Toronto Fire Services

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Toronto Fire Services (TFS)
Toronto Fire Services Logo.svg
"Courage, Compassion, Service"
Operational area
Country Canada
Agency overview
Established 1874 (as Toronto Fire Department), 1998 (as Toronto Fire Services)
Annual calls 277,807 (2014)
Employees 3,100
Staffing Career
Fire chief Jim Sales
EMS level BLS First Responder
Facilities and equipment
Divisions 4
Battalions 15
Stations 82
Engines 86 (58 pumpers/28 rescue-pumpers)
Quints 30
Tenders 1
Fireboats 2

The Toronto Fire Services (TFS) provides fire protection and first responder or emergency medical responder assistance to the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Toronto Fire Services is currently the largest municipal fire department in Canada.


The Toronto Fire Services was created in 1998 from the merger of the former fire departments of the original City of Toronto, East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York. It is the largest fire department in Canada (ahead of Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa) and the 5th largest municipal fire department in North America behind New York City, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles.


Toronto horse drawn pumper
Transition from horse drawn to motorized vehicles

Fire services in Toronto began in 1874 in the former City of Toronto, and still consisted of volunteer fire companies. Prior to 1874, fire services were composed of poorly trained volunteer companies in the city. The first company was created in 1826 and hook and ladder in 1831. Most were able bodied men who were trained to operate pumps to draw water from the lake.

The city's poor fire fighting services were highlighted by the Great Toronto Fire in 1849 and again in 1904. After the latter fire, which destroyed much of Bay Street from The Esplanade West to Melinda Street, the Fire Department in Toronto became a critical city service and has evolved into the professional service that exists today.

Early fire companies[edit]

  • 1st Engine 1826 at Church Street and Newgate Street (Adelaide Street East), renumbered as Station 5 in 1861 and closed in 1874
  • Independent Fire Company Engine House No. 2
  • York Fire Company 1826 at Fireman's Hall (Church Street and Newgate Street)
  • Hook and Ladder Fire Company 1831
  • Fireman's Hall 1839 at Bay Street 1839; closed 1841
  • Station No. 1 1841; closed 1924
  • 4th Engine House at St. Patrick Market on Queen Street West 1842, closed 1861
  • Hose Company No. 2 at Berkeley Street 1849; closed 1859
  • 7th Engine Company at Elizabeth Street 1857; closed 1859
  • Station No 2 at 163 Portland 1871; closed 1968
  • Station No 3 at 488 Yonge Street 1871; closed 1926
  • Station No 5 at Court Street 1874; closed 1886
  • Station No 6 at 315 Queen Street West 1874; closed 1942

Township Fire Departments[edit]

  • Scarborough Fire Department 1925 - replaced 5 volunteer bucket brigades 1850's[1]
  • North York Fire Department 1923 - merged 7 separate volunteer brigades[2]
  • New Toronto Fire Department 1930 - merged with Etobicoke FD 1967[3]


Former Chief William Stewart

The current Fire Chief is Jim Sales (C1), under whom serve five deputy Chiefs (C2, C3, C4, C5, C50), and four division commanders (C6, C7, C8, C9) - all based at 4330 Dufferin Street, the central headquarters for both Toronto Fire and Toronto Paramedic Services (former headquarters for TEMS and Metro Toronto Ambulance). Former Chief Bill Stewart's retirement was announced on February 13, 2012 and took effect on April 30, 2012. Sales is a former Markham Fire Chief who also worked as a political bureaucrat in Town of Markham and as General Manager with the City of Barrie prior to his appointment.[4]

Previous Chiefs[edit]

With the exception of Sales, Toronto Fire Services and Toronto Fire Department Chiefs have been promoted within the department's ranks.

