Josh Wigger & Mike Howe Mural
FRESNO'S FIRE DEPARTMENT #3
Station No. 3, was constructed in 1938 and is considered the oldest fire station in the Fresno Metropolitan area. Located at 1406 Fresno St, was originally built to house 32 firefighters. It is commonly referred to as “The Rock” because it was cast in a single block of concrete.
According to the City of Fresno Station No.3 is one of the busiest fire stations in the San Joaquin Valley. It protects downtown Fresno, including most of the high-rise district, the Fulton Mall, and much of southwest Fresno. The station houses an engine, a ladder truck, an ICS/FIRESCOPE type 3 brush engine, a mobile ventilation unit, a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) vehicle and it is one of two stations in the Fresno Fire Department that still has a functional bass pole.
Station No. 3 is also home to the Fresno Fire Department Drill Tower (red building) and although it is no longer functional hundreds of firefighters throughout the years used it for their training exercises.
1406-1434 Fresno St, Fresno, CA 93706
A CITY PLAGGUED BY FIRE
Since its founding in 1872, fire has become one of Fresno's primary concerns. A lack of coordinated firefighting efforts coupled with predominantly wood buildings resulted in a multitude of fires from 1872-1877 that nearly destroyed the city.
In the 1984 local history book, “Fresno County: The Pioneer Years,” authors Charles W. Clough and William Secrest Jr. described the devastating fires of 1876 which resulted in the establishment of a volunteer fire service. In January a fire destroyed a saloon, a drugstore and an office building. That same year another fire broke out in February claiming a carpentry shop. Finally, in July, a fire took out the Blue Wing Dance Hall and two other businesses.
The Fresno Hook and Ladder Company, an all-volunteer group, was formed on Feb. 24, 1877, and Leopold Gundlefinger was named as the first foreman, or chief. According to “Second Alarm,” a centennial history book about the department, volunteers raised $500 in silver from local businesses “to buy ladders, ropes, axes, buckets and a wagon.” This organization eventually evolved into today's Fresno Fire Department.
Although Fresno was incorporated as a city in 1885, the fire department remained a volunteer effort until 1902 when city leaders took over the responsibility and a paid department was created. Twelve regular firemen were paid between $40 and $50 a month, while another 20 “call men” were paid about $15 a month to respond to fires on an on-call basis.
“In those early years, Fresno was a city full of wood buildings” in which fire was a constant threat to property and life, said Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis, a 21-year veteran of the department. “We’ve come a long way from men with buckets, horse-drawn steamers and wooden ladders to 40,000-and-80,000-pound engines and trucks.”