Fire stations of the world: Galveston Fire Station 1, Galveston, Texas, US
Texas’ Galveston Fire Station 1 is a beautifully-designed 27 720 square foot building, intended to match the historic architecture of downtown Galveston. The facility opened in August 2019 and cost $10 278 870. The new station, situated at 823 26th Street in Galveston, Texas in the US, is a top-of-the-art facility and offers the necessary indoor storage space for first responders and their equipment so it is protected from the island's climate. This new facility for the Galveston Fire Department includes a massive, eight-door apparatus bay, 3 floors with elevator and slide pole, outdoor balconies, conference room, fitness centre, classroom, offices, and large break room with kitchen and comfortable seating.
Galveston Island has seen its fair share of devastating hurricanes over the past 120 years. Fully funded by a Hurricane Ike disaster recovery grant, the new Galveston Fire Station 1 is designed to withstand inevitable future hurricanes and contribute to the architectural character of this historic Texas city.
The new station was built to withstand the wind speeds, debris and storm surge from a Category 5 hurricane. Located in the heart of Galveston next to City Hall and the famous Moody Mansion, the station’s design complements the architectural styles of its neighbours. The symmetrical form of the building is derived from the Classical Revival style of the City Hall, while the materials, balconies and detailing reflect the Romanesque style of the Moody Mansion. To create a connection between City Hall and the fire station, the entrances are orientated on axis to one another across a new public plaza, where the former fire station stood.
To mitigate future flood events from rendering the station inoperable, the training, living and administrative spaces are located on the second and third levels and all mechanical equipment is elevated. The first level, which consists of four 100-foot-deep apparatus bays and support spaces, is designed to allow flood waters to pass through the building via flood vents. Concrete masonry unit block walls, corrosion-resistant materials and raised electrical outlets will prevent costly flood damage and allow for easy cleanup.
In the event of an emergency, the station is fully generated and can sleep 19 people and the training room can double as a backup emergency operations centre. Fire Station 1 has become a new civic landmark that will continue to serve and protect the surrounding community for decades to come.
Key features include a four-bay pull-through apparatus bay, historical details and accents, administrative offices, fire pole, coffered ceilings, deep bays for maintenance and large conference areas.
Galveston‘s first paid fire department began in 1885, but fire prevention on the island goes back to the founding of the city in the late 1830s in early 1840s. In the early days, volunteer firefighters were the only thing that still between a cooking fire gone awry, or an out-of-control chimney fire. In some cases, early residents were required to keep buckets in every room of the house just in case they need to put out a fire. Before 1885 volunteer firefighters of Galveston had a very difficult time doing that job. Response time for very slow as the roads were mostly sand which made responding with necessary equipment extremely difficult. As the city grew, fire fighting evolved.
In 1876, they moved from fire-watch towers to a telegraph system. The initial system utilized over 12 miles of wiring. One of Galveston‘s worst fires occurred in November 1885. A fire broke out at Vulcan ironworks at 16th and strand and destroyed over 40 city blocks. As a north wind and dense wooden structures on the east end of Galveston fed the flames.
Since the founding of the Galveston Fire Department, the training, equipment and stations have become some of the most advanced in the state of Texas. Central fire station #1 was built with the intention to match the historical architecture of the downtown Galveston area and was built with hurricane preparedness and personnel comfort in mind. On the east side of central fire station #1, there is a memorial for fire fighters who lost their lives protecting the city of Galveston.
Sources: Galveston Fire Department, Brown Reynolds Watford Architects, Construction Ltd, Galveston Unscripted