  • Bill Stewart 2003–2012
  • Alan F. Speed 1997–2003
  • Walter Shanahan 1988–1995, Toronto Fire Department
  • Bernard (Ben) Bonser 1977–1988

Rank Structure[edit]

Toronto Fire Captain
Three firefighters walk beside muddy Lansdowne Avenue, north of Davenport Road, c. 1911
A firefighter walks to the scene of a training simulation with her gear
  • Probationary Firefighter - no rank insignia, wearing a black helmet.
  • Second Class Firefighter
  • First Class Firefighter
  • Captain - company officer in charge of one fire truck and crew - with 2 silver epaulette stripes, and wearing a red helmet.
  • District Chief - command officer responsible for all fire stations within a district (ex. 11 District, or 42 District) - with 2 gold stripes stripes, 'District Chief' marked on the back of his or her bunker jacket, and wearing a white helmet.
  • Platoon Chief - command officer responsible for all fire stations within all four districts of a command (North, East, South, or West) - with 3 gold stripes, and 'Platoon Chief' marked on the back of his or her bunker gear jacket.
  • Division Commander - command officer responsible for all four shifts within one of the geographic divisions of the city - with 3 thick and 1 thin gold stripes, and 'Division Commander' marked on that person's bunker jacket.
  • Deputy Fire Chief - with 4 gold stripes, and "Deputy Chief' marked on his or her bunker jacket.
  • Chief of Department - with 5 gold stripes, and 'Chief' marked on the his or her bunker jacket.


Fire Apparatus[edit]

TFS Aerial 312
TFS Rescue 122
TFS Pumper 334
TFS High-Rise 332

Toronto Fire Department began using motorized vehicles after 1910. Before that, the TFD and previous fire companies used horse drawn engines and ladders. Prior to the 1970s, the TFD had open air vehicles (driver cab not covered and mostly aerial trucks), but since then both the TFD and TFS use full covered vehicles. Prior to the 1950s, TFD used tiller-ladder trucks and since have reverted to smaller aerial units that can operate in narrow streets in Toronto.

The TFS inherited all the vehicles of the fire departments prior to amalgamation. The current strength of TFS consists of 179 vehicles. Since amalgamation, apparatus numbers are numbered by a letter and 3 digits. The first digit stands for the command that the apparatus is in (1-North, 2-East, 3-South, 4-West). The second digit stands for the district within the command that the apparatus is in. The last digit stands for the station within the district within the command that the apparatus is assigned to. For example, Tower 331 is assigned to Station 1 of the 3rd District of the South Command. Spare apparatus are numbered the same except with a fourth digit, 5, to designate the unit as not being frontline. Occasionally secondary units with the same numeric designation are given a letter as a suffix ex. Pumper 335 (P335) and Pumper 335B (P335B).

A list of types of vehicles used by the TFS : (prefix letter in brackets with x's as placeholders)

  • Aerial (Axxx) - most common ladders found in the city; lengths range from 75 to 105 feet (22.86 to 32 metres)
  • Tower (Txxx) - 3 articulated boom ladders, with 2 found in South and 1 in North Command; length 114 feet (34.75 metres); T-XXX was used for 1 vehicle (T114)
  • Platform (PLxxx) - 1 ladder with attached platform, found in West Command; length 95 feet (28.96 metres)
  • Pumper (Pxxx)
  • Rescue (Rescue Pumper) (Rxxx) - a pumper with the addition of extrication equipment (Jaws of Life) and other tools
  • Fireboat (FBxxx) - 2 units, both stationed in Toronto Harbour
  • Hazardous Materials Unit (HZxxx) - 1 in both North and South Commands
  • Hazmat Support Unit (HMSxxx) - towing trailer transporting Club Car utility cars
  • Decontamination Unit (DExxx)
  • Squad (Sxxx) - heavy/technical rescue units, with 2 located in South Command and 1 in each of West, North, and East Commands
  • High Rise Unit (HRxxx) - 1 only, in South Command
  • Water Tanker (WTxxx) - 1 only, in East Command
  • Rapid Attack Vehicle (Van335)
  • All-Terrain Vehicle (ATVx) - used at special events, such as the Canadian National Exhibition
  • Trench Rescue Support Truck (TRSxxx) - 1 only, in East Command
  • Air/Light Unit (LAxxx) - 1 in each Command (A/L 114, A/L 231, A/L 333, A/L 421)
  • District Chief (Cxx)
  • Platoon Chief (Cx0) - 1 in each Command (C10, C20, C30, C40)
  • Division Commander (Cx)
  • Deputy Chief / Fire Chief (Cx)
  • Command Truck (CMDxx) - 3 throughout the city
  • Mechanical Response Unit (MRUxxx)
  • Training Aerial (TRAx) - used by Professional Development and Training
  • Training Pumper (TRPx) - used by Professional Development and Training
  • Spare vehicles (X5xxx) - non-permanent additional vehicles added to station

