SEATTLE – The Seattle Fire Department and the Seattle Fire Fighters Union, Local 27, invite the community to check out Seattle’s brand new Fire Station 6, located at 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. in the Central District, during an open house on March 16, 2013, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“The fire stations and the firefighters are an integral part of the communities they serve. This is a chance for residents to meet the men and women who serve their area,” says Fire Chief Gregory Dean
Fire Station 6 is one of 32 neighborhood fire stations being upgraded, renovated or replaced through the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Program, which was approved by Seattle voters in 2003. Construction on the $5.9 million station began in August 2011 and was completed in January 2013. Eight personnel are on duty at the station per shift.
“This is a chance for the Seattle residents to see their tax dollars at work,” says Mayor Mike McGinn. “It’s vital our firefighters have earthquake resilient facilities in order to respond to major disasters or emergencies.”
The new 11,200 square foot facility meets seismic code and is designed to be safely occupied following an earthquake. A diesel-powered generator allows the building to run for 72 hours should the building lose electricity.
The new Fire Station 6 replaces a 4,060 square foot station built in 1931 and located at 101 23rd Ave. S. The former station 6’s existing configuration, site terrain and historic character ruled out an on-site expansion.
A new apparatus bay provides the space the ladder truck and engine require. Features of the new facility to protect firefighters include a decontamination room and areas to avoid contaminating clean spaces with chemicals and toxic substances. Additional room for equipment includes a bunker gear room and storage space for modern firefighting equipment.
Fire Station 6 is one of the busiest in the city, tallying 3289 emergency responses in 2012.
The Seattle Fire Department’s goal for “turnout time” – the time it takes for a firefighter to get to the vehicles and out of the building from any place on site – is one minute or less 90 percent of the time. For the fire department, this was the single most important thing to think about during building design. One unique feature – “scissor stairs” – maximizes Fire Station 6’s small footprint and helps achieve the quick turnout time. Scissor stairs are a set of two interlocking stairways providing two separate exit paths within one stairwell enclosure.
The new building reflects the city’s commitment to green design practices. Seattle is seeking a LEED gold certification for the facility, which includes recycled construction materials; low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, carpets and plywood; lots of natural light coming through double-glazed windows; energy-efficient lighting tied to occupancy and daylight sensors; permeable parking areas allowing water to infiltrate naturally rather than draining directly into a storm drain; a vegetated roof that helps control run off and moderate building temperatures; and water-efficient plantings. What little water that will be required for irrigation comes from roof run-off held in underground storage tanks. The building has been wired to accept power from future solar panels planned for the roof. Power generated from solar panels can be used for the building, or given to Seattle City Light for use elsewhere.
A traffic signal, triggered by a firefighter in the building when they are preparing to leave on an emergency call, will keep the intersection at Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and South Jackson Street clear when fire rigs exit the station.
Fire Station 6 was developed by the city of Seattle’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services, designed by local architects Weinstein A|U and built by Commercial Structures, Inc. Artwork by Steve Gardner, made of cast glass set into a laser-cut aluminum frame, hangs above the apparatus bay doors. Gardner spent time at the original Fire Station 6 making molds of objects and interesting textures he found there to incorporate into the art. See http://gardnerart.com/?p=319 and http://gardnerart.com/?p=222 for more information.
The Seattle Police Department is temporarily basing parking enforcement officers from the East Precinct Police Station at the former fire station 6 for approximately 18 to 24 months while the Capitol Hill Arts building is under construction on the police station’s former parking lot. A recommendation regarding the disposition of the former fire station 6 is being prepared for the City Council’s review.