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FDNY - A History: From volunteers to professionals, buckets to Super-Pumpers, 350 years of New York City firefighting.Photo of an old fire truck
Begin
1648 - 1835 -- The Volunteer Fire Department

Over three hundred years ago, American firefighting consisted of four volunteers and their buckets of water. >Go

1836-1898 -- New York's Professional Firefighters

Politics, rivalries, and insurance companies force out the volunteer department in favor of a professional one. >Go

1899 - 1950 -- Development of Modern Firefighting

As the Manhattan skyline races upward, New York City firefighters must learn to climb. >Go

1951-2002 -- The Challenges of a Changing City

The FDNY battles hazardous materials, urban decay, civil unrest, terrorists, and also the occasional fire. >Go




New York's first volunteer firefighters operated for nearly a hundred years without even the most primitive fire engine.




Although at first resistant to the idea, the department began motorizing around 1917.





Firefighters on a tower ladder extinguish blazes among the World Trade Center rubble.





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