The Fire Department of New York (FNDY) has around 430 vehicles in service at any given time, including fire trucks, aerials, tower ladders, equipment vehicles, chief and staff cars. In addition, there are hundreds of rescue and back-up vehicles. The Fleet Services team is in charge of the maintenance and repair of all vehicles in all 221 fire stations in New York City, and all work takes place at the FDNY Repair Center in Queens. HAIX® got exclusive access into the huge workshop to get a first-hand look at the facility that is keeping the nation’s largest fire department in service.
At any given time around 40 to 50 vehicles are waiting to be checked, serviced or repaired at the maintenance facility in Queens. There is a team of 350 people who take care of the fleet. Trucks with tipped lifting platforms stand side by side next to trucks that have their hoods open, where pumps have been dismantled and gearboxes are awaiting repairs.
The facility is equipped with gigantic work platforms and two mechanics are working on the hydraulics of a ladder truck. Right behind them are the remains of the top section of the ladder. “This part is always the first to break on a ladder,” explains one of the mechanics. He is in charge of organization in the shop and walks us through the rows and rows of spare parts. Everything, from truck transmissions, pumps, electrical parts and even tires, is neatly stowed away in storage racks. In all, more than $4 million dollars in parts. Every single part, from the smallest screw to the complete gearbox is properly labelled and registered.
Up until the 1930s, FDNY even produced its own car batteries here. But that is ancient history now, and all that remains are outdated acid measuring devices. The carpenters who work at the facility, however, still produce fire hooks and similar equipment. So, the do-it-yourself tradition continues at the FDNY Fleet Services Repair Center.