Toronto Fire Services

Toronto Fire Services
Toronto Fire Services
Toronto Fire Services Logo.svg
Motto: Courage, Compassion, Service
Established 1874
Staffing Career
Strength 3100
Stations 83
Engines 87
Trucks 29
Fireboats 2
Fire chief William Stewart
Website City of Toronto: Fire Services

The Toronto Fire Services is part of the Emergency Services that respond to 911 calls in the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



The Toronto Fire Services is responsible for responding to fires, rescue and assisting with medical situations within the City of Toronto. It was created in 1998 from the merger of the former fire departments of the original City of Toronto, East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York. It is the largest fire department in Canada (ahead of Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa) and the 4th largest city fire department in North America behind New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.


Toronto horse drawn pumper

Fire services in Toronto began in 1874 in the former City of Toronto, and still consisted of volunteer fire companies. Prior to 1874, fire services were composed of poorly trained volunteer companies in the city. The first company was created in 1826 and hook and ladder in 1831. Most were able bodied men who were trained to operate pumps to draw water from the lake.

The city's poor fire fighting services were highlighted by the Great Toronto Fire in 1849 and again in 1904. The latter fire which destroyed much of Bay Street from The Esplande West to Melinda Street, the Fire Department in Toronto became a critical city service and has evolved into the professional service that exists today.

As of April 2009, the departments and commissioners were replaced by divisions under the City Manager (and Deputy Managers), so the TFS is now referred to as the Toronto Fire Services Division[citation needed]

Early Fire Companies[1]

  • 1st Engine House 1826 at Church Street and Newgate Street (Adelaide Street East), renumbered as Station 5 in 1861 and closed in 1874
  • Independent Fire Company Engine House No. 2
  • York Fire Company 1826 at Fireman's Hall (Church Street and Newgate Street)
  • Hook and Ladder Fire Company 1831
  • Fireman's Hall 1839 at Bay Street 1839; closed 1841
  • Station No. 1 1841; closed 1924
  • 4th Engine House at St. Patrick Market on Queen Street West 1842, closed 1861
  • Hose Company No. 2 at Berkeley Street 1849; closed 1859
  • 7th Engine Company at Elizabeth Street 1857; closed 1859
  • Station No 2 at 163 Portland 1871; closed 1968
  • Station No 3 at 488 Yonge Steet 1871; closed 1926
  • Station No 5 at Court Street 1874; closed 1886
  • Station No 6 at 515 Queen Street West 1874; closed 1942


Chief Wm. Stewart

As of 2011, the current Fire Chief is William Stewart (C1), under whom serve four deputy Chiefs (C2, C3, C4, C5), and four division commanders (C6, C7, C8, C9) - all based at 4330 Dufferin Street, the central headquarters for both Toronto Fire and Toronto EMS.


Toronto Fire Department transition from horse drawn to motorized vehicles
Toronto Fire Aerial 312
Toronto Fire Rescue 112
Toronto Fire Pumper 334

Toronto Fire Department began using motorized vehicles after 1910. Before that, the TFD and previous fire companies used horse drawn engines and ladders. Prior to the 1970s, the TFD had open air vehicles (driver cab not covered and mostly aerial trucks), but since then both the TFD and TFS use full covered vehicles. Prior to the 1950s, TFD used tiller-ladder trucks and since have reverted to smaller aerial units that can operate in narrow streets in Toronto.

The TFS inherited all the vehicles of the fire departments prior to amalgamation. The current strength of TFS consists of 179 vehicles. Since amalgamation, apparatus numbers are numbered by a letter and 3 digits. The digits refer to station number and the letter refers to type of apparatus, for example T333 is the tower located Station 333. Spare apparatus are numbered with four digits, beginning with a 5 (eg. P5227). Occasionally secondary units with the same numeric designation are given a letter as a suffix ex. Pumper 335 (P335) and Pumper 335B (P335B).

A list of types of vehicles used by the TFS : (prefix letter in brackets with x's as placeholders)

