With grit and determination, every day firefighters bravely put their lives on the lines for us, but it seems it’s not just the flames these brave men and women face; from haunted firehouses to ghostly apparitions. Here are 14 of the most chilling paranormal encounters and ghost stories shared by firefighters from across the United States.
1. Guardian Angel
Our firehouse isn’t haunted, at least not on a regular basis, but one of our engines is.
Two examples I have personally seen and experienced are; first, we were responding to a call in a dark, secluded, industrial area one night when the engine suddenly sputtered, stalled, and coasted to a stop right in front of a railroad crossing with no gates. Just as we stopped, a freight train came through. The engine started right up and ran fine after the train passed.
The second example happened one blazing hot summer afternoon when we were called to a highway construction site for a burning shanty. We pulled up and began advancing the handline when it suddenly seemed like the hose became tangled up in the hosebed. We went back to the engine to check, and just then the shanty blew up into thousands of tiny pieces. There were NO tangles in the hose, and it wasn’t caught or hung up anywhere.
2. Mr Jones
Our fire department is haunted by a man named Mr. Jones. The story dates back many years before we built a new station. Mr. Jones died at the old firehouse from a heart attack after battling a house fire.
A chief told me a story once: ‘I went to the restroom which was off the hallway. On my way in, I sat my brand new pack of cigarettes on the file cabinet outside of the doorway. When I came out, the cigarettes were lined end-to-end down the hallway.’
Another firefighter about a year later also had a ‘Mr. Jones Experience.’ He and another guy were watching TV one night when the clock above the TV flew off the wall, landed in the center of the room, spun around a few times, then landed on a book shelf.
All of the ‘haunted firehouse’ stories never really had me believing until Mr. Jones gave me a story of my own. I have this thing about open shower curtains. I notice when they are open and I have to close them. I had walked into the restroom to clean it but forgot a trash bag. The shower curtain was open. When I walked back in, about 30 seconds later, the curtain was closed. That is the only story that is personal. Other than that, we have doors that open and close by themselves, lights that go on and off, stuff like that. So that’s my story and I’m stickin to it.
3. Jesus Christ
About seven or eight years ago, we arrived at a townhouse with heavy fire from the first floor on side one. After making entry, locating the fire in the kitchen, and extinguishing, we set about taking out a few windows for ventilation.
After the smoke had risen, we noticed that the living area to the rear of the kitchen (which was on the right hand side as we entered) had taken significant smoke and heat damage. On the wall was a picture of Jesus Christ, and it was the only object in the room that appeared untouched. Even the wall BEHIND the picture was smoke-stained and blistered.
There was evidence of two streams of water that had trickled from the lower corners of the picture to a point in the middle of the wall where they met and continued down to the floor. The odd thing was that the line had been pulled through this room and was flowing into the kitchen to push the fire out the front, through a large vented window. No water had been flowing in the room, and the steam produced had been pushed out the window. Even the FM was amazed, and we haven’t seen anything like it since. It kinda makes one wonder.
We have a protector. We had a member, Steve that was killed in the line of duty during a helicopter operation. Ever since he died, members swear they can hear him in the building at night. Doors close, open, etc. without explanation. Then one night we figured out why he was there.
Firefighter uniformOne of our members who has been here about 15 years now was on duty. We have bullet proof vests we keep on the units, but in a back compartment. He heard that compartment open and close. He went out into the bay and looked at it, and for some reason he took the vest out and put it in the front seat. He’d never done that before.
Next thing you know, he’s toned out to a ‘sick call’ that after his arrival was deemed a shooting. Nothing happened to him, but the point was made.
Several such incidents have occurred. Whenever something big is about to happen, a unit door opens and shuts or a bay door opens etc. We always know.
5. The Phantom Handprint
One of my favorite Chicago ghost stories, although one that is not active today, has to be the story of the phantom handprint that appeared at the old fire station for Engine Company 107.
On April 18, 1924, a firefighter named Frank Leavy was washing a window at the fire station. For some reason, he paused in his work, his hand resting against the pane of glass, and he told a friend who was standing nearby that he had the strangest feeling he was going to die that day. Just then, the station received an alarm call and the fire fighters were sent to a fire that had broken out at Curran Hall, an office building in Chicago. While fighting the fire, a wall collapsed and killed eight of the firemen… Frank Leavy was one of those killed.
