Station 3

20 Mansfield Avenue

Engine 3

  • 2011 E-One Pumper
  • 1500 GPM Advanced Life Support / Rescue Pumper

Fire Station Three is one of the oldest operating firehouses in Vermont. The original Fire Station near this site burned down, leading to the decision to establish a career Fire Department. In 1895, the Burlington Fire Department was founded and this station was placed in service. It originally housed two horse drawn apparatus, a steam engine and a hose cart. In later years, a motorized engine carried both the pump and the hose, and a horse-drawn 85" spring-loaded aerial ladder was added.  A motorized tractor later took the place of the horses pulling the aerial ladder.

In the original construction, there were two bays on the front of the building, and behind the apparatus was the stable and tack room. Except for the front wall, the entire first floor has very high windows in the red brick walls. These were originally placed at such height to provide fresh air and light for the horses.

The living quarters for the firefighters were upstairs. There was a large common bunk room in the center of the building, with a kitchen and day room in the front, and a hay loft in the rear. A beautiful spiral wooden staircase leads to the second floor, and survives to this day. Firehouses of this period commonly had spiral staircases, because the bond between the firefighters and their horses was such that the horses would try to wander upstairs with the men. The hay loft remains much as it did in 1895. There is still the large door on the southern wall where bales of hay were once brought in. There is still a trap door in the floor, through which the firefighters of yesteryear would toss the hay bales.

Today the living quarters have been moved downstairs, to the area formerly occupied by the stable. While it is still possible to open the large barn door and throw hay upstairs, today the firefighters who work in this historic gem carry their food in the front door, and get diesel fuel at the city pumps.

The former second floor bunkroom was converted to a classroom and meeting space by the BFD Auxilliary in the 1960's. The former kitchen and dayroom in the front of the second floor housed the alarm division's workshop. Both of these functions were moved to the new Fire Station 2 on North Avenue when it was completed in the early 1980's. The second floor has stood largely vacant until 2005, when a modern physical fitness facility for on duty firefighters was built there.