 EMT Unit 2177 PR-187R
Luquillo Engine 111 PR-992 Industrial sector
Fajardo Engine 110 #S-66 Ave. Conquistador
Vieques Engine 112 PR-997 km. 0.5
Culebra Engine 113 #317 Escudero St.

Rio Piedras Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Unit Special Units Address
Rio Piedras Engine 57 Pump Unit #56 #62 Tizol St.
Trujillo Alto Engine 58 PR-846 km. 1.1 Public Safety Complex
San Jose Engine 62 Sicilia St./Valverde St., East San Juan
Puerto Nuevo Engine 65 Constitution St./Cadiz St. (Next to the Head Start), West San Juan


The Ponce Fire Corps area is divided into the districts of Ponce and Guayama. The Ponce fire district covers the central and southwestern part of Puerto Rico. It is composed of the stations Ponce Central, Ponce Playa, Ponce El Tuque, Villalba, Juana Díaz, Jayuya, Guanica, Adjuntas, Peñuelas, Guayanilla and Yauco. It's also the home of the Ponce D.O.E. area. The Ponce Fire Corps area saw 1,412 fires in the first 6 weeks of 2011.[1] The Guayama fire district covers the south and southeastern portion of Puerto Rico. Its composed by the stations Guayama Central, Guayama Hostos, Salinas Central, Salinas Coqui, Santa Isabel, Coamo, Arroyo and Patillas.

Ponce Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Unit Special Units Address
Ponce Central District [2] Engine 254, Engine 255 Inspection Unit Miguel Pou Boulevard/Alcazar St.
Ponce Playa (D.O.E.) Ladder Rescue R-15, Hazmat Rescue R-16, Rescue R-17 #80 Hostos Ave.
Ponce El Tuque Engine 263 #2 Ramal St.
Villalba Engine 269 PR-149 km. 56.9 (Felix Luis Hernandez Ave.)
Juana Diaz Engine 271 EMT Unit 2148, 2202 Victor Cruz Rd.
Jayuya Engine PR-141R
Guanica Engine #22 65 de Infantería St.
Adjuntas Engine 265 EMT Unit 2133 #38-A Rodulfo Gonzalez St.
Peñuelas Engine 272 #613 Dr. Loyola St.
Guayanilla Engine 273 #23 Concepcion St.
Yauco Engine 274 Forest Unit #9 Mejias St.

Guayama Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Unit Special Units Address
Guayama District Engine 163, Engine 164 Mini Engine 160, Forest Unit 159, Rescue 150 #100 Principal St.
Coqui Neighborhood Pump Unit 165 #40 Leopoldo Cepeda St., Salinas
Salinas Engine 170 PR-1 (near the Sports Complex)
Arroyo Engine Principal St. (near Jardines de Lafayette housing developments)
Patillas Engine PR-3 km. 122.2
Coamo Engine Luis Muñoz Marin Ave. (Next to the Puerto Rico National Guard barracks)
Santa Isabel Engine #1 Baldorioty St./Celis Aguilera St.

San Juan[edit]

The San Juan Fire Corps area covers the northern portion of the city of San Juan and the northern half of Puerto Rico, from San Juan to Vega Alta. It is divided into two fire districts: San Juan and Bayamón. The San Juan fire district its composed by the stations San Juan Metropolitan (Metro), Barrio Obrero, Cataño, Guaynabo and Hato Rey/D.O.E. Metro. The Bayamón Fire District its composed of the stations Bayamón, Toa Baja, Toa Alta, Naranjito, Dorado, Comerio, Barranquitas, Orocovis, Corozal and Vega Alta.

