How do we differentiate between someone living at the fire department, or living near the fire department?
One of the answers is probably technically correct, but colloquially not accepted as the default statement. I believe we'd need a native's opinion though.
Native speaker. But also no one lives AT the firehouse. Only for a shift.
I think living near or next to would be "neben", and across would be "gegenüber".
"fire brigade" not allowed?
I 'think' the brigade refers to the group, where as the station is the physical place.
No it's a British vs American difference
correct translation says "at the" but is there some reason why "by the" is incorrect?
I answered "by the fire department" and the answer was counted as correct, and "at the fire department was shown as another correct translation.
What about "next to the"? Would that be correct? Not currently accepted.
I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think it would be. 'Bei' almost always means 'at the' and for next to, beside, I use 'neben'. Perhaps someone more sure can confirm/better explain.
a department is a unit of organisation - surely this means at the fire station (ie a physical place)
The translators may be from around the American Northeast. We tend to say either fire-department or firehouse here. Probably in other regions too, but I don't know for sure.
Duolingo doesn't like that I hyphenate polysyllabic compound-nouns rather than separating them.
Firehall is a word I use often but Duo doesn't like it
In English, we call it a fire station.