The new station #6 at the corner of Jackson and Martin Luther King Jr. Way looks like a state of the art station. In addition to being able to pull the trucks out onto MLK Jr. Way and pull back into the rear of the station from Jackson, they have the ability to control the traffic lights at that intersection. The other building spaces look ultra modern; including a kitchen to die for with gleaming stainless steel appliances and surfaces (although the attending fireman waffled a little when I asked if they were all good cooks.)
I have to say I was not prepared for the crowds attending this open house; not having small children anymore, I forgot the attraction of fire trucks and firefighters for small children. The kids happily wore their red plastic fire hats and got their faces painted while the adults drank Starbucks’ coffee and munched on Top Pot donuts. An historic 1930 fire truck was a big hit; it was built by Mack and had a sturdy silver bulldog as a hood ornament. Historic trucks and equipment are housed at the Last Resort Fire Dept. Museum at 2nd and Main in Pioneer Square; it is open only on Wednesdays during the winter (11am-3pm) and on both Wednesdays and Thursdays (same hours) during the summer. Admission is free.
Downstairs is pretty much devoted to the trucks, medical supplies, computer room, equipment room and other administrative offices while the upstairs is living quarters for the firemen on duty. There is an exercise room, bunk rooms, lockers, the awesome kitchen with a dining table for 8 and a TV room with comfy looking leather chairs. There are always 8 men on duty, and duty is a 24 hour shift (7:30am to 7:30am the next day); you don’t leave the next morning until your replacement gets there. Eight are on duty at all times; 4 men for each truck. The double stairway provides fast access to the fire trucks no matter where the firemen are on the second floor.
Some myths were broken: the brass pole is gone (too many injuries) and I didn’t find a dalmatian. And for those who are worried about the old fire station, it does have historic status; although changes can be made inside, the outside must stay the same. For the time being, parking traffic enforcement officers are stationed there but the fire department does intend to sell this building in the future.