The first four fire wardens were Martin Krieger, Thomas Hall, Adrian Wyser, and George Woolsey.
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These were the first fire engines to be used in the American colonies, and all able-bodied citizens were required to respond to a fire alarm and to participate in the extinguishing under the supervision of the Aldermen.
The city's first firehouse was built in 1736 in front of City Hall on Broad Street.
The Bronx houses Manhattan and the Bronx, and Queens houses Queens.
Like most fire departments of major cities in the United States, the New York City Fire Department is organized in a paramilitary fashion, and in many cases echos the structure of the police department.
There are currently four shifts of firefighters in each company. In addition to responding to building types that range from wood-frame single family homes to high-rise structures, there are many secluded bridges and tunnels, the New York City Subway system, as well as large parks and wooded areas that can give rise to brush fires.
The FDNY also responds to many other incidents such as auto accidents, auto extrications, gas emergencies, entrapments, construction accidents, high-angle rescues, trench rescues, confined space incidents, explosions, transit incidents, unstable buildings or collapses, hazardous material incidents and many more.
A year later, on December 16, 1737, the colony's General Assembly created the Volunteer Fire Department of the City of New York, appointing 30 men who would remain on call in exchange for exemption from jury and militia duty.
The city's first official firemen were required to be "able, discreet, and sober men who shall be known as Firemen of the City of New York, to be ready for service by night and by day and be diligent, industrious and vigilant." Although the 1737 Act created the basis of the fire department, the actual legal entity was incorporated in the State of New York on March 20, 1798 under the name of "Fire Department, City of New York." In 1865, the volunteer fire department was abolished by a state act which created the Metropolitan Fire District and the Metropolitan Fire Department (MFD).
As a result, a new Board of Fire Commissioners was created and the original name of the Fire Department City of New York (FDNY) was reinstated. It was stated: “no braver, abler or more conscientious man than John J.
Bresnan ever drew a paycheck in the service of the City of New York.” Initially, the paid fire service only covered present day Manhattan, until the act of 1865 which united Brooklyn with Manhattan to form the Metropolitan District.
Each firehouse consists of one to three fire companies. In one tour or shift, each company is commanded by a lieutenant or the captain and is made up of three to five firefighters, depending on the type of fire company/unit: an Engine Company is staffed by an officer and three to four firefighters; a Ladder Company is staffed by an officer and five firefighters; a Rescue Company is staffed by an officer and five firefighters; a Squad Company is staffed by an officer and five firefighters; a Marine Company is staffed by an officer and four firefighters; the Hazardous Materials (Haz-Mat) Company is staffed by an officer and six firefighters.