Old Firehouses of Buffalo, NY

Imagine Buffalo back in the mid-twentieth century: its population near peak, each district still vibrant and possessing that "neighborhood feeling", people walking the main streets passing local businesses. Each of these neighborhoods (Blackrock, Elmwood Village, Fillmore Avenue, etc) had one thing in common: their own fire station. As Buffalo grew in population and neighborhoods densified, many of these single and dual bay stations were constructed in the heart of each area as residents and businesses demanded fire protection by the city. 
In 1880, there were over 180 firemen, 81 horses, 14 steamers, 15 hose carts, five chemical wagons (pressurized water tanks built and maintained at the Chemical Stations), three hook & ladder stations, and 24,500' of leather hose. By 1900, the Department had quickly grown to 26 Engines, nine Hook & Ladders, six Battalion Chiefs, five Chemical companies (Chemical 5 the sole remainder) and two Fireboats. Many of these historic firehouses remain today, some dating back to the late 1870's and 1880's. Below is a collection of all the historic firehouses remaining within the city limits, with a bit of history and information on each!

Lead image: Engine 26 located at 703 Tonawanda Street in the Riverside neighborhood. Built in 1894 and still active today!

Engine 16 (old) located at 1416 Main Street. Built in 1884 and served as a fire house until 1991. Engine 16 is one of the oldest remaining fire houses from this era, which also served as North Division Chief (B-56) for the city. The current Engine 16 is now located on Jefferson near Kingsley a few blocks east. Shortly after its closing, the building was converted to apartments for low income veterans, as well as office space on the first floor. To the right of the building was the long time home for WKBW-TV studios, to the left was the NFTA Transit Police headquarters.

Engine 28 located at 1174 Lovejoy Street in Iron Island. Built in 1897, this station is still active and proudly serving the Lovejoy community. It is one of three Buffalo firehouses with the dual turret build design (the other surviving example is the lead image, Engine 26 in Riverside and Engine 27, which was unfortunately lost due to demo on Johnson Street off Broadway). 

Engine 18 located at 1032 Fillmore Avenue. Built in 1886 by architect Hugh Macdiarmid. It permanently closed as a fire station in 2003 and served as offices and a training facility for the BFD until a few years ago. It is now privately owned and was renovated by the owner to use as commercial space, which is currently available.

Engine 24 (Squad 6, Hook & Ladder 7) located at 110 Leroy Avenue. Built in 1894 and designed by the famous E.B. Green. This station served Buffalo for over 113 years until it permanently closed in 2006. In 2014, VP of Ciminelli Real Estate John Ciminelli went into contract to make this his personal home. 

Engine 33 (old) (B45 Battalion 5) located at 273 Kehr Street. Unsure of build date, have seen county records dating back to 1907 but I suspect this building is from the 1880s or 1890s like many of the other single or dual bay stations. The firehouse was closed in 2005 and today it's used by a local Baptist Church. 

Hook & Ladder 12 located at 395 Amherst Street in the Black Rock neighborhood. Completed in December of 1913 and was the last Ladder in Buffalo to serve as it's own quarters. The station closed around 2005 and is currently privately owned and used as a residence. The owners put up a Facebook page that has some great old photos of the BFD who operated out of this station: https://www.facebook.com/Hook-Ladder-No12-818549361583272/

Engine 19 located at 209 Forest Avenue. Built in 1887 and designed in an Eastlake style by Hugh Macdiarmid, Engine 19 is the oldest continually operating fire house in Buffalo! In 2018, the building was designated a local landmark. 

Hook & Ladder 10 (Quad 6) located at 131 Southside Parkway in South Buffalo. Built in 1907, the station was closed in 1981 and in the 1990s was converted to six apartments which are still occupied today. Ladder 10 was based here until 1960, but this station also housed Engine 25, Squad 2 and B-46, and eventually Engine 30 before it closed. 

Engine 35, Hook & Ladder 15 located at 1512 Clinton Street. If you've visited the Clinton Bailey Market, you've likely seen this station across the street. It's still an active station and is essential in serving Buffalo's East Side. Built in 1913.

Engine 2, Hook & Ladder 9 (Squad 11) located at 306 Jersey Street. Built in 1874, the station is 12,400 square feet and a brick Second Empire-style, designed by Cyrus K. Porter and George Watkins. The station was built on land donated to the city by William G. Fargo and is the oldest remaining firehouse left in the city. The station closed in 1997 and today is owned by a partnership who is trying to turn it into a brewery and co-working space (albeit unsuccessfully). Fun fact: It's also the only station with a mansard roof!

Engine 36 located at 1655 Elmwood Avenue. Built in 1913 and used until it's closing in 2005. Was converted to a private residence shortly afterwards and today appears to have business offices located inside for a custom furniture company.

Hook & Ladder 8 located at 174 Chicago Street. Built in 1897 it served the community until 1978. Originally there was a 3rd floor attic space with windows abound which has since been removed shortly after the station closed. It's privately owned today and for sale or lease. 

