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Updated On: Jul 25, 2011

History of McKeesport Fire Department

  • The first McKeesport fire department was established in the Borough of McKeesport in 1873, and was known as the Eagle Volunteer Fire Company.
  • In 1885, McKeesport established a fire department by hiring one man. He was responsible for one hose reel and a hook and ladder.
  • The first business house fire was in 1854 at Patton's Store on Second and Market Streets.
  • On October 4, 1877, the City had a major conflagaration when the Enterprise Foundry and Car Shop at Fifth Ave. and Walnut Street caught fire. The blaze spread quickly and damaged 32 buildings.
  • In 1877, the City's first fire alarm system was installed.
  • In the fall of 1892, the #2 fire station was built on Fifth Ave. in the East End section of the City. This station cost the City $43,000. Station #2 was razed due to a construction project in the 1950's, and was temporarily housed at Lowery's Garage. A new station was built  on East Fifth Ave. in January of 1950.  It still stands today next to the on-ramp the Duquesne-McKeesport Bridge.
  • Also in the fall of 1892, the #3 fire station was built at Evans Ave. and Bailie Ave. This station also cost the City $43,000. This station was demolished and a new station built in April of 1960. In January of 1976 this station closed, and was sold several years later.
  • The first offically recorded fire was the City Flour Mill on Jerome Street, December 9,1887, damage estimated at $60,000.
  • In 1893, the Central Fire Station was constructed on Market Street and Fourth Ave. The cost of construction was $30,000. The buildind was later demolished in the 1950's by the City's redevelopement program.
  • In 1914, the first motor vehicle was placed in service at the Central Fire Station.
  • In 1919, the City purchased a 65 ft. aerial ladder and a 750 gallon pummper for the Central Station, a 750 gallon pumper for Station #2, and a service ladder truck and a 750 gallon pumper for Station #3. The total cost of the purchase was $55,000.
  • In 19__, Station #4 was established in the City's Grandview section. This station operated the only horse drawn apparatus until 1925 when the horses were replaced with motorized equipment.
  • In 1919, a two platoon system was adopted by the department. Prior to that time, firefighters worked 24 hours a day with time off for their meals and one day off every 10 days.
  • Before 1938, firefighters worked 7 days a week, and on Sundays worked 24 hours straight when they changed from day to night shifts. On March 10, 1938, firefighters were given a day off each week by a change in state law.
  • In 1951, Fire Inspector William Jackson met with  officials from the Association of Fire Underwriters to discuss scheduling, vacation allotments, and to see if placing the department firefighters on 8 hour shifts would effect the city's insurance rating.
  • On July 1, 1951, state officials approved the departments plan to put its firefighters on 8 hour shifts, and 13 new firefighters were hired.
  • In 1981, the fire department switched to a 4 platoon system working 24 hour shifts with 72 hours off. This system remains in effect today, and has allowed the City to reduce the number of firefighters needed to manage the department.
  • In 1991(?) the current Station #2 on Eden Park Blvd in Renzie Park was opened.
  • In Novemeber of 2005, the first part-time firefighters in the history of the department were hired.
  • On April 11, 2007 a Fallen Firefighters Memorial was dedicated outside Station #2.
  • During the summer of 2007, the majority of the department participated in a pilot program for off-site firefighter certification testing.  At the conclusion of this program, the vast majority of the firefighters were Firefighter 2 certified.
  • In late 2010, the City took delivery of brand new, purpose built fire/rescue boat to enhance the department's water rescue program.
  • In 2011, several members of the department completed training to become certified at the Technician Level for water rescue.  The Fire Department also became a participating member of the Allegheny County Swiftwater/Flood Response Team.

McKeesport Firefighters
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