A fire station can be a wonderous structure, filled with history and life. However, just like every other building ever constructed, it is still just a building, simply made of inanimate materials such as wood, brick, steel, and sweat. It is not until it is occupied by people that it becomes alive and is made into a home. Fire Station 59 in West Los Angeles and Fire Station 18 located in Granada Hills are two such structures, just a pile of bricks occupying space on Olympic Boulevard and Balboa Boulevard respectfully. Over the past few years though, things have changed. At Fire Station 59, William Riley was promoted to Captain and was assigned to the West-side station. Wanting to make the most of his new command, he decided to start a station project to build camaraderie and uncover any hidden tradesmen he worked with. With the help of his crew and resident artist, Rosie Tos, the early design Captain Riley envisioned became real. What was once an office soon became a work of love. Plain walls took on color and design, making the one-time workplace into a living space to be proud of. Fire Station 18 had their own muse—Captain Joe Szabados. With water restrictions in place throughout the City, Captain Szabados took the drought seriously and kicked his imagination into high gear. Playing on the fact that the fire station is located next to a golf course, Szabados incorporated the idea into his design. The results—water