  • Aerial (Axxx) - most common ladders found in the city; lengths range from 75 to 105 feet (22.86 to 32 metres)
  • Tower (Txxx) - 3 articulated boom ladders, with 2 found in South and 1 in North Command; length 114 feet (34.75 metres)
  • Platform (PLxxx) - 1 ladder with attached platform, found in West Command; length 95 feet (28.96 metres)
  • Pumper (Pxxx)
  • Rescue/Pumper (Rxxx) - a pumper with the addition of extrication equipment (Jaws of Life) and other tools
  • Fireboat (FBxxx) - 2 units, both stationed in Toronto Harbour
  • Hazardous Materials Unit (HZxxx) - 1 in both North and South Commands
  • Hazmat Support Truck (HMSxxx) - towing trailer transporting Club Car utility cars
  • Decontamination Truck (DExxx)
  • Squad (Sxxx) - heavy/technical rescue units, with 2 located in South Command and 1 in each of West, North, and East Commands
  • High Rise Unit (HRxxx) - 1 only, in South Command
  • Water Tanker (WTxxx)
  • Rapid Attack Vehicle (RAVxxx)
  • All-Terrain Vehicle (ATVx) - used at special events, such as the Canadian National Exhibition
  • Trench Rescue Support Truck (TRSxxx) - 1 only, in East Command
  • Air/Light Unit (LAxxx)
  • District Chief (Cxx)
  • Platoon Chief (Cx0) - 1 in each Command (C10, C20, C30, C40)
  • Division Commander (Cx)
  • Deputy Chief / Fire Chief (Cx)
  • Command Truck (CMDxx) - 3 throughout the city
  • Mechanical Response Unit (MRUxxx)
  • Training Aerial (TRAx) - used by Professional Development and Training
  • Training Pumper (TRPx) - used by Professional Development and Training
  • Spare vehicles (X5xxx) - non-permanent additional vehicles added to station

Fire Boats

The Toronto Fire Department and successor Toronto Fire Services has operated fire boats since 1923.

  • Charles A. Reed - a wood hull boat entered service in 1923 and remained in use until 1964 [2]
  • William Lyon Mackenzie - entered service in 1964 replacing Charles A. Reed; main fire boat and icebreaker
  • Sora - light utility boat built in 1982 for the Canadian Coast Guard and acquired by TFS in 2006; back up to WL Mackenzie, but lacks icebreaking features


While not part of the fleet, Box 12 and Support 7 are canteen trucks run by volunteers at the Greater Toronto Multiple Alarm Association), and are present at large emergencies to provide food and beverages for Toronto firefighters. Formed in 1975, the GTMAA vehicles are painted with TFS scheme, but not the logo (uses GTMAA patch).

In addition, there are various Hazardous Materials Support trucks and a Trench Rescue Support truck that respond to specialized calls. These trucks are unmanned, and are only used by trained personnel when a specialized call is dispatched. TFS also has a fleet of various mechanical support trucks. Smaller compact cars bearing the TFS colours and logo are driven by fire prevention officers and other commanding officers.

Toronto Fire will also acquire use of the Long Range Acoustic Device. It was one of three purchased by the Toronto Police Service for use during the G20 summit in 2010 (1 for Marine Unit, 2 for Public Safety Unit).[3]

Prior to amalgamation, the Scarborough Fire Department had their fleet painted yellow. In the years following amalgamation the markings on the fire trucks were a patchwork of the various schemes used by the former boroughs. All had "Toronto" decaled or painted where the former bourough's name used to be and the new Toronto Fire crest was added with the new numbering scheme. Over the past 12 years - post amalgamation - the majority of the older vehicles have either been retired or repainted to match the new scheme: fire engine red with yellow reflective trim and markings.


TFS operations consists of 81 stations and divided into four geographical command units.

TFS also provides fire fighting and rescue operations in the water. The TFS operates two fire boats, the William Lyon Mackenzie and Sora. Both are stationed at station 334.

At the Toronto City Centre Airport, TFS may be called to assist the fire service at the airport.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the TFS formed a search and rescue unit called the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue or HUSAR. HUSAR responds to collapsed buildings and other incidents beyond the reach of regular fire fighters.


Toronto Fire Captain
  • Probationary Firefighter - no rank insignia, wearing a black helmet.
  • Second Class Firefighter
  • First Class Firefighter
  • Captain - company officer in charge of one fire truck and crew - with 2 silver epaulette stripes, and wearing a red helmet.
  • District Chief - command officer responsible for all fire stations within a district (ex. 11 District, or 42 District) - with 2 gold stripes, and wearing a white helmet.
  • Platoon Chief - command officer responsible for all fire stations within all four districts of a command (North, East, South, or West) - with 3 gold stripes, and 'Platoon Chief' marked on the back of their bunker gear jacket.
  • Division Commander - command officer responsible for all four shifts within one of the geographic divisions of the city - with 3 thick and 1 thin gold stripes, and 'Division Commander' marked on their bunker jacket.
  • Deputy Fire Chief - with 4 gold stripes, and "Deputy Chief' marked on their bunker jacket.
  • Fire Chief - with 5 gold stripes, and 'Chief' marked on the their bunker jacket.

See also

Other members of the Toronto's Emergency Services structure consists of:

Other agencies with historic ties to the TFD and TFS:

External links


  1. ^,_Ontario_(Original)
  2. ^ Discover & explore Toronto's waterfront, Mike Filey, pp34
  3. ^ Police Will Keep G20 Sound Cannons

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