150 years for Engine 24

Philadelphia Fire Department Engine 24 in Point Breeze.
Photo/Mark Zimmaro

After a century and a half, Engine 24 is still at peak performance.

The Philadelphia Fire Department celebrated another milestone as Engine 24 at 1200 S. 20th St. in South Philly’s Point Breeze neighborhood surpassed 150 years this November.

A lot has changed over the years with advancements in equipment and apparatus, but the bravery of the people who staff the company hasn’t flinched over the years.

“One hundred and fifty years is kind of hard to wrap your head around,” said Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel, who delivered remarks at a celebration at the firehouse at the intersection at 20th and Federal streets. “What has not changed in those 150 years is the dedication and service of our members.”

A plaque is presented to honor Engine 24’s 150th anniversary. Photo/Mark Zimmaro

Engine 24 was one of the first companies to operate after the Philadelphia Fire Department officially established itself as a paid department in March 1871. Just 20 months later, on Nov. 1, 1872, Engine 24 began operations in the former Warren Hose Station at the corner of 21st and Ellsworth streets. 

In 1890, Engine 24 moved to a new station at 1214 S. 20th St. and remained there until 1950 when its current home was being constructed. Engine 24 shared a building with Engine 60 for two years at 24th and Ritner streets until the current station opened its doors in 1952.

Engine 24 has been doing its part in keeping up with high call demands that are happening throughout the city.

Members of Engine 24 gather with community members and officials to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary. Photo/Mark Zimmaro

“Now, in 2022, almost 3,000 women and men comprise the Philadelphia Fire Department,” Thiel said. “Fires today are burning hotter and faster than ever before. Our firefighting environment is more dangerous than ever before. Thankfully, just this morning, a station in West Philly saved some people from an all-hands fire. And odds are, if you look at statistics, we’ll be doing that again tonight.”

Philadelphia has 63 stations across the city and Engine 24 is one of seven in South Philly. There are also stations at 200 Washington Ave., 1357 S. 12th St., 4023 Grays Ferry Ave., 2600 S. 13th St., 414 Snyder Ave. and 2401 S. 24th St.

“We are very fortunate to have the support over the past six and a half years from Mayor (Jim) Kenney and City Council to invest almost $300 million back into the fire department,” Thiel said. “That’s a lot of money, but it’s for apparatus, ambulances, equipment and staff. We have a lot of work left to do. We know that, but I’m happy for the ongoing support.”

Kenney helped firefighters celebrate 150 years and thanked them for their service.

“The Fire Department is important to me and my family,” Kenney told members of the station in Point Breeze. “I just want to let you know how proud we are of you and how proud we are of your local, and how proud we are of the work that you do as firefighters. We wish everyone well and hope that you stay safe and continue supporting us and keeping us safe as you all do.”