The next day, one of the firemen noticed something strange about the window that Frank had been washing the day before. There seemed to be an unusual stain on the glass…. and it appeared to be the imprint of Frank’s hand at the same spot where he had been leaning the day before.
They tried everything that they could, but they could find no way to erase the strange handprint. It seemed to be etched into the glass!
An expert from the Pittsburgh Plate Glass company brought a special solution to the fire house, guaranteeing that it would remove the print, but it didn’t work. Over the years, there were suggestions that the pane of glass be removed, but many of the firemen argued, saying that it was not right to fool with the unknown. Besides that, it was a reminder, albeit a grim one, of their dead friend. And there was no doubt that the handprint belonged to Frank Leavy! An official from the city had come down with a fingerprint comparison and the prints matched those of Frank’s. For the next twenty years, the handprint defied all explanation and was a common attraction to visitors and other firemen from around the city.
Finally, on the morning of April 18, 1944 a careless paper boy tossed the morning edition at the fire house and shattered the window where Frank’s handprint had been.
It happened exactly twenty years to the date of when Frank Leavy died!
6. “You F**ked Him Off Now”
There was a fire about 6-7yrs ago. The call was weird from the start, the 1st due engine didn’t want to start (it was out on a run bout 20mins before) they get there, the house was fully involved. When they got there, the fire was burning in strange ways… at one point flames were shooting out a window, and taking a ninety degree turn upward. The investigator pictures show the face of the devil in the smoke and flames. I know it sounds BS, but I have seen a few of these pics, and have talked with some of the investigators. They were saying that the basement was rocking, when they went back the next day it looked as though nothing burned downstairs.
The weirdest part of the fire was the 911 call. The dispatcher said the callers wife was in the back ground screaming, “you f**ked him off now, look he’s gone and burned the place down”. These people were said to have been Satan worshipers, everyone in the Dept. is afraid to even go on that road for calls. Incidentally the name of the road is “Angel Hill” hmmm, pretty weird.
I worked for a department that had lost a few members in its time. Over the course of the first few months I was there, I noticed strange noises in the bay. Once, I walked in the front door only to hear the back door slam. I walked back to see who it was, and when I opened the back door, no one was there. There was fresh snow on the ground and no tracks.
Another time I went down to the bay in the middle of the night. I heard distinct footsteps walking around one of the rigs on the other side of the bay. I called out but no one answered. I got spooked and crept around the bay with an axe trying to find the intruder. No one there! I also got a really spooky feeling a few times when I was alone in the bay by the back door. Later, I happened to mention to the chief that I had heard some weird stuff in the station at night. He got a strange look on his face and said ‘Let me guess… footsteps behind Engine 3 and a creepy feeling by the back door!’ I got the same story from one of the captains, about hearing footsteps and all that. Guess someone’s still hanging around…
8. The Station in The Woods
Back at my old department before I moved to my current one I was assigned to the farthest southern station by myself with a single engine. The area was in a heavily wooded area of the district. At night it got extremely dark in that area, more so than the other areas of the dist. There were a lot of one lane dirt and paved roads as well as a few meth labs, and no police coverage.
I had had several occasions that I would hear dogs barking at a house near the station, and hear sounds outside the station like thumping noises, usually after 1 AM. I would go outside to look and no one would be there. These noises went on for about a week. Once I had a friend from another station come down to visit me but I was gone, he got scared off when he heard five loud bangs on the wall near the kitchen, of course he failed to tell me this. Another night I was in bed and saw a shadow outside my window walking in the flower bed. The shadow passed my window and then the person kicked the door near the bay. I crawled out of bed and called 911, while I was on the phone the person busted out the bedroom window, half scared sh*tless I ran to the engine and bailed north to another station with a higher staffing level. The PD responded and 45 minutes later searched and deemed the station safe.
I soon after moved from that station and it is no longer staffed even now 3 years later. I found out from a B/C later on that a pervious FF had been attacked in the parking lot washing an engine, and that the station had had several other weird occurrences happen since it was built.