Fire Boats[edit]

Toronto Fire Boat Sora (ex-Canadian Coast Guard Sora)
Toronto Fire boat William Lyon Mackenzie
RCMP Simmonds with ex-CCG Cape Hurd in Toronto
Main article: Fireboats of Toronto

The Toronto Fire Department and successor Toronto Fire Services has operated fire boats since 1923.

  • Fireboat "Charles A. Reed" - a wood hull boat entered service in 1923 and remained in use until 1964[5]
  • Fireboat "William Lyon Mackenzie" - entered service in 1964 replacing Charles A. Reed; main fire boat and icebreaker
  • Fireboat "Sora" - light utility boat built in 1982 for the Canadian Coast Guard and acquired by TFS in 2006; back up to WL Mackenzie, but lacks icebreaking features. The Sora was retired from TFS on October 31, 2015.
  • Fireboat "William Thornton" - Mid-shore patrol built in 1982 for CCG and acquired by TFS in 2015; has replaced the Sora

Miscellaneous Units[edit]

While not part of the fleet, Box 12 and Support 7 are canteen trucks run by volunteers at the Greater Toronto Multiple Alarm Association, and are present at large emergencies to provide food and beverages for Toronto firefighters. Formed in 1975, the GTMAA vehicles are painted with TFS scheme, but not the logo (using the GTMAA patch instead).

In addition, there are various Hazardous Materials Support trucks and a Trench Rescue Support truck that respond to specialized calls. These trucks are unmanned, and are only used by trained personnel when a specialized call is dispatched. TFS also has a fleet of various mechanical support trucks. Smaller compact cars bearing the TFS colours and logo are driven by fire prevention officers and other commanding officers.

Toronto Fire will also acquire use of the Long Range Acoustic Device. It was one of three purchased by the Toronto Police Service for use during the G20 summit in 2010 (1 for Marine Unit, 2 for Public Safety Unit).[6]

Prior to amalgamation, the Scarborough Fire Department had their fleet painted yellow. In the years following amalgamation the markings on the fire trucks were a patchwork of the various schemes used by the former boroughs. All had "Toronto" decaled or painted where the former borough's name used to be and the new Toronto Fire crest was added with the new numbering scheme. Over the past 12 years - post amalgamation - the majority of the older vehicles have either been retired or repainted to match the new scheme: fire engine red with yellow reflective trim and markings.

Fire Stations/Apparatus[edit]

The Toronto Fire Services (TFS) currently operates out of 83 Fire Stations (including one open seasonally) throughout the city, organized into 16 Districts. Each District is part of one of four geographical divisions of Command. Each geographical division is divided into four Districts, or Battalions.[7][8]

North Command[edit]

Station 135 next to Toronto Paramedic Services Station 18 on Eglinton Avenue West

The North Command's Office (Command 1) is located at Fire Station # 116, 1 Ester Shiner Blvd

District 11[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
111 3200 Bayview Ave. P111, DC11
112 5700 Bathurst St. R112
113 700 Seneca Hill Dr. P113, A113
114 12 Canterbury Pl. P114, T114, LA114, CMD10, PC10
115 115 Parkway Forest Dr. R115
116 1 Esther Shiner Blvd. P116
121 10 William Carson Crst. P121
122 2545 Bayview Ave. R122

District 13[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
123 143 Bond St. P123
125 1109 Leslie St. P125
131 3135 Yonge St. P131, A131
132 476 Lawrence Ave. W. P132, DC13
133 1505 Lawrence Ave. W. P133, A133
134 16 Montgomery Ave. R134
135 641 Eglinton Ave. W. P135, A135

District 14[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
141 4100 Keeley St. P141
142 2753 Jane St. P142, A142, DC14
143 1109 Sheppard Ave. W. P143, S143
145 20 Beffort Rd. P145, HAZ145, HAZS145
146 2220 Jane St. P146

East Command[edit]

The East Command's Office (Command 2) is located at 3 Dohme Ave.

