This day in age, new fire stations seem more like the inside of a school or jail than a firehouse from back in the day…Wood trim, wood floors, two-story, cozy and warm firehouses have been replaced with concrete or tile floors, cinder-block walls, single story, institutionalized fire stations. My crew has found a way to make our fire station more like a firehouse…through our own hard work and dedication.
I am not complaining…The first firehouse I worked in was built in 1929. It was brick with plaster walls, wood floor, steam radiators that clanged all night, terrazzo floors (even in the bay, and one remaining pole that went from the hallway upstairs to right between the fire engine and ambulance in the bay below. The largest room was the bunkroom where everyone had their own bed (at one time that probably meant 5 or 6 men per truck per shift when it housed an engine and ladder). That station was recently closed and consolidated. The ambulance became medic 5…the engine no longer exists. Another engine company bit the dust…and it was one of the busiest in the City.
Now I work at Station 3. The station is 2 years old and replaced station 10 which was located at the airport. The suppression units (engine and medic) went to station3, the ARFF trucks remained.
Station 3 has stained and epoxied concrete floors, cinder block walls…and up until about a year ago NO history or character.
A little over a year ago I got moved out here with a brand new crew. My Captain was promoted from a different shift and joined us on A-shift. Two firefighters had been here, another came from a different station, and then there is the
boomerang Lieutenant…He was promoted, but due to a simple addition error at Fire Administration they took his bugle away. He still moved here as a firefighter and they moved me to be the Lieutenant.
We all agreed that the fire station needed to be turned into a FIREHOUSE. After all, we were set to spend A LOT of time at the station and wanted it to be more like a home…a firehouse!
Many firefighters across the Nation and beyond have found ways of doing this. Mascots, Wall Shields, Custom Kitchen Tables, and other customizations around the firehouse to make it feel like a home.
We are no different. Throughout the past year, we have been busy. We have spent a lot of our time when we aren’t cooking, training, and running calls we have been setting up the wood shop in the bay and doing work!
We are still working on our custom kitchen table. We have been plagued by decisions on what to do and how to do it throughout the project. We have been working on our kitchen table for about 6 months. The good news is that it is nearing completion. We still have to build the base, do some finish sanding, mount a coin and plaque, stain and epoxy it…but we are getting their. We opted to not do the typical tongue and groove top and went with pine 4×4’s with a cherry edge band and cherry inlay. There is also a purpleheart piece in the middle of each side. The top sits on a painted metal frame that the base will attach to.
I think it is important for firefighters to take pride in their stations. Whether they know how to knit, woodwork, metalwork, or paint they can chip in to customize the station and turn it into a firehouse. I wonder what this place will look like in 50 years when I am long gone!
With the exception of the workbench, the firefighters at my station have paid for all of the projects. The FD chipped in to pay for our workbench.
Feel free to send in photos of your kitchen tables or other projects you have done around the station!
Some decals on the windows of the engine
We made custom magazine racks in each of the restrooms. They also hold up to 4 extra rolls of toilet paper. Notice our literature!
A custom rack for hanging spare leather radio straps on.