One by one, other companies and apparatus were removed until finally only Fireboat 2 and unmanned Foam 112 remained at the station. It also became apparent that expanding container terminals were pressing in on both sides of the station . It was standing in the way of progress. The plan was to fill in slip 228, shave off the point north of quarters and have a continuous wharf from Berth 216 to Berth 239.
In the early 80's, badly deteriorated pilings were replaced under the house as a temporary measure until agreements were worked out between the Fire and Harbor Department's concerning relocation. Finally it was decided to move the company to a temporary facility in San Pedro until a permanent station could be built. With the completion of the modular interim station just north of the old ferry building at Berth 85, the company began moving sixty years of accumulated support hardware for Fireboat 2. On July 3, 1986, all emergency operations were transferred to the new station and the boat was moored outside, there to remain for approximately 30 months while a new station is being built next door at Berth 86. Almost immediately, workmen began removing the asbestos shingles from the old house. On July 22, the great back hoes of the Power Breaking Corporation began munching the apparatus floor; then the living quarters and hose tower. Suddenly work stopped as a small amount of asbestos was discovered and the old boat house stood there naked in the rubble as if protesting the outrage of it all.
About a week later, work began again. I looked up the channel one morning and saw there was but a twenty foot section of the north wall still standing. We castoff and silently slipped up to Berth 227 arriving just after the last section came crashing down. It was 1000 hours on July 29, 1986. We stood off about two hundred feet, faced the desolation and sounded a last salute, three long, mournful blasts of the Scott's old horn. The workmen straightened up like they had been speared with a lance (as anyone who stood before that mighty trumpet can relate to) then proceed unaware of the gathering lump in our throats as we pivoted away from the scene for the last time.
In its final years, the old building had little resembled its 1926 elegance: but the hundreds of firefighters who have worked there, as well as many other friends and visitors. will always remember its functional simplicity. A real home away from home. Perhaps Larry Schneider said it best, "It was just a building, just utilitarian; but there was something about the place that everybody loved."
This article appeared in the September, 1986 issue of THE FIREMEN'S GRAPEVINE.
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