9. The Hose Tower Hanging
I too have heard of the strange noises that occur inside many of our firehouses.
We have a firehouse that late at night, you can hear chains rattling at the top of the hose tower. When you turn on the light and climb the ladder to the platform at the top of the tower, nothing is there. The rumor has it that back in the 50’s a probationer hung himself in the hose tower and wasn’t discovered for a week.
10. The Old Capt.
The oldest station in Lex., KY, is haunted, according to some of the old heads, by an old Capt. who died while on duty in his sleep on Christmas Eve in the 1940’s. He is said to have sat in an old cane bottomed rocking chair, that chair was put in the attic of the station after his death, where it is still heard to be rocking on occasion.
Chiefs have gotten calls from neighbors who were mad because they could see a fireman looking out of the upstairs window, but no one would answer the door. This usually happens when the engine company was out on a fire run or training. Engine started by itself and backed in to the wall one night (std. trans.). Some of the guys who have worked there would not even go in the house alone on payday to pick up their pay checks if the co. was out.
11. The Ouija Board
A fire company that I used to belong to is quartered in a building built in the 1930’s and it is unquestionably haunted. Odd things happen regularly such as bathroom stall doors being locked from the inside, tv and lights turning on and off, footsteps across the floor, yelling when nobody else is there, etc… A few members decided to bring in an Ouija board one night and see what they could find. It turns out that there are two ghosts, one is a past chief and the other is a small boy that used to live in a row of miner’s houses that has long since been torn down.
The chief confirmed his identity by naming other long dead members (so long dead that we had to dig back 50 years in the company’s records to even find their names!). The chief generally drags chairs around the meeting room at night and yells at members while the boy is constantly bouncing his ball on the upstairs floor. All of this only happens at night.
12. The Indian Arrowheads
My father’s volunteer fire company also found Indian arrowheads while they were digging for an addition to the firehouse back in the 50s, but they also unearthed cannonballs and buttons. If my memory is right, some expert said that the cannonballs were from the American revolution and that the buttons were from a Hessian soldier (Hessians were mercenaries that the British used against Washington’s army). BUT – strange things began happening while those items the firemen dug up were in the firehouse.
First off, anyone that touched the items got very ill with high fevers and rash. The guys that actually dug up the items were very bad off; and their feet became swollen and turned black and blue. The door to the firehouse would also swing open just as someone approached, and the doors to the huge cast iron firehouse oven would open and close all by itself. Someone in the company said that they should bury the items; put them back in the ground – and when they did everyone got better, and all the strange things stopped happening.
13. The Fortune Teller
My firehouse has had a run of strange happenings over the years also. Many of us have actually seen a misty figure move through the rec room and out to the apparatus room. Some of the crews have seen the figure together, others have seen him when they were by themselves. The usual doors swinging, chairs moving upstairs, people walking across the floor or up and down the stairs happens occasionally.
The really scary part was when a friend of a friend stopped by the firehouse with her kids for a tour. This woman practices tarot card readings, fortune telling and the like. She had never been in the firehouse before and had never known about any of the instances in the firehouse. After the tour she asked me if the firehouse had “guest appearances” often. I thought she meant the kids and said that we often have children take tours of the place. She corrected herself and asked if we had ever seen ghosts, I said, maybe-I’m not sure. She described our misty figure from head to toe exactly as he appears and said she had seen him. Do I believe, probably not much more than I had before that day but I don’t doubt anything.
14. Standing Behind Me
This story takes place in Fayetteville, NC and the department I used to work for there. When I was assigned to Engine 2, I had heard all kinds of stories of it being haunted. Footsteps, doors opening, writing on the wall, and even a sighting are all the things I was told about.
I heard some things once in a while but the one time I was really spooked happened in late 2000. I was lying in bed, about 2 am when I heard footsteps approach my bunk and stop behind me, between my bed and the wall. The first thing I thought was that I had slept through a call but then I saw that my LT was still asleep and I noticed the radio was quiet. I could feel someone standing beside the bed and as much as I didn’t want to I slowly turned and looked to find that there was no one there.
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