Hook & Ladder #12

Buffalo, New York | C.1913

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Czum

Hook & Ladder #12 is a three-story brick fire house in the Black Rock neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. Erected in 1913 by architect Howard L. Beck in the Flemish Renaissance style, it was one of the last Ladder Companies to have its own quarters until it was disbanded in 2005.

The first instance of fire safety in Buffalo goes back to the war of 1812, when the Village of Buffalo was burned by British Troops, leaving only one house standing. When the village was rebuilt, each homeowner was required to have leather buckets as fires were considered a common disaster requiring all able bodied men to join a “bucket brigade” to extinguish the fire.

The more formal beginning of Buffalo’s volunteer fire department came around 1931 with the purchase of two hand pumpers, 200ft of leather hose, and later that year a hand drawn truck that carried ladders, ropes, axes, and hooks giving it the name “Hook & Ladder.”

By 1900, the Department had grown to 26 Engines, nine Hook & Ladders, six Battalion Chiefs, five Chemical companies, and two Fireboats. During the horse drawn era, men worked 21 hour days, having a total of three hours off a day for meals. They were also given off two days per month.

Today, operating out of 19 fire stations, the Buffalo Fire Department continues to ensure the highest level of quality fire, EMS, and specialized services in their community through leadership, action, and partnerships with all levels of government. The Hook & Ladder is now privately owned, recently celebrating its 105th anniversary in 2018.

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