Hand Engine B was placed in service during 1872 to provide a fire department presence in the Roxborough section of the city. Like Hand Engine A, in Chestnut Hill, and Hand Engine C in Kingsessing, Hand Engine B was staffed by one paid member. Hoseman William Warren was assigned. The company was assigned two pieces of apparatus. A hand-drawn, hand-operated pumping engine and a hose cart equipped with 700 feet of leather hose. If dispatched to an alarm, the company would be assisted by volunteers from the neighborhood. Hand Engine B was disbanded during 1881.
Engine 39 was organized on January 20, 1892 at 473 Leverington Avenue in Roxborough. The original company roster was as follows:
Foreman John Peck
Engineer Robert Hall
Driver Marshall B. Bryant
Fireman William T. Lancaster
Hoseman James Riggs
Hoseman Charles B. Kell
Hoseman John W. Tagger
Hoseman Franklin Enderlin
On October 7, 1952 Engine 39 moved to a new station at 6630 Ridge Avenue. On that same day Ladder 30 was placed in service. Also incorporated into Engine 39 and Ladder 30’s new firehouse was the Fire School. Rescue 5 was placed in service on December 30, 1965.
As a cost reduction measure, the department placed several Task Forces in service, combining an engine and ladder company into one unit. On June 27, 1983 Engine 39 and Ladder 30 were combined to form Task Force 30. Over the ensuing years, the task forces would be placed out of service and Engine 39 and Ladder 30 would be placed back in service only for them to be formed into a task force once again a few years later. Due to city financial problems, Engine 39 was placed out of service on January 9, 2009, leaving Ladder 30 and Medic 5 at the station on Ridge Avenue. However, it was place back in service on November 23, 2019.
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During my dispatching career, the one and only time I was acting supervisor(I was about 3rd down on the list) of the fire alarm room was a midnite to 8am shift either on Xmas Eve or Xmas night ’71 or ’72. Earlier in the night, a one and a half alarm fire occurred in the Italian Market on 9th St. S. of Washington. The large bldg. was pretty much gutted by the fire, and the on-scene chief was requesting a fireground detail for all night to relieve the on-scene firemen which was standard for large fires over one alarm. It was up to the other deputy chief on-duty to assign an engine and ladder for the detail. So, around 12:30am, Deputy Chief, Joe Doyle called me up to ask if Engine 14 or Ladder 30 had been to any working fires earlier in their shift(he didn’t want to send companies down that had already done some work). They hadn’t. So, I called the officer of each company and told them to take their company down to S. 9th St. for a detail. After about 4 minutes, Engine 14 came on radio heading to the detail. After about 8 minutes, no Ladder 30. I called their officer again, “Are you going down there or not?” “This is not my idea, it’s Deputy Chief’s Doyle’s!”. Grumble, grumble. About 3 minutes later, Ladder 30 comes on radio enroute to S. 9th St. The Lt. of Ladder 30’s hesitancy stemmed from an unwritten rule that you never used companies on the edge of the city to cover-up other cos. or details. The thinking being that it would take other companies longer to reach a fire in these edge districts. Evidently, Chief Doyle was unaware of this rule or chose to ignore it.