1872 to 1997

By Mike Boucher S.I. CO

W illiamsburg was first settled in 1660 when Dutch framers laid out farms.

The City of Brooklyn annexed the Village of Williamsburg in 1855.

This new area would become known has the "Eastern District". Five years after the end Civil War, Brooklyn replaced its volunteer fire department with a fully paid department. Thirteen engine companies and six ladder companies would replace the sixty-three volunteer fire companies. The Eastern District would include Engines 11 (now 211), 12 (212), 13 (213 and Ladders 4 (104), 5 (105), and 6 (106).

In 1872 America looked and acted a little different than today. The United States had only 37 states in the Union. Ulysses S. Grant would be elected to his second term as the President of the United States.

The Transcontinental Railroad linking the East Coast with the West Coast was three years old and Indian Wars on the Great Plains was just beginning.

Famous names familiar to us today were unknown in 1872; Alexander Graham Bell, General George Custer, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers.

The Brooklyn Fire Department would remain the same that year.

Engine 2 (202) and Ladder 1 (101) were combined into a new house, the first for the BFD. They also would add three new engine companies to the growing City. Engine 14 (214) was placed in service on July 4 in a new house.

On Sept 15, 1872, the BFD placed two new fire companies in service in the Greenpoint and Williamsburg sections. The population of these two areas was spreading out further from the center of town as new people moved into the area. With this migration the fire department needed more companies. Engine 15(215) was located in Greenpoint and Engine 16(216) in the southern section of Williamsburg.

The fire protection in Williamsburg was provided by Ladder 5 (105), located at Manhattan Avenue and Ten Eyck Street, Engine 13 (213) at Powers Street and Graham. Ladder 4 (104) was in the center of Williamsburg on S. 3rd Street. Engine 16 was placed in the former volunteer quarters of Eagle Engine Company No. 6, located on Stagg Street near Union. The house was built around 1854 for Bucket Company 6 and Engine 6 moved into the house replacing the Bucket Company a short time later. Around the corner on Scholes Street was Continental Hose 6.

During 1873 Ladder 5 (105) was disbanded, leaving the area with only Ladder 4 (104) to the north. Five years after Engine 16 was organized the Fire Department placed Engine 18 (218) in service at 112 Seigel Street on November 30, 1877. The need for a ladder company in this section of Williamsburg was great and ladder 8 (108) replaced Engine 18 on Seigel Street. Engine 18 was moved to new quarters at 650 Hart Street on December 1, 1887.

The old house of Engine 16 was in such dilapidated condition that plans for a new house were drawn up. The former house of Continental Hose 6 on Scholes was torn down and a new fire station was built. The lot was purchased from Mark Fowler and his wife for $800 on July 18, 1856. In 1893 Engine 16 moved into the new building at 16 Scholes Street. The two-story house cost $10,000 to build on the 25 x 100-foot lot.

The fire station was the standard style Brooklyn house. The first floor had room for the apparatus and stalls for the horses. In the rear was the feed room and horse supplies. The house watch was located up front and on one side wall were the racks for drying out the hoses.

Upstairs had three rooms, one room for the officer, a bunkroom with built in lockers for the firemen and a recreation room.

One hundred and twenty-five years ago the fireman life was a hard one. He would work 24 hours a day for seven days and have the eight day off. He could go home for meals twice a day. During his hours firehouse the time was taken up with housewatch duty, hydrant inspection, messenger service, detail to other companies for meals, house cleaning chores, and taking care of the horses. The salary for a first grade fireman was $700 a year or $13.46 a week for the 168 hour work week.

The Cities of New York (including the Bronx), Brooklyn, Long Island City, parts of Western Queens, and Staten Island merged into the five Boroughs of New York City on January 1, 1898. Engine 16 officially became part of the FDNY on January 28th. On October 1, 1899, Engine 16 was renumbered to Engine 116 to avoid confusion with Engine 16 in Manhattan. The ladder companies were given fifty to their number and Ladder 1 became Ladder 51. Engine 116 was renumbered to Engine 216 on January 1, 1913.

After WW II the Fire Department started a rebuilding program. The front wall of Engine 216 cracking and needed replacing. It's not known when it was rebuilt but it gave the house a new look. By the late fifties the station was in need of being replaced. A study on fire station locations also recommended that many stations could be closed and the companies combined. One of these studies recommended that Engine 237 and Ladder 108 be relocated into a new house on Seigel Street near White Street and Bushwick Avenue. A new combined fire and police station was built at 187 Union Avenue off of Broadway. Ladder 108 moved in on August 9, 1971 along with Battalion 35. Engine 216 relocated from Scholes Street on October 13, 1971.

Engine 216 has had four members of the company receiving medals for acts of bravery. Fireman Frederick Schultz received the Brooklyn Citizens Medal for rescuing a woman and her two children from a fire at 190 Meserole Street on January 17, 1905. The Walter Scott Medal was awarded to Fireman John C. Baal on July 1, 1967. He rescued a man from a window via a scaling ladder at 53 Scholes Street.

While off duty Fireman Andrew J. Ashurst received the LaGuardia Medal for his rescue of four people from 393 S. 3rd Street on January 20, 1969.

