The Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) has received a $22.4 million federal grant to help reopen three fire companies that have been closed for nearly 15 years.
Engine 6, Ladder 1 and Ladder 11 will return to serve neighborhoods including Kensington, Fishtown, Port Richmond, Fairmount, Spring Garden, Francisville, East Passyunk and South Philly. The exact timeline for restoring each unit is still being developed.
“This critical funding will enable us to strengthen emergency response in communities that have seen huge growth in recent years,” said Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel. “Moreover, as one of the busiest fire and EMS agencies in the nation, reopening these companies will increase the PFD’s overall capacity to provide dedicated service across the city 24x7x365.”
The grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency was awarded in September through its extremely competitive program known as SAFER – Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.
The PFD will use the funding to hire, train and pay 72 firefighter/EMTs for three years. After that, the personnel costs will be covered by the City of Philadelphia.
“The Fire Department responds at a moment’s notice to all types of emergencies — from house fires and gas leaks to car accidents, medical calls and building collapses,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Putting these companies back in service is the right thing to do for our residents, visitors and businesses.”
Engine 6 (2601 Belgrade St.), Ladder 1 (16th & Parrish) and Ladder 11 (12th & Reed) were among seven companies deactivated on January 5, 2009 during the Recession. All had been in service for more than a century, according to Fireman’s Hall Museum, which keeps the history of the PFD.
The other four companies closed in 2009 – Engine 1 (South Philly/Center City), Engine 8 (Old City), Engine 14 (Frankford) and Engine 39 (Roxborough) – were restored in 2019, also made possible by a SAFER grant.
The PFD responded to about 880 emergency incidents per day in Fiscal Year 2023, for an annual total of nearly 53,000 fire incidents and more than 268,000 EMS incidents.