March 1st, 2010 marked the 85th Anniversary of Rescue Company No. 2. General Order No.15 of 1925 officially organized the Company. Special Order No. 35 of 1925 transferred in the Charter Members of the Newly established Rescue Company. The catalyst for the formation of Brooklyn’s Rescue Company, was a fire aboard a Submarine located within the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Rescue Co.1, located in Manhattan was assigned to respond for use of its specialized equipment, including smoke masks. The significant spread of fire aboard ship given the lengthy response time of Rescue 1, is credited as the reason for the formation of Rescue Co. 2.
During its 85 year history, 80 Rescue Co.2 members have received Department medals for valor, and the Company has been awarded 52 Unit Citations. Ten members of Rescue Co. No. 2 have made the Supreme Sacrifice.
According to early documentation, including FDNY Annual reports, specialized tools and equipment were the primary reason for the establishment of the five Rescue Companies. Emphasis was placed on equipping the companies with tools that could be instrumental in performing rescues of civilians and firefighters at structural fires as well as operating at “odd jobs”. Early versions of Self Contained Breathing Apparatus were first assigned to the Rescue Companies. Heavy duty lifting equipment, torches, and saws were initially introduced to the Rescue Companies. Life lines and a line gun (Lyle Gun) were among the initial complement of equipment assigned to Rescue Co. No. 2.
as technology evolved, the Rescues were instrumental in pioneering the fire service application of Artificial Resuscitation techniques, SCBA, and firefighting foam. This tradition continues. Even today, the Rescues are often tasked with pilot testing tools and equipment. (see Tools of the Trade for profiles of contemporary tools and equipment used by the Rescue)
R-2 Historical Photo According to reported accounts of the early years of New York City Rescue Companies, the Rescues operated at an interesting array of incidents. In addition to firefighting, rescue units operated at incidents involving collapse of buildings, people trapped in subway turnstiles, attempted suicides, refrigeration leaks, subway accidents, trapped sewer workers, and the recovery of horses that had fallen through and off of piers.
Among the more notable incidents Rescue 2 has operated at:
- The St. George (Staten Island) Ferry Fire, June 25th, 1946.
R-2 operated for nine hours at this incident. Operating water and foam lines, as well as cutting holes in piers for distributor insertion.
– S.S. Hawaiian Farmer Fire, May 11, 1947
Compressed air demand masks were used to combat a fire located below decks in a rope locker. In addition to advancing a line to the seat of the fire, the Rescue cut holes in the steel bulkhead for ventilation purposes.
-S.S. Silver Sandal Fire, March 4, 1948
Members of R-2 used Scott airmasks to advance hose lines and shut down the ship’s refrigeration system. Acetylene torches were used to provide access to the burning cork, as well as provide ventilation. Rescue 2 worked for over eight hours at this incident.
– Plane crash, Park Slope Brooklyn, December 16, 1960
Two airliners collided in mid-air over New York Harbor. The first aircraft, a TWA Constellation crashed into a Military airfield on Staten Island. 44 bodies were recovered from the Staten Island Site. The second aircraft, a United DC-8 crashed into Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood. R-2 members operated for almost 72 hours continuously at the crash location of Sterling Pl. and 7th Ave. Rescues 1 and 4 also operated at this incident. The Rescue units deployed many of their specialized equipment to both combat the fire and search through the wreckage and debris.
- Aircraft Carrier Constellation, December 19 ,1960
All five rescue companies operated at the fire aboard this vessel under construction. The fire had trapped many workers below decks. Rescue members used their masks and torches extensively to gain access to the trapped workers. Many risky and challenging rescues were made at this incident. The companies also made use of every available inhalator and resuscitator. 50 workers were killed, and over 385 were injured.
– World Trade Center Terrorist attack, February 26, 1993
Once again all five rescue companies operated at this event, which was touched off by an explosion of a terrorist bomb located in a sub-basement level of the World Trade Center. At about lunch time, Rescue 2 was dispatched on the 2nd alarm for a possible boiler or transformer explosion. Prior to R-2′s arrival, the incident had progressed to a 4th alarm. Upon their arrival, R-2 members were tasked with determining, if possible, a means to abate the heavy spread of smoke and heat from the basement levels (primarily from the vehicle fires in the lower level parking structure). Given the extent of the “crater ” created by the blast, there was no feasible means to control the smoke spread from below.
The company then split into separate squads to assist with the searches in the sub-basement levels. One team located and assisted in the freeing of a blast victim located on the same level of “ground zero”. This victim, a Port Authority employee survived the explosion. The company operated for about 6 hours , and was awarded a unit citation. Six occupants were killed, and over 1000 were reported injured.
- World Trade Center Terrosist Attack Septmber 11 , 2001 –
While ascending the stairs to respond to numerous maydays for firemen trapped and to fight a fire on the 83rd floor. The 110 story (tower 1 ) building collapsed to the ground. Lt. Martin , Fr. Lake , Fr. Libretti, Fr. O’rourke , Fr. Quappe, Fr. Rall , and Fr. Napolitano of Rescue 2 were all killed in the line of duty. On that day 343 members of the F.D.N.Y. all sacfriced their lives so others will live.
Rescue Apparatus Since its inception, the Company has operated with 11 Rescue rigs.
Rescue Company Quarters
When initially organized, the Company was quartered with E-210, located at 160 Carlton Ave. From October 1929 to May of 1946 the Company was housed at 365 Jay Street. The Company moved back in with E-210 until July 26, 1985, when the Company moved to its current location. The current firehouse on Bergen St., built in 1893, was formerly occupied by E-234, and Salvage 1.