07/15/09 151 W, 1 I - + 7 - 9 Historic and Former Firehouses of Richmond

Also in preparation for next week's trip to Baltimore, Mr. Blogger has been researching historic and former firehouses in Richmond.They total 15, with six still active. The earliest were opened in 1862 (Engine 5) and 1884 (Truck 2); the latest started service 1968 (Engine 3/Truck 3) and 1970 (Engine 23). The last one's also a former vollie house, the old Chesterfield Station on Blakemore Road, built in 1953 and opened as a city station in 1970. See the below map.

Stops are planned both going there and coming back, to photograph the buildings. We've already built a web page, with photos from Google Street View and historical information from a retired Captain. The present schedule has Yours Truly passing through town next Tuesday and the following Monday. Wave at the guy wearing a tropical shirt. Read about historic and former firehouses of Richmond. Or learn about the Richmond Fire Department. See you in Baltimore!

Would Richmond be considered a city comparible to Raleigh? And if so, how do the two fire departments compare with each other, e.g. number of stations, volume of calls, salaries?
John McAdams - 07/15/09 - 10:10

Richmond is 62 square miles with a population of 200,000 – depending on who you talk to this number may drop to around 190,000 – the department currently operates 20 stations with 12 stations north of the river and 8 south of the river – Richmond went to quints in the late 90s and currently the department operates 20 Quints, 3 Rescues, 1 A&L, 1 Safety Officer, and 3 Battalion Chiefs – all companies operate with a minimum of 4 with the rescues operating with 5 when manpower allows – the Rescues are assigned one of the special operations missions ie. Water Rescue, HAZMAT, & Technical Rescue

The current structure fire response is 4 Quints, 1 Rescue, 1 Safety Officer, & 1 Battalion Chief – the 2nd arriving Quint Company is designated the truck company on the assignment.

Over the years as the population of the city dropped from a high in population of 240,000 down to the present 200,000 there have been substantial cuts in the department – as late as the 80’s and early 90s the department operated 20 Engines, 9 Ladders, 2 Squads, & 4 Chiefs

The Quints have not aged well and it’s hard to find anyone who wants to retain the standard quint system – Companies such as Quint#5 are putting over 4000 runs on their truck – when the quints where put in service 11 companies where assigned FRVs – essentially Freightliners with Pierce bodies for use on running medical calls etc. – quickly it was realized every quint needed a second piece and tractional pumpers where retained and where assigned to the Quints that didn’t receive FRVs – there are many parts of the city that Quints just won’t fit – we have streets that where laid out in the 1700s and especially in the southwest part of the city lot’s of roads along the river that are impassable by quints – another significant challenge with the current system is that companies get caught out on the FRVs when they are dispatched on a structure fire assignment – it’s not uncommon with quints OOS for maintenance and companies on the air in their FRVs/Pumpers for assignments to receive 1 Quint apparatus on dispatch

There is lots of talk about going to a hybrid Engine/Quint/Rescue system – the current economic conditions have pushed back a major apparatus purchase and with a cut in the OT budget we are generally seeing 1-2 companies OOS every day

Mike – if I can help you out while your here or you want to grab lunch etc. drop me an e-mail – I would be more than willing to wheel you around while your here
Noah Rogers (Email) - 07/15/09 - 11:33

I’ve been in Richmond for a couple of weeks on business and really appreciate this post and the info from Noah. Something that I’ve noticed is that there seems to be a lot of high rises here for a city of this size. I wonder if Richmond has had any recent experience with fires in high rises, and what their SOP is for those situations.
Eric L - 07/16/09 - 00:01

No recent high rise fires – a couple of very small incidents – I remember an incident at the James Center a few years ago which was handled by the prinkler & 1st Alarm assignment

In recognition of the hazard level downtown the deprtment has moved some apparatus around – the companies that are on the 1st alarm assignment to downtown are now running with conventional Seagrave pumpers instead of FRVs – there was a recognition that a 1st Alarm assignement downtown that had 2-3 FRVs on the 1st Alarm would present some real poblems ie. standpipe etc. – the Seagrave where all purchased in the early to mid 90s and where retained after the department concluded all companies needed a 2nd piece – luckily the decision was reached before they where sold off like everything else

One of the major issues for the department is the lack of a reserve rescue – if a rescue if OOS for maintenance the rescue will utilize the FRV or Engine assigned as the 2nd piece for the Quint Company stationd with the rescue – example if Rescue#1’s apparatus is OOS the company will utilze the Seagrave engine that serves as the 2nd piece fOR Quint#1 – it can get complicated when Quint#1’s engine is OOS and they are only able to utilize the Quint – the Rescue then has to find another truck
Noah Rogers (Email) - 07/16/09 - 12:47

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