As with most of America's fire departments, Binghamton's began in 1834 as a volunteer organization. On May 3rd of that year the trustees of the village voted to establish and organize volunteer fire and hook and ladder companies. By June 30th sixteen citizens had accepted appointments. After a somewhat dubious beginning, the village purchased the first real piece of firefighting equipment in June of 1836. Eight hundred dollars was raised to purchase a small "button" hand powered fire engine. An additional $250.00 was spent to buy land and erect an engine house on the present site of the Broome County Court House Square. The Village of Binghamton continued to grow and consequently the fire load, necessitating the formation of additional volunteer companies. The loosely organized companies then began electing a chief annually with the first recorded chief, Chief Peter Miller, being elected in 1842. Two years after Binghamton obtained status as a city in 1867, the City of Binghamton Fire Bureau was formed under the leadership of Chief Erastus R. Campbell. On October 1, 1911 the department became fully paid with a complement of 91 officers and firefighters with Charles N. Hogg as the Chief. On April 18th, 1919, the members of the Department became apart of the IAFF Union as Local 182; however, due to financial reasons during World War 2, the Department lost its original number and would be reinstated on September 4th, 1942 as IAFF Local 729. The bureau would continue to grow in size, and, modernized with motor driven apparatus; eventually phasing out the horse drawn equipment in 1922.
With the building of the station at 259 Conklin Avenue in 1929 the bureau reached its maximum size of 186 men operating nine engine companies, three truck companies and one heavy Rescue Company out of nine stations. The bureau remained relatively unchanged until the late 1950's when the population began shifting to the rural areas of the county. Although the bureau began to downsize in relation to Binghamton's shrinking population, the scope of its operation expanded. In September of 1981 the ambulance was transferred from the Police Bureau to the Fire Bureau. In addition to providing ambulance service, a "First Responder" program was initiated. By having cross-trained Firefighter/EMT's responding from each station, in addition to the ambulance, medical assistance began reaching patients in approximately three minutes of the 911 call. To meet the growing needs of the City, the Hazardous Material Response Team began operating in May of 1988. In 1996 the EMS program was upgraded to provide ALS level of service. Initially, twelve Firefighters were trained as Paramedics. Today's Fire Bureau has evolved into a modern multifaceted emergency response force providing firefighting, emergency medical services, hazardous materials and rescue coverage. If it isn't directly related to law enforcement, it is the Fire Bureau's job to provide assistance.