Station 226 in 1911
Station 227 in Toronto's Beaches community

District 21[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
211 900 Tapscott Rd. P211, TK211
212 8500 Sheppard Ave. E. P212, DC21
213 7 Lapsley Rd. A213
214 745 Meadowvale Rd. R214
215 5318 Lawrence Ave. A215

District 22[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
221 2575 Eglinton Ave. P221
222 755 Warden Ave. P222, A222
223 116 Dorset Rd. R223, SUP7
224 1313 Woodbine Ave. R224
225 3600 Danforth Ave. R225, DC22
226 87 Main St. P226, A226
227 1904 Queen St. E. P227

District 23[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
231 740 Markham Rd. R231, A231, LA231, DC23, PC20
232 1550 Midland Rd. P232, S232
233 59 Curlew Dr. P233
234 40 Coronation Dr. P234, DE234
235 200 Bermondsey Rd. R235, TRS235

District 24[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
241 3325 Warden Ave. R241
242 2733 Brimley Rd. P242, DC24
243 4560 Sheppard Ave. R243
244 2340 Birchmount Rd. P244, A224
245 1600 Birchmount Rd. P245

South Command[edit]

Station 311 on Balmoral Avenue
Station 312, the oldest active station operated by Toronto Fire Services
Station 321. The wire cutting across the picture is a reminder of the dangers of electrical fires.
Station 325 is always ready
Station 326 is a training facility
Command 30 at a large fire on Yonge Street
Station 333 on Front Street
Station 344 on Howland Avenue
Station 346 at the Canadian National Exhibition

The South Command's Office (Command 3) is located at Fire Station # 332, 260 Adelaide St. W.

District 31[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
311 20 Balmoral Ave. P311
312 34 Yorkville Ave. P312, A312, DC31
313 441 Bloor St. E. P313, S313
314 12 Grosvenor St. P314
315 132 Bellevue Ave. P315, A315

District 32[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
321 231 McRae Dr. R321, A321
322 256 Cosburn Ave. P332, A332
323 153 Chatham Ave. P323, DC32
324 840 Gerrard St. E. P324, A324
325 475 Dundas St. E. P325, R325, A325
326 30 Knox Ave. R326

District 33[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
331 33 Claremont St. P331, S331, T331
332 260 Adelaide St. W. P332, HR332, HAZ332, HAZS332, DC33, PC30, CMD30
333 207 Front St. E. P333, T333, LA333
334 339 Queens Quay. W. P334, FB334
335 235 Cibola Ave, Toronto Island P335, P335B, VAN335

District 34[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
341 555 Oakwood Ave. R341, A341
342 106 Ascot Ave. P342
343 65 Hendrick Ave. P343
344 240 Howland Ave. P344
345 1285 Dufferin St. R345, A345, DC34, BOX12
346 Canadian National Exhibition P346 (Seasonal)

West Command[edit]

Station 424 on Runnymede Road
Station 425 in Swansea
Station 431 in Etobicoke

The West Command's Office (Command 4) is located at Fire Station # 442, 2015 Lawrence Ave. W.

District 41[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
411 75 Toryork Dr. R411, A411
412 267 Humberline Dr. R412
413 1549 Albion Rd. R413
415 2120 Kipling Ave. P415, A415, DC41

District 42[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
421 6 Lambton Ave. R421, A421, LA421
422 590 Jane St. P422
423 358 Keele St. R423, A423, DC42
425 83 Deforest Rd. R425
426 140 Lansdowne Ave. P426, R426, A426

District 43[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
431 308 Prince Edward Dr. P431
432 155 The East Mall P432, PL432, DC43
433 615 Royal York Rd. P433, A433
434 3 Lunness Ave. R434
435 130 Eighth St. R435

