Code 3 FDNY Firehouse Ladder Co. 79 (13101)
This is Item #13101
Release: September 2000
Edition Quantity: Limited Edition
Dimensions: 13.75L X 5W X 6.75H (in.)
History Of Ladder 79
Fire Department Of New York
By Michael Boucher
The West New Brighton section of Staten Island along the Kill Van Kull was
settled before the Revolutionary War. The first factories sprang up in the early
1820's and the area grew with a small commercial center around Broadway and
Richmond Terrace. The name of West New Brighton was picked for the new Post
Office that was built in the 1870's.
The first organized fire company was Cataract Engine 2, located at the end of
Van Street off Richmond Terrace. It went into service on August 19, 1844 and
served until being replaced by the paid department in 1905. On April 2, 1874,
the fire companies along the north shore of Staten Island formed the North Shore
Fire Department. The department grew to a total of six engines, nine hose
companies and seven ladder companies before disbanding. Staten Island had 56
volunteer fire companies protecting the island before 1905.
On January 1, 1898, New York City, which included the Bronx, Brooklyn and Long
Island City along with parts of Queens County and Staten Island, merged into the
five boroughs of New York City. New York City, Brooklyn and Long Island City had
paid fire departments with the rural areas of Queens County and Staten Island
being protected by volunteer companies. The law, when written, stated that the
City of New York would continue the services of the volunteer departments until
such a time that a paid force could be placed in service with buildings,
equipment and men. Until such time, each volunteer would be paid $1000 per year
for the upkeep of the equipment and horses.
In 1905, the New York City Fire Department started to expand into the outlying
areas of the boroughs. The city bought the lot and building located at 1189
Castleton Avenue from Medora Ladder 3 on October 19, 1905 for a cost of $10,250
and designated this station as Ladder Co. 104.
On January 1, 1913, Ladder 104 was renumbered to Ladder 79. After many moves,
Battalion 22 was quartered to Ladder 79 and the two have responded to all calls
from this station ever since.
In 1916, the quarters of Ladder 79 and Battalion 22 were remodeled for a cost of
$3,600. New cement floors were placed in the cellar and the apparatus floors.
The wooden apparatus floor was no longer suitable for the heavier motorized
apparatus and was costly to maintain. The stable walls of the one story
extension were expanded to accommodate a second floor above as a recreational
The firefighters of Ladder 79 have been fortunate not to have a member killed in
the line of duty while Battalion 22 has lost one member, Battalion Chief Charles
Kohlenberger on March 31, 1945. Chief Kohlenberger was killed instantly by a
2,200-volt live wire, which fell on him as he was directing efforts to make the
cable safe at Kingsley and Jewel avenues. He had joined the department on July
Ladder 79 has had four medal winners in its history. Fireman John J. Drennan
received the M.J. Delahanty Medal for rescuing a woman on July 8, 1976.
Lieutenant James W. Fitzgerald was awarded the Dr. John F. Connell Medal on
March 19, 1991 for rescuing an eleven-month-old child. Lieutenant Fred C.
Zerilli, who received the Ner Tamid Society/Franklin Delano Roosevelt Medal,
rescued the same child at two years old a second time on June 22, 1992.
Unfortunately, the 2-year-old did not survive his injuries. The last medal
winner was fireman John V. Picciano who rescued a woman from a burning second
floor apartment on July 21, 1993. He received the American Legion/Mark M.
Wohlfeld Memorial Medal.
Ladder 79 is known as the 'North Shore Trucking Company.' In 1906, Ladder 79
(104) responded to 11 runs with 8 workers. During 1999, Ladder 79 responded to
1301 runs with 803 workers. Battalion 22 answered 2932 alarms during 1999 making
them the 8th busiest Battalion in the city with 2358 hours worked. Ladder 79 and
Battalion 22 have been working the north shore of Staten Island for the last 95
years. During this time, they have been dedicated to providing the best fire
protection to the citizens of Staten Island. No matter how small the problem or
size of the raging fire, Ladder 79 and Battalion 22 have met the challenge with