The firehouse was built in 1937 as a Work Projects Administration (WPA) project, Project #12545, coordinated through the the City of Boston Institutions Department. The initial fire protection services was provided by the Long Island Hospital and staffed by Hospital employees.
The firehouse became part of the Boston Fire Department on April 10, 1946 when Engine Company 54 and Ladder Company 33 were organized. The apparatus of Engine 54 and Ladder 33 were barged to Long Island, as there was no land access to the island at that time. A bridge was built in 1951.
The firehouse is located on the grounds of the Long Island Hospital on Long Island in Boston Harbor. The island is only accessible by vehicular traffic via a bridge, from Moon Island, which is only accessible from a causeway from the Squantum section of the City of Quincy.
Ladder 33 was re-designated Ladder 31 on October 14, 1957. Engine 54 and Ladder 31 were deactivated on April 10, 1981.
The Long Island Hospital was closed in the years from 1980 to 1982 and its facilities were converted to a homeless shelter. Homeless persons are bused to the island each evening, so that on cold winter nights up to 1500 persons may be housed on the island.
The Fire Brigade, an understaffed engine company, was organized in 1981 to provide fire suppression services, due to isolated location of the island and the amount of time needed for land-based fire companies to respond from Dorchester to Long Island (approximately 15 minutes). Due to the poor condition of the Long Island Bridge, fire companies are prohibited from driving fully-loaded fire apparatus on the bridge.
In order to provide ladder truck services, a 65 foot junior aerial ladder truck was purchased from the Town of Whitman and is quartered as part of the Fire Brigade. The ladder truck does not leave the island.
The Fire Brigade has a very limited response area, just the island itself. The Fire Brigade responds to approximately 300 incidents per year.
The 1945 Ward LaFrance pumper of Engine 54 remains in the possession of the Boston Fire Department.