Engine 34 was organized March 10, 1886 at 1313 N. 27th Street in the Brewerytown section of the city. The original company roster was as follows:
Foreman Samuel Graham
Engineer William Hannold
Fireman George Nallinger
Driver Charles Kneoll
Hoseman James Atkinson
Hoseman Lawrence Doyle
Hoseman James Anderson
Hoseman George Boothby
Hoseman John Dougherty
Hoseman Louis Kolb
Hoseman James Humpreheys
Hoseman Charles McQuade
The station was rebuilt after being struck by a fire in 1943. During 1976, Engine 34 moved to a new station located on the northeast corner of 28th and Thompson Streets.
On May 3, 1986 Engine 34 was dispatched on the fourth alarm for a fire in a vacant paper box factory located at 56th Street and Paschall Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia. Engine 27 was sent to cover Engine 34. When Engine 27 arrived at Engine 34’s station they noticed steam in rear of the station. Formerly assigned to Engine 34, Firefighter Edward Friel of Engine 27 was familiar with the problems with the heating system in the station. As he was descending the stairs to the basement, the heater exploded killing Friel instantly. Firefighter Dennis Dougherty and Captain Harris, who were following Friel down the stairs, were severely injured.
As a result of the explosion, Engine 34 was relocated to the station of Engine 13 and Ladder 1 while repairs were made. They returned to their own station on July 19, 1986.
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1313 N. 27th Street
The station draped in bunting to commemorate the death of President William McKinley on September 14, 1901.
The old station at 1313 N. 27th Street as it appeared in 2017. Occupied by a roofing company.
Engine 34's current apparatus - 2018 Spartan ER
Engine 34's current station at 28th & Thompson Streets.
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Jack Wright (April 11, 1963-April 6, 2021) was a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, PA. As a child he was fascinated with fire engines in general and those of the Philadelphia Fire Department in particular. He chased them his entire life. From his early days of grammar school, he watched Engine 53 and Ladder 27 responding to alarms in his South Philadelphia neighborhood. Those scenes made an indelible impression on him. It was at that time that he began collecting photographs relating to the Philadelphia Fire Department.
With his interest in the Philadelphia Fire Department and its history, it was only natural that he found himself at the Fireman’s Hall Museum. In May of 1988 he began working as a museum volunteer. While working there he became involved in researching the department’s history, as well as documenting it. Some of his research has been used by the Philadelphia Fire Department to evaluate their operations and procedures and make changes where necessary. On October 14, 2007 Jack was named the official Philadelphia Fire Department Historian by Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.
Jack served on the Board of Directors of Fireman’s Hall. He also was a contributing editor for Fire Apparatus Journal. Jack co-authored Hike Out, the only written history of the Philadelphia Fire department ever published. In addition, he published Philadelphia Fire Apparatus Volume 4. He wrote a number of articles relating to the department’s history that have been published in various magazines and newsletters and posts a history blog on the internet. Jack provided presentations to various historical societies in the Philadelphia area regarding the Philadelphia Fire Department.
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