Steady progress is being made by the Daley administration toward building a new state-of-the-art fire station at 16th Street and Pulaski Road.
“The process of securing the land for the new Engine Co. 38 is proceeding smoothly and we hope to break ground for construction by this spring,” Public Building Commission executive director Eileen Carey said. More than two-thirds of the needed properties now are owned by the city.
It will be one of at least eight new fire stations to be constructed citywide to replace ones that are extremely old and outdated, according to Carey.
Some of Chicago’s oldest fire stations were built in the days when fire equipment was pulled by horses; one firehouse still in operation was opened in 1873-just two years after the Chicago Fire. The current Engine Co. 38 firehouse was built in 1915 and must struggle to house the large, modern emergency vehicles of our own era, Carey explained.
Funding for all the new fire stations is being provided through Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Neighborhoods Alive 21 program, which also is replacing outdated police stations and building new branch libraries throughout the city. Daley chairs the PBC.
The new firehouses, including the one for Engine Co. 38 on the south side of 16th Street east of Pulaski, each will feature a command center and the latest in emergency communications equipment; oversized garage doors to accommodate today’s larger fire engines; and a circular driveway to make it faster and safer for emergency vehicles to leave and re-enter the building.
All of the stations will be single-floor structures, eliminating the traditional fire pole for the improved safety of the firefighters. They also will have separate accommodations for male and female emergency personnel.