Station 22 in Point Loma razed to make way for new facility
by SCOTT HOPKINS
Published - 06/20/17 - 12:00 PM | 5409 views | 3 3 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Construction crews razed Station 22 in early June. / Photo by John Howard
Construction crews razed Station 22 in early June. / Photo by John Howard
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This will be the view of Fire Station 22 from Catalina Boulevard when the rebuilt station opens in about one year. The $5.7 million station will have bays for two fire engines, cover 6,180 square feet and feature dormitories for five firefighters plus a captain's quarters.
This will be the view of Fire Station 22 from Catalina Boulevard when the rebuilt station opens in about one year. The $5.7 million station will have bays for two fire engines, cover 6,180 square feet and feature dormitories for five firefighters plus a captain's quarters.
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In December of 1942, the United States observed the end of the first year's fighting in World War II. In San Diego, a population of 220,000 included many supporting the war effort by working at local military bases and factories.

Meanwhile, enough houses had been built on what was then rural Point Loma to warrant a fire station, and that month Station 22 was dedicated at 1055 Catalina Blvd. That station, with a Spanish tile roof and built using lots of brick, cost the city a paltry $7,800.

The station today has a district of coverage measuring 5.97 square miles, one of the largest of any San Diego Fire-Rescue crews, ranging from parts of Ocean Beach to Shelter Island and the Cabrillo National Monument.

It was San Diego's newest fire station since Station 21 opened in 1934 to serve Mission and Pacific beaches. In 1943, Station 23 was built to cover Linda Vista.

Vacant lots in Point Loma continued to disappear and the little station greatly helped reach emergencies faster than the other closest Stations 15 (Ocean Beach) and 20 (then known as the Midway-Frontier district).

But as the decades passed, it became apparent that the little building wasn't big enough to hold fire engines that were growing in size in addition to greater needs for crew working, exercise, sleeping, and living quarters.

After years of budgetary delays, the money has been set aside for the 75-year-old station to be replaced, and a contractor has already built temporary quarters for Engine 22 and her crews on the southeast corner of the station property.

Officials emphasize there will be no interruption of services during construction. Then on an early June day, the wrecking company gathered to bring the old building down. While putting up a good fight, it wasn't long before she was reduced to piles of metal, brick and very old lumber.

But in her place, a new, much larger station will stand proudly at the same site – at a far greater cost.

The new one-story building will measure 6,180 square feet with bays for two larger, modern engines and perhaps a truck. Dormitories for a captain and five crew members will provide spacious quarters when not on calls or performing other station work.

Cost for the new facility: $5.74 million.

Construction dates are approximate, but the project is slated to begin soon and conclude next summer. Officials emphasize there will be no interruption of services during construction. 

In an effort to provoke curiosity of both residents and persons passing the new station, Los Angeles-based artist Roberto Delgado has been granted a public art commission by the city to create a site-specific artwork for the facade.

The design will consist of a four-panel mural installation covering the vertical columns on the north face of the station. A city statement notes "Delgado’s colorful and complex artwork for the fire station will chronicle the history and character of the Point Loma neighborhood and its firefighters."

Contemporary and historic photos will be arranged into dynamic overlapping and layered compositions. Photographic imagery ranging from the Old Point Loma Lighthouse to the neighborhood’s past and present firefighters will be transferred to ceramic tiles using a silkscreen and airbrush process and then assembled to create the installation.

Delgado has previously completed installations at three Minneapolis-St. Paul light rail stations and a transit center in Ann Arbor, Mich. He has studied in Rome and has a masters of fine arts degree from UCLA and received grants from major groups and two Fulbright Fellowships.

Fire facts

In fiscal year 2016, Engine 22 responded to 1,637 medical calls, 150 fires and 42 rescues.

Station 15 was built in 1915 at 4926 Newport Ave. The current station on Voltaire Street was opened in August 1949 at a cost of $37,000.

In fiscal year 2016, Engine 15 responded to 2,343 medical calls, 218 fires and 31 rescues.

Comments
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Bill Berry
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July 05, 2017
Like Eric, I spent a lot of time bicycling up to that area.
Eric Awes
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June 24, 2017
Would ride our bike to the staion and the fireman would show us the bell that rang for fires and the tape that spit out the coded address of the fire...could hear the siren start up when the truck drove away for a fire call, from our Home on Dixon Place. (Four streets above Dana Junior High off of Chatsworth Blvd.
imhoppy
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June 25, 2017
As you know, Eric Awes, I grew up on Wildwood Road just a block away from you. We had the distinction of living right next door to one of Station 22's Captains, Bill Hanna. Every time 22 went out on a call that had them roll down Chatsworth Blvd., Bill's wife Helen would stand on their front porch and wave to him as they passed. Then, after such a call, Bill would often have the engineer stop by his home for awhile, so we became very familiar with the old engine used in that era at Station 22. That was also in the era when the engines and trucks were equipped with a large bell mounted on the right side of the rig in such a position the Captain could pull a chord from his seat and ring it as they made their way back to the station. The sound of that bell signaled me as a kid to run outside and admire the old engine while Bill Hanna made his visits. It must have been in every boy's genes back then...we all wanted to be firemen!
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