How Pittsburgh’s Fire Station Was Built

Here’s a little bit of history for the readers: back in the roaring 20s, a fire station was built in Spring Hill, Pittsburgh. This fire station was one of the most advanced of its time and featured uniquely colonial architecture within and without the entire structure. 


In 1929, the Engine and Truck Companies No. 53 was headquartered at a wooden frame structure at the corner of Rhine Street and Halsage Avenue. As a fire station, this wasn’t able to keep up with the regular maintenance needed. It was eventually abandoned and replaced with a new building a short distance away on Homer and Damas streets.


Eventually, concrete contractors in Pittsburgh, PA  finished construction on the new driveway for the new fire station. This is in line with the construction project undertaken to provide a more modern and attractive look to the local fire department building. It combines all the needs of day-to-day fire department duties as well as offering some comforts and conveniences similar to what you’d get from a house. 

Building Amenities 

The new building’s main section will contain an apparatus room and a dormitory. It will also have a one-story wing on the rear left side of the building that will have the toilets, lounge, and kitchen. 


The apparatus room is made of red tile block over a floor of arched tile and solid concrete, lined with tile wood paneling up to five feet high. The lounge and the main entrance will feature a brick fireplace and a mantelpiece measuring 7 feet 8 inches wide. A concrete floor will serve as its main surface. This lounge will be built facing Homer street and will be equipped with fire alarm instruments.


The basement will contain a bulk of the amenities. It spans the entire building and houses a hose trough with drying racks, a boiler room, coal storage, 24 large lockers as well as a toilet room and showers.


The building will also have a concrete staircase affixed to the right side of the building. This will allow entrance to the basement from the yard area.

Living Quarters

The second floor of the building will be dedicated to living quarters for the men stationed. It will include a dormitory bunk room, the captain’s office, and sleeping quarters as well as a large toilet room and shower bath.  


The bunk room will have 22 large lockers placed in two rows at the center as well as a medicine cabinet, broom closet, and a linen closet. There will be nine large windows allowing for a lot of natural light and ventilation. 


The captain’s office will be located at the rear and will include two large built-in linen closets. Next to it will be a large toilet and bath for use by the residents

Colonial Architectural Designs

The new fire station is a two-story L-shaped structure designed with Colonial architecture in mind.  It features gray limestone trimmings and red brick topped off with a roof of multicolored slate. The plot it stands on is shaped irregularly but will feature a lawn and yard extending to both sides and the rear of the building. A flag pole and a memorial will be put up on the lawn closest to the intersection of both streets. This new building will be the first and possibly only fire station to do without a hose tower on the roof. There will be racks provided in the basement for drying and storage of hose.

How Do I Join The Local Volunteer Firefighters in PA?

Fires can be incredibly destructive. They can happen at any time and cause hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in damage. This much damage can negatively impact the lives of those affected by the incident. As such, firefighters are engaged in a very necessary profession. But how does one get into a career of fighting fires in the interest of public safety? If you are a native of Pennsylvania considering a career in fire safety, this guide is for you. 



In order to begin a career in fire safety, you need to meet certain minimum requirements. Interested applicants should be at least 18 years old and residents of the city in which they want to become a firefighter

Interested applicants must also have a driver’s license that is valid in the state of Pennsylvania. Revoked, expired, or suspended licenses will not be accepted. This is to ensure road safety as you may be required to maneuver the fire safety vehicles.

A college degree is not necessary, but applicants must have graduated high school and are in possession of a high school diploma or a GED.

Finally, due to the nature of the job, applicants need to be medically cleared and physically fit to perform their duties in any conceivable weather condition.


Application Process

Once you have met the necessary prerequisites, you may proceed with the application process for a career with the fire department. Firefighting is a public service thus the position is considered a government job. Interested applicants must first pass a civil service examination and meet the required score in order to be eligible for the next step

Applicants will then be interviewed and be subject to medical examinations and background investigations. If there are no issues that come up, applicants can then be cleared for training.

The applicant must then complete a program with any of the certified fire academies. The program will cover basic emergency medical services and firefighting techniques, Additional training and certification can be obtained when pursuing managerial or administrative positions.

Upon graduation from the fire academy, new recruits are assigned to a station and an engine and will be required to complete a probationary period. This can vary from the standard six months to a year of duty.


Volunteering in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is currently re-examining its requirements for those interested in joining its local fire department. These requirements are different depending on interest. If one is interested in pursuing a career in fire safety and public safety, the above process and requirements suffice. 

For volunteers, it’s a much more complicated situation. Volunteer departments do not require mandatory training and are tasked with providing a certain amount of training to new recruits. 

This approach was adopted due to the recruitment crisis in the state of Pennsylvania. In order to attract more people into joining their local fire department, the ease of application was adjusted to make requirements less demanding. However, this approach poses some major safety risks. To make up for this, training has been incentivized and made more accessible.