San Juan Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Unit Ladder Unit Rescue Unit Special Units Address
San Juan Metropolitan (METRO) Engine 40, Engine 41 Mini Engine 45, Pump Unit, Foam Unit, Mobile Command Unit, Inspector Unit Fernandez Juncos Ave. 7 1/2 quarter, Puerta de Tierra, San Juan
Barrio Obrero Engine 60 #418 Professor Ernesto Vigoreaux St. Villa Palmeras
Cataño Engine 91 EMT Unit 2180, Fireboat Unit Olivo St./PR-165 (Next to the Cataño Police station)
Guaynabo Engine 90 PR-837 km. 0.1
D.O.E. Metro (Hato Rey) Ladder Rescue R-5, Tower Rescue Rescue R-6, Heavy Rescue R-7, Hazmat Rescue R-8, Hazmat Wagon R-9 First Response Unit #506 Muñoz Rivera Ave. (West Hato Rey)

Bayamon Fire District[edit]

Firehouse Engine Unit Special Units Address
Bayamon District Engine 80 Mini Engine 84, Pump Unit F Street/3-A Street (Hermanas Davila neighborhood)
South Bayamon Engine 81 PR-167 South Bayamon
Toa Baja Engine 92 #4 Muñoz Rivera Ave.
Toa Alta Engine PR-8861 next to the PRPD station
Naranjito Engine 97 Georgetti St.
Dorado Engine #339 Mendez Vigo St.
Comerio Engine #43 Georgetti St
Barranquitas Engine José Zayas Grin Ave. (next to the Barranquitas Police station)
Orocovis Engine #4 Luis Muñoz Marin Ave.
Corozal Engine Portuguese Sector, Cibuco quarter (Next to PR-159 Bypass)
Vega Alta Engine 95 PR-2 km. 30.7

Notable incidents[edit]

Dupont Plaza fire[edit]

On the evening of December 31, 1986, a group of employees of the Dupont Plaza Hotel in the San Juan tourist district placed opened cans of a flammable liquid commonly used in chafing dishes in a storage room adjacent to the ballroom on the ground floor of the hotel. The employees then ignited the flammable liquid, but the fire quickly burned out of control; then, the fire stated to burn the second floor where the casino was packed of people; and then, thick black smoke covered the rest of the floors. And to make matters worse, the hotel was filled of American tourists and local citizens. Around 3:40 p.m., the nearest firehouse, the San Juan Metropolitan Station received the first call. Later on scene, 14 fire trucks, more than 100 firefighters and 35 ambulances responded to the call. Later that evening, 4 helicopters including National Guard and State Police started airlifting people from the roof top of the hotel to the beach on the back of the hotel. In the end, 97 people died. Most of them died of smoke inhalation, others died burned beyond recognition, and 140 people were injured. The cause of the fire was criminal arson, because of economic problems between employees and employers. This made the Dupont Plaza Hotel arson the most deadly fire In Puerto Rican history.

Gulf Refinery explosion[edit]

The Cataño oil refinery fire on October 23, 2009.
One of the oil tanks in flames.

On October 23, 2009, at 12:23 AM, seven oil storage tanks from the Caribbean Petroleum Corporation (CAPECO) in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, exploded causing an expansive wave from the epicenter into a five-mile radius. Puerto Rico Fire Corps units from the towns of Bayamón, Cataño, and Guaynabo arrived at the scene 15 minutes after the explosion. An hour later, fire units from San Juan, Toa Baja, and the municipal fire units from San Juan, Bayamón, and Carolina arrived to assist in what was considered to be the biggest fire explosion in Puerto Rico's history. The communities of Puente Blanco and Fort Buchanan were evacuated. The explosion was heard as far away as the town of Cidra. On the afternoon of the explosion, units from Ponce, Caguas, and Arecibo joined on the firefight. Governor Luis Fortuño declared a state of emergency on that area, and President Barack Obama separately declared a federal state of emergency in Puerto Rico, clearing the way for federal agencies to coordinate disaster relief and authorizing the use of federal funds. Personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), and the Department of Homeland Security arrived in Puerto Rico starting October 24 to investigate the fire.

The Puerto Rico National Guard was activated to help the local units with logistics in the area. The fire was contained two days later, on the night of October 25. Though there were no deaths, six people were injured including one firefighter who was affected by smoke inhalation. The cause of the explosion is still being investigated. However, many questions have surfaced and the investigation continues without a clear understanding of the events that night.



  1. ^ Bomberos del Sur: Batallan sin tregua a lo largo de región. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  2. ^ Héroes en el mundo: olvidados aquí. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 12 October 2011 ("sic": See date printed on the electronic version of the article). Retrieved 22 December 2011.

External links[edit]