PUERTO PLATA FIRE DEPARTMENT
Considered one of the most iconic landmarks of Puerto Plata, the fire department building is still the old, always faithful sentinel standing guard after more than 90 years since its construction. Exactly the way it was back then, just a bit of rust here and there; to visit it takes travelers back to the 18th century era that gave Puerto Plata its perennial character.
Puerto Plata Fire Department History
The national fire brigade (Cuerpo de Bomberos) for the island of Dominican Republic was founded by national hero general from Puerto Plata Gregorio Luperón, through decree no. 1851, which became law on June 29th, 1912.
Gregorio Luperón ordered the creation of fire departments in the main cities of Santo Domingo, La Vega, Puerto Plata, Montecristi, San Pedro de Macoris, Cotui, Azua, El Seibo and Bani.
In 1893, General Ulises Heureaux (Lilis) then President of the Dominican Republic, appointed Colonel Angel Perdomo to organize a fire department that would work at the DR customs department, so he began to group the youth of the city to teach them military courtesy and discipline in order to enlist them as firemen.
His excellent work and leadership surpassed the army at that time, so he was promoted to the rank of general. The actual building was started under the administration of Ulises Heureaux (1882-1884) and finished in 1930 under Rafael Leonidas Trujillo (1930-1961). It has been painted in light yellow before, though now it is red and cyan.
The POP fire department building has twin towers flanking left and right, a center half-domed wall where the Patron of Las Mercedes is shown devotion, and a large interior hall where the trucks and work gear are organized. The staff is super nice, allowed us in to take pictures and explained to us a bit of the history. Even though this is not an official tour, most visitors to Puerto Plata stop by to admire this iconic structure and its past.
A historic landmark of Puerto Plata:
The fire department building has been considered a historic landmark and attraction, portrayed in videos and documentaries. The latest video of famous DR author Juan Luis Guerra featured the building in the Lampara Pa`Mis Pies video, featured in this travel guide. Also, Lantica Media (Pinewood studios) has included it in their movie location catalog for future productions.
There are currently 136 fire departments scattered throughout the national territory. The Directorate of Training and Planning of the Fire Brigades, under the command of Brigadier General offers advice for a better job and guidance of the material and human resources of these agencies in the country.
This Directorate also trains firefighters in the tasks of rescue, water rescue, swimming, among other courses to members of the different military branches of the country such as: Cestur, National Army and the National Police. Puerto Plata has new fire trucks and equipment, and they joined forces with Rescate Ambar ambulances and the local 911.
How to get there:
Cuerpo de Bomberos De Puerto Plata
Avenida Gral. Gregorio Luperon (Malecon)