District 44[edit]

Station # Station Address Apparatus/Callsigns
441 947 Martin Grove Rd. R441, A441
442 2015 Lawrence Ave. W. P442
443 1724 Islington Ave. P443
444 666 Renforth Dr. R444
445 280 Burnhathorpe Rd. P445, S445, DC44, PC40

Apparatus Glossary[edit]

  • Pumper (P) - Standard pumper truck
  • Rescue (R) - Rescue pumper truck
  • Aerial (A) - Standard rear-mount ladder quint
  • Tower (T) - Articulating platform ladder quint
  • Platform (PL) - Standard rear-mount ladder quint w. attached platform
  • Squad (S) - Technical heavy rescue
  • High Rise (HR) - High rise incident support truck
  • Hazmat (HAZ) - Hazardous Incident Team
  • Fire Boat (FB)
  • Command Vehicle (CMD) - Walk-in command van
  • District Chief (DC) - District Chief SUV
  • Platoon Chief (PC) - Platoon Chief SUV
  • Air/Light (LA) - Air/Light support vehicle
  • Trench Rescue Support (TRS) - Trench Rescue support vehicle
  • Hazmat Support (HAZS) - Hazardous Incident Team support vehicle
  • Canteen Vehicle (SUP7) - Long-term incident refreshment van
  • Canteen Vehicle (BOX12) - Long-term incident refreshment van
  • Decontamination (DE)


Response Guidelines[edit]

Toronto firefighters responding to a house fire on Donlands Avenue
Toronto Fire on scene of a multi-alarm blaze in the Yorkville neighbourhood
Battling a five-alarm fire in The Junction, 2012

Structure/Building Fires[edit]

Alarm Type Alarm Level Units Assigned
Structure Fire 1st Alarm Assignment 3 Pumpers/Rescues, 1 Aerial/Tower, 1 District Chief, High Rise Unit(if in High Rise Building)
Working Fire 1st Alarm Assignment, *Upgrade* 2 Pumpers/Rescues (1 R.I.T.), 1 Aerial/Tower, 1 Squad, 1 Platoon Chief, 1 Air & Light Unit
2nd Alarm Fire 2nd Alarm Assignment, *Upgrade* 4 Pumpers/Rescues, 1 Aerial/Tower, 1 Squad, 1 District Chief, 1 Platoon Chief, 1 Haz-Mat. Unit, 1 Air & Lighting Unit, 1 Command Unit
3rd Alarm Fire 3rd Alarm Assignment, *Upgrade* 4 Pumpers/Rescues, 1 Aerial/Tower, 1 District Chief
4th Alarm Fire 4th Alarm Assignment, *Upgrade* 2 Pumpers/Rescues, 1 Aerial/Tower, 1 District Chief, 1 Air & Lighting Unit
5th Alarm Fire 5th Alarm Assignment, *Upgrade* 2 Pumpers/Rescues, 1 Aerial/Tower, 1 District Chief


  • Starfield Lion Flame Fighter - current bunker gear
  • Traditional Composite Firefighting Helmet

Budget Cuts, Vehicle Reduction, Station Closure[edit]

As part of the City's 2013 Budget plans, the City of Toronto demanded a 10% cut by all city departments. TFS has recommended vehicle reduction at several stations (Stations 213, 215, 324 and 413) and one station to close (Station 424) to meet the 10% reduction target.[9] As well the cuts will lead to fewer firefighters on staff.[9]

See also[edit]

Other members of the Toronto's Emergency Services structure consists of:

Other agencies with historic ties to the TFD and TFS:


  1. ^ "History". Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ "North York F.D. Information". Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ "New Toronto Fire Department". Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ Doolittle, Robyn (July 12, 2012). "Toronto’s new fire chief a top bureaucrat from Barrie". The Toronto Star. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  5. ^ Discover & explore Toronto's waterfront, Mike Filey, pp34
  6. ^ Police Will Keep G20 Sound Cannons
  7. ^ "Fire Station Locations - Toronto Fire Services - Emergency Services | City of Toronto". Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b CBC News  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]