LADDER 115 QUEENS ORGANIZED AS LADDER 1, LONG ISLAND CITY F. D. ORG. 12-16 47th Rd(178 7th St)FQ Vol. (Jan.1,1891) CHANGE To Ladder 1, FDNY (Jan. 28, 1898) CHANGE To Ladder 65 (Oct. 1, 1899) NQRTS. 10-42 47th St(138 8th St)W/ E-158 (Sep. 3, 1904) CHANGE To Organize Ladder 115
Long Island City was chartered in 1870 with the combining of the neighborhoods of Hunter’s Point, Dutch Kills, Blissville, Ravenswood, Steinway, and Astoria. By 1891 when a professional fire department was put in place, there were over 20 volunteer fire companies that protected L.I. City, many of which were in service since the 1860s, and all disbanded by January 1, 1891.
Ladder 115 was established February 12, 1891 as Hook & Ladder No.. 1 of the Long Island City Fire Department in a wood-frame shed at Vernon & Borden Avenues with a used ladder wagon. It was the first truck company in the new department and likely replaced “Live Oak Truck No. 2”, a volunteer company of Hunter’s Point. In August 1893, Ladder Co. 1 occupied a leased 2-story brick firehouse at 178 7th Street (now 12-16 47th Rd) which was the rear of Engine Co. 1’s quarters that fronted on Jackson Avenue, and a few months later an 1889 Gleason & Bailey ladder truck was placed in service.
The fire department was under-staffed, underpaid, and very inadequate for the population of L.I. City and the frequent multiple-alarm fires fought in the area. By 1897, budget cuts reduced the fire department from 6 engines and 3 trucks down to 3 engines and 1 truck, manned by a total of just forty men that worked around the clock. This one truck company was Ladder 1, which responded to boxes throughout the entire city from the East River into Sunnyside and Newtown Creek through Astoria. The truck soon had to reduce it’s responses to reports of structural fires only, as these companies were kept busy by fires at tenements, lumber yards, oil refineries, row-frames, and factories.
In January 1898, the Fire Departments of Brooklyn & Long Island City merged with the F.D.N.Y. At the time of the merge, Brooklyn Fire Department had 57 engines and 14 trucks, so Engine 1 & Hook & Ladder 1 of L.I. City became Engine 58 & Ladder 15 of the F.D.N.Y.’s newly created 35th Battalion. This caused confusion with companies in Manhattan so by the end of 1899, one-hundred numbers had been added to every engine, and fifty numbers added to every truck in Brooklyn & Queens, creating Engine 158 & Ladder 65. The leased quarters of the two companies were in disrepair and the unsanitary conditions were a menace to the men. By 1900, the commissioner had set aside money to build a new firehouse a few blocks away at 136 8th Street (now 10-40 47th Ave) to house both companies and the Battalion Chief. The house was completed in 1904 at a cost of $20,000 and Engine 158/Ladder 65 occupied it on September 3rd of that year. In 1913 as the Fire Department expanded, another one-hundred numbers were added to engines and fifty added to trucks in Queens. Engine 158 became Engine 258, and Ladder 65 became Ladder 115.Go to page 2