The history of the Scranton Fire Department can be traced back to pre-Civil War days. From its earliest days until April, 1901 Scranton was served by a Volunteer Fire Department. In 1901 an ordinance was introduced to establish a "paid service". The volunteer department would make way for a paid Fire Bureau. On May 4, 1901, the City took over all apparatus to be under the Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Fire.
At this time there were seventeen fire companies in the City. Manning of the companies depended on what kind of company it was. Hose companies had paid drivers to take care of the apparatus and horses. Engine Companies had two permanent men, a Driver and an Engineer. Chemical Companies also had two men, a Driver and a man to take care of the apparatus. All other members were either "bunk men" or "call men". A bunk man worked his normal job during the day, with the understanding of his employer that he could leave his job for a fire. In the evening he would "bunk" at the fire station. A call man didn't sleep at the fire station, but had the same responsibilities as the bunk men. They were paid for the time spent in actual service. Bunk men were paid seventy cents per hour and the call me sixty cents per hour.
In 1906 the City experienced a typhoid epidemic. The Cities Health Bureau had concerns about the sounding of the fire alarms and bells disturbing the thousands of sick, but to silence the alarms meant that the call men would not be available. They couldn't respond to alarms they didn't here. Twenty-five permanent men were added to replace the call men. The following year the bunk men were done away with completely and a full paid department was established.
In 1911, the city purchased its first motorized apparatus in the form of a chief’s car. On December 20, 1923 a motorized piece replaced the last Horse drawn apparatus located at Hose co. 10.
On February 28, 1918 the Scranton Firefighters affiliated with the International Association of Firefighters as Local 60. After a brief lapse in membership in the 1930's, the Scranton Fire Fighters once again joined the I.A.F.F. on September 4, 1940. This time as Local 669. In January 2000 the I.A.F.F. allowed the Scranton Fire Fighters the right to use their original Local number. So once again we are I.A.F.F. Local 60
In the mid 1990's the Scranton Fire Department was reduced from 200 Fire Fighters to 150. The Scranton Fire Department ran 7 Engine Companies, 2 Truck Companies, 1 Rescue Company and an Assistant Chiefs Car running out of 8 Stations. There were 144 fire suppression personnel, 1 Superintendent (Chief of the Dept.), 1 Deputy Chief, 2 Fire Inspectors, 1 Fire Prevention Officer, 1 Master Mechanic and 1 Administrative Captain.
Today the Fire Department is staffed by 127 Uniformed members of Local 60. We have 125 fire suppression personnel, 1 Superintendent, 1 Deputy Chief and 1 Fire Inspector. These 125 Fire Fighters now staff 6 Engine Companies (with up to two Engines closing when browned out), 2 Truck Companies (with 1 Truck closed when browned out), 1 Rescue Company and a Chief's Car/Command Car.
A special thanks to Mark Boock. Most of the information in this article came from his book
"The Pictorial History of the Scranton Fire Department".