Fire services in Toronto began in 1874 in the former City of Toronto, and still consisted of volunteer fire companies. Prior to 1874, fire services were composed of poorly trained volunteer companies in the city. The first company was created in 1826 and hook and ladder in 1831. Most were able bodied men who were trained to operate pumps to draw water from the lake.
The city's poor fire fighting services were highlighted by the Great Toronto Fire in 1849 and again in 1904. The latter fire which destroyed much of Bay Street from The Esplande West to Melinda Street, the Fire Department in Toronto became a critical city service and has evolved into the professional service that exists today.
As of April 2009, the departments and commissioners were replaced by divisions under the City Manager (and Deputy Managers), so the TFS is now referred to as the Toronto Fire Services Division