Ladder 11 is back in service in South Philadelphia after a 15-year absence. At the 12th Street station on Saturday, April 6, dozens of PFD members, community partners, friends, family, and retired Ladder 11 members gathered to mark the occasion.

The reinstatement event included remarks from state and local representatives, a symbolic ladder hoist onto the apparatus, and a ceremonial first call on the radios. The day was extra special because it marked the 60th anniversary of when Ladder 11 and Engine 10 first moved into that firehouse.


Past and present members of Ladder 11 pose in front of the returning apparatus.

“This has been a long time coming. The fire department is a family. And that family doesn’t just include the members of the fire department, it also includes the community that we serve. When companies go out of service, it has a devastating effect on that community,” said Acting Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy. “The firehouse is normally a place of refuge. You develop relationships in that community that only happen there. When you take that away, you lose a lot more than just protection.”

Mayor Cherelle L. Parker, who has pledged to make Philadelphia a safer, cleaner, and greener city, with economic opportunity for all – also celebrated the company’s return.

“When our residents are looking out across the city, they know that they deserve to have high-quality protection and it starts with public safety,” Mayor Parker said. “It’s important for members of this department too. When you all are running into burning buildings, rescuing people, and providing life-saving emergency care – who watches your back? I want you to know I think about those things.”

The restoration of Ladder 11 is made possible through a $22.4 million FEMA grant. The SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) funding also enabled the City to reopen Ladder 1 in Francisville in December; in addition, it will allow the PFD to restore Engine 6 in Port Richmond/Fishtown/Kensington (timeline TBD).

Ladder 11, Ladder 1 and Engine 6 were among seven companies deactivated on January 5, 2009 during the Recession. All seven 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 – 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 Fireman's Hall Museum has a page dedicated to Ladder 11 and its history.