This is the fire station that is two blocks from my apartment. Located at 4th and Battery, it is the oldest active fire station in Seattle, and the busiest, as it is the closest to downtown and Seattle Center. Until May of this year, it held the emergency response teams and the phone lines for the fire department. These operations have now been moved to another station that is earthquake compliant and which contains the backup phone system in the same station, something the Belltown station didn’t have.
Although I couldn’t find the information on when the current station was built, the best guess is 1921. I got this from an old photo on the Seattle.gov page. It shows a fire house that was occupied from 1906 to 1921. And by the way, when will they figure out that “right click disabled” doesn’t work in Firefox?
Much of the credit for Seattle becoming a city belongs to the Great Seattle Fire of 1889. Until that time, Seattle didn’t have a professional fire department. Although the fire department itself was chartered in 1883, the charter provided for purchases of equipment, but not the hiring of firefighters.
The fire, which occurred on June 6, 1889, was started accidentally by the overturning of a gluepot in a cabinetmakers shop. The fire consumed 29 square blocks of the business district, and became the impetus for much rebuilding. It was also the impetus for the formulation of a building code that kept the city from burning to the ground again three years later.
Nowadays, as well as putting out the infrequent fires in a modern city, the firefighters are also on the forefront of the EMS system. And we are indeed glad to see them when they come to us after we’ve fallen from our bike and dislocated our shoulder.
And here’s a much better picture of the fire station by Joe Mabel that I found on WikiMedia Commons. Maybe I should just stay home with my camera.