Hook & Ladder 11 located at 636 Fillmore Avenue. Built  in 1908 by architect Howard L. Beck and served the East Side until 2003. It is currently privately owned and believed to be a private residence of some sorts, with city notes of interior renovations in 2015.

Engine 22 located at 1528 Broadway. Built in 1890, the station is still active and serving Buffalo's Polonia District and East Side neighborhoods.

Engine 32 (Hook & Ladder 5) located at 700 Seneca Street. Served as Chief South Division for south of downtown Buffalo. The current one story station was built in 1955, however it replaced the original two story Engine 32 station from the late 1800's. 

Engine 32 (Hook & Ladder 5) located at 700 Seneca Street. Served as Chief South Division for south of downtown Buffalo. The current one story station was built in 1955, however it replaced the original two story Engine 32 station from the late 1800's. 

Chemical 5 located at 166 Cleveland Ave. (originally engine 37). Built in 1897, this Art Nouveau example was designed by architect Edward Austin Kent. The chemical station only served until 1920, however Engine 37 served until 1966. Located in the heart of the Elmwood Village, this beautiful building was converted to a private residence in 1989 by UB Dean of Architecture and Environmental Design, Bruno Freschi and his wife. 

The tall gabled roof was designed to accommodate long fire hoses to hang and dry after use. The first floor was used to stable horses, which were originally used to fight fires before the automobile. During the early 1900's, Buffalo had six chemical companies, Chemical 5 is the only remaining example left. Chemical units were dedicated with creating a special mixture of chemicals with baking soda, designed to increase the water pressure in hoses. As pressurized hose systems advanced, the need for these specialty stations decreased. 

Engine 20 located at 155 Ohio Street. Home to the Edward M. Cotter Fireboat, the oldest active fireboat in the world (1900). The 118 foot boat is officially the slowest moving machine in BFD's force, however it can pump 15,000 gallons of water per minute, almost ten times the amount of the average firetruck! The fireboat was designated a National Historic Landmark, one of eight in Buffalo.

Engine 20 located at 155 Ohio Street.Engine 20 located at 155 Ohio Street. Home to the Edward M. Cotter Fireboat, the oldest active fireboat in the world (1900). The 118 foot boat is officially the slowest moving machine in BFD's force, however it can pump 15,000 gallons of water per minute, almost ten times the amount of the average firetruck! The fireboat was designated a National Historic Landmark, one of eight in Buffalo.

Engine 10 located at 30 Ganson Street. Opened in 1940, Engine 10 originally resided on Perry Street before moving to Ganson. It closed in 2003 after serving a vast majority of Buffalo's industrial corridor and Old First Ward for over 50 years.

Engine 11, Hook & Ladder 4 located at 1195 Niagara Street. Built in 1880, this two story ornate building was saved after decommission and put to commercial use. Today it's one of the lone standing buildings on that block east of Niagara. Served as a retail store for nearby Rich's Products for years. 

Engine 15 located at 64 Amherst Street in the Black Rock neighborhood. Built in 1912, it's officially the second location for Engine 15 (the first just a block down at 104 Amherst Street which was demolished due to road construction). The station closed in 1976 and was eventually taken over by a private investor and used as a residence/apartment mix.

Engine 31, Hook & Ladder 14 located at 2025 Bailey Avenue. Believed to have been built just before 1900, it shares the same architecture as engine 33 on Kehr Street. Decommissioned in 2009 as the city built a brand new facility across the street. 

Engine 34, Hook & Ladder 7 located at 2837 Main Street. Ladder 7 was an addition in 2005 to serve as the new Ladder for the Parkside and University districts with the closing of the station at Leroy (above, Engine 24). Engine 34 (left) built in 1912.

Engine 38, Hook & Ladder 13 located at 398 Linden Avenue. Built in 1926, this workhorse station is still active and proudly serving the neighborhoods of North Buffalo.

Engine 9, Hook & Ladder 1 located at 707 Washington Street. The original firehouse was believed to have been built in the late 1890s. The current one story building pictured above is the second firehouse, built in 1951. Currently used commercially by a printing company.

Engine 23, Police Precinct 16 located at 2930 Bailey Avenue. The front of the building served as the precinct, while the rear served as a fire station pictured above. Built in 1925, the building is now utilized partially by Trinity Baptist Church.

Engine 30 located at 2028 South Park Avenue in South Buffalo. Built in 1898, it served the neighborhood until moving it's station to 131 Southside. It was later used for Buffalo Police Precinct 15. Today it's used as apartments.

Engine 1, Hook & Ladder 2 located at 132 Ellicott Street. Built in 1952, this station is still active and serving the immediate downtown Buffalo area.

Buffalo Fire Department headquarters (formerly engine 13) located at 195 Court Street. 

Buffalo Fire Department headquarters (formerly engine 13) located at 195 Court Street.

Back to Top