The sun had yet not risen when the sirens began to sound. It was the morning of Wednesday, April 18, 1906 and the city of San Francisco was shaken awake by an earthquake measuring 8.25 on the Richter scale. More than 30 fires were reported throughout the city as a result of gas leaks caused by the earthquake. San Francisco began to burn, and would continue to do so for four days and four nights.
The water network had also been seriously damaged by the quake, preventing firefighters from controlling the fire by the usual means. Yet this did not prevent them in their attempt to save the city, and they resorted to using all the tools at their disposal. They dynamited entire blocks in hopes of creating a firewall, fought the flames with hoses where the supply hadn’t been cut and installed water pumps to use water from the bay to control fires closer to the coast.
The American people will not forget the courage of all those men who faced what even today, after 100 years is remembered as the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.
ARCHmedium proposes the creation of this fire station for the city of San Francisco that serves not only to centralize and improve the service but also as a gift and token of appreciation from the city to this department.
The new center should not only be a practical space designed to respond to the needs of firefighters, but must become an icon of the city which rose from the ashes and a reminder of the tragedy, a building that not only the people of San Francisco but the entire world associates with the image of the fire department.