How to Get Support from the Mahanoy City Fire Department

The Mahanoy City Fire Department (MCFD) is an all-volunteer fire service that serves the Borough of Mahanoy City and Mahanoy Township, and a part of Interstate 81. It provides fire and rescue services primarily and also provides emergency medical services to all of the residents within its jurisdiction. But how does one request for help from the MCFD?


Active Public Outreach

The MCFD is a volunteer organization that seems to be very active with its community outreach. It operates several social media properties for each one of the five companies that comprise the fire department. These are the:


  1. Washington Hook and Ladder Company #1
  2. Citizens Fire Company #2
  3. Good American Hose #3
  4. West End Fire and Rescue
  5. Humane Fire Company #1


Each one of these fire companies has its own Facebook pages that individuals within Mahanoy can reach at any time. Depending on the fire company, the response time may vary so immediate concerns should not be coursed through this avenue.


You should also be able to reach them through the MCFD Facebook page as well, which is the consolidation of all of these social media properties.


Electronic Mail

Each of the fire companies and the central command of the MCFD have email addresses. Again, these emails are not for emergencies or immediate concerns, but if you need to inquire about something that the companies or the fire department do or provide, you may do so via these email addresses.


The emails can also be found via the individual Facebook pages of each fire company. However, it is not clear if the emails are monitored regularly by a staff member of the company or the fire department, so responses might not come in a timely manner.



Each fire company and the main office of the MCFD all have a landline number. These numbers can be called for emergency reasons and standard inquiries. Each station is open 24/7 so a representative will be available to take your call at all times.


During emergencies, it would be best to call the central MCFD landline instead, as the central station will be the one to coordinate assistance from the five fire companies. Queries specific to individual companies should be channeled through the contact number provided for the specific company, however.


The MCFD’s Services

The Mahanoy City’s Fire Department provides standard firefighting and EMS services within the Mahanoy Borough and provides joint services with its neighboring fire services as needed. But the FD also provides fire safety seminars and shares tips and information on how to proceed during an emergency via its website and its Facebook pages.


The MCFD also has a special service provided for business owners within their service area. They call this their pre-plan service. The fire department states that its goal is to have a pre-plan for every business within their service area in order to help them improve their emergency prevention and response times.


Learn More: The Five Advantages of County Fire Services


By availing of these pre-plans, business owners are provided regular fire and safety inspections from the fire department to help them address potential fire and safety issues within their places of business.


If you would like to know more about the Mahanoy City Fire Department, its fire companies, and its services, you may get in touch with them via any of the contact details mentioned earlier.



The Five Advantages of County Fire Services

County fire services aren’t like your traditional fire departments. Most of the staff in them aren’t career firefighters, for one thing. They also tend to serve a much smaller geographical location limited to the confines of their home county, for another. But there are several advantages to having this kind of department that mostly have to do with the size and type of manpower the department has.


They know the area better

Most of the time, the employees of a county fire service know the area they serve better. Larger fire departments serving multiple counties will have regional leaders that are tasked with knowing the geography of their location, but this doesn’t stack up well against a local’s knowledge of his place of residence. These locals will have a better idea of how to travel to specific locations within the county faster, which can mean the difference between life or death during cases of emergencies


They help build the community

A lot of these county fire services are self-owned, self-governed, and self-funded. While the local and national governments do fund these departments somewhat, a lot of the funding tends to come from fundraisers set up by the fire services themselves. They do these in the same manner as charities and civic organizations: bake sales, bingo nights, and the like. This doesn’t just help fund the fire department, however; it also brings the community closer to one another and exposes them to the members of their fire department.


They can be cheaper to operate

Depending on the county, a county fire service might be less expensive to operate. A Connecticut General Assembly report cited studies made in New York, Indiana, and Mansfield, Connecticut asserting that the cost to operate a fire service could be cheaper in regions that have either more viable volunteers, which makes recruitment and shift scheduling easier; or lower incidences of calls per annum; or both. Paid fire departments, on the other hand, will require full-time employees that get paid salaries and benefits.


They utilize taxpayer’s money more efficiently

While many volunteer fire services are self-funded, a portion of their funding does come from the local government. A paid fire department, however, is paid by the local government out of pocket. These departments are usually tasked to serve a number of counties within their jurisdiction, and these counties in turn provide the city where the fire department is located with the money to finance the fire department. Counties have no say in how the city utilizes the money, and counties like Candler County, GA, would prefer to have more say in how the money they spend for fire protection is spent.


The current firefighters are old hands

While the plight of an aging population of volunteer firefighters might be worrisome, this can also be a good thing. Older firefighters are better at assessing situations than newcomers and they will be able to make better judgment calls during intense situations. They can also be better equipped to train new volunteer recruits.

County fire services are built mostly of volunteers, but these five advantages can make them worth keeping around. Bigger cities should invest in fire departments, but counties can benefit more from smaller fire services like these as they cost less, know their service area better, and are just generally great members of the community to have around – whether you need them or you don’t.