Lieutenant Williams H. Hayes rescued six occupants of 164 Havemeyer Street on July 11, 1992 and was awarded the Trevor - Warren Medal. He was doing a mutual in Ladder 108 when he made his rescue. Beside these four medals the Company have earned a total of fifteen Unit Citations.

Tragedy struck the company twice with members losing their lives during the performance of their duty. On January 14, 1880, Captain William Baldwin was injured while fighting a fire in Otto Huber Brewery, a three story wood frame building, at 263 Montrose Avenue. The fire was out in less than thirty minutes, and was being placed under control, when without warning, the rear of the building collapsed. Six firemen were injured in the collapse with two being serious. Captain Baldwin was trapped under a beam and received internal injuries along with cuts and bruises. He was removed to St. Catherine's Hospital where he died on January 20 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery. Captain Baldwin lived at 422 South 4th Street and left a wife and three children. He joined the Department in 1872 and had been the Captain of Engine 16 since 1875.

Baldwin was the first member of the Brooklyn Fire Department to lose his life in the line of duty.

The second member to lose his life was Lieutenant Raymond Schiebel of Engine 221. He was working overtime in Engine 216 on the night of March 5, 1995. The company was operating at 128 Hayward Street in a heavy smoke condition when Lt. Schiebel suffered a heart attack. He died on March 7 from the effects of the heart attack. He lived in Bethpage, Long Island with his wife and three children.

Engine 216 has served the Community of Williamsburg faithfully for the past 125 years. No matter what the need was, a fire, or emergency the Company was always ready to protect the citizens of New York City.


18?? Amoskeag 2nd size steamer

1869 Amoskeag 2 wheel hose wagon, rebuilt in 1884

1882 Amoskeag 2nd size steamer

1894 Amoskeag 2nd size steamer

1895 Marlborough hose wagon

1901 LaFrance 3rd size steamer

1901 P. J. Barrett hose wagon

1921 American LaFrance 700 gpm pumper, Oct. 20, 1921

1927 International/Pirsch hose wagon, Nov. 7, 1927

1938 Ward LaFrance hose wagon, June 17, 1938

1939 Ward LaFrance 1000 gpm pumper, Jan. 28, 1939

1947 Mack 750 gpm used as hose wagon, Feb.16, 1954

1946 Ward LaFrance 750 gpm used as hose wagon, July 2, 1959

1960 Ward LaFrance 1000 gpm pumper, Sep. 9, 1960

1968 Mack 1000 gpm pumper, Mar. 20, 1969

1972 Mack 1000 gpm pumper, Dec. 4, 1972

1975 Mack 1000 gpm pumper, Oct. 9, 1975

1980 American LaFrance 1000 gpm pumper, Apr. 14, 1981

1986 Mack/Ward 79 1000 gpm pumper, Jan. 14, 1987


96 Boerum Street Box 253 Dec. 3, 1959 2300 hours

136 Scholes Street Box 2-2 256 Jan. 15, 1972 0652 hours

387 S. 5th Street Box 235 Mar. 11, 1972 1629 hours

63 Heyward Street Box 2-2 339 Dec. 20. 1972 0001 hours

225-227 Division Street Box 75-313 Feb. 17, 1974 1300 hours

161 Penn Street Box 2-2 2591 June 27, 1974 2234 hours

124 Maujer Street Box 75-258 April 19, 1976 0006 hours

207 Seigel Street Box 75-270 Dec. 31, 1977 1530 hours

433 Lorimer Street Box 2-2-246 Jan. 23, 1978 1015 hours

89 Moore Street Box 75-344 June 18, 1978 0205 hours

392 Lorimer Street Box 2-2 248 Dec. 20, 1978 0441 hours

274 Keap Street Box 2-2 322 Mar. 12, 1979 0908 hours

366 S. 5th Street Box 75-233 June 29, 1983 2003 hours

514 Metropolitan Avenue Box 2-2 138 Oct. 11, 1988 2118 hours

12 Stagg Street Box 75-239 Mar. 15, 1997 0053 hours



Foreman Thomas Cleary

Assistant Foreman John O'Brien

FF. Philip Bailey

FF. Joseph Briscoe

FF. Thomas Boland

FF. William C. Bonner

FF. Thomas J. Flaherty

FF. John Hineson

FF. William H. McCort

FF. Andrew Taylor

FF. Abram L. Turner


Capt. David J. Smith

Lt. Robert J. Pallazolo

Lt. Edward T. Linehan

Lt. Thomas J. Hosford

FF. Douglas J. Adams

FF. Christopher Barry

FF. Kevin P. Baylor

FF. William R. Boyd

FF. Kenneth Collins

FF. Phillp J. Davey

FF. Donald C. Ferguson

FF. Bruce M. Foss

FF. William R. Hasseck

FF. Robert J. Hillery

FF. Michael McCaffrey

FF. Timothy P. McGuinness

FF. Robert P. Miuccio

FF. Edward O. Murray

FF. Thomas A. Montalbano

FF. Lawrence J. Naddeo

FF. John R. Orlando

FF. Keith E. Radigan

FF. Anthony T. Sanseviro

FF. John C. Schatzle

FF. Daniel Suhr

FF. James M. Tierney

FF. Daniel R. Walker

FF. William V. Whelan

FF. Vincent Yemma

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