Los Angeles Fire Museum

2 minutes read

Visit Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Museum in Hollywood. The old Fire Station 27 is home to fire vehicles, photographs, and artifacts retracing LAFD history and evolution. Let’s discover over 151 years of firefighters’ service.

A pinch of history

  • The fire department was created in Los Angeles in 1871.
  • The Plaza Firehouse is the oldest in the city, operating from 1884 to 1897. [Hyperlink El Pueblo]
  • Fire Station 27 was the largest west of the Mississippi
  • There are 114 fire stations in Los Angeles.

Early Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD)

From 1871 to 1885, the fire department was operated by volunteers.  A few companies were created, but they had limited resources and materials.

Credit photo: LAFD Photo Album, Courtesy Bill McGowan, 1886

Did you know?

To signal a fire, inhabitants fired three-shot into the air.
Credit photo: LAFD Photo Album, Engineer Hendricks Collection – Engine Company 17 on a Run, Circa 1915

The rivalry between volunteer fire companies was important as men get paid when they extinguished a fire. Also, they were rushing and competing to arrive first on a fire scene. Principally to end this situation, the city created the 1st paid fire department in December 1885.

Credit photo: LAFIRE Collection, Water Tower 1, Circa 1925

Did you know?

George P. McCain was the 1st paid firefighter with a $100 monthly salary.

Evolution of LAFD

The first floor of Fire Station 27 retraces vehicles and equipment from the late 1800s to the 1980s. Discover the steamer, a steam fire engine that burned coal to pump water.

Look at the Seagrave/Anderson. Originally horses-drawn it was converted later to a service truck.

Don’t miss the 1937 American LaFrance engine.

From 1886 to 1921, vehicles were horse-drawn. In the 1930s some neighborhoods, more rural, were still using a two-wheeled hand-drawn hose and/or chemical carts.

Credit photo: LAFIRE Collection – Volunteer Company Owensmouth, 7224 Remmet, San Fernando Valley, 1927

Did you know?

Blackie was the last LAFD fire horse.
Evolution of alarms

As the city grew, more fire hydrants and fire-alarm boxes were installed.  A signal office received the fire alarms and then identified the location to alert the closest fire station. Unsuccessfully, nearly 90 percent of it were false alarms, sometimes set off by kids after school.

Fire-alarm boxes

Did you know?

Not all Fire Stations are red: Los Angeles Airport (LAX) is yellow.

The second floor of the museum is dedicated to 9-11 Memorial, children’s display, LAFD athletic awards, worldwide helmet and badges, and more. Most of the artifacts document the land Fire Department, but you also have some areas describing the air and sea firefighters.

9/11 Memorial

Did you know?

During the L.A. fire season, the city rents canadairs to Canada.

Explore the plaza as you exit the museum. The pavement is a giant map of Los Angeles with all the Fire Stations and main highways. 

Next to the entrance is a memorial to honor fallen firefighters. 

Article based on my visit in May 2021.

Ready to celebrate L.A. Firefighters?

*COVID-19 update as of June 2022*

  • Please wear a mask and practice a physical distance of 6 feet between yourself and others.
  • Please review health and safety protocols before visiting.


– Location:  1355 N. Cahuenga Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

– Hours: Open Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm

– Admission:Free, donation recommended

– Duration: 2 hours

– Parking: metered and unmetered street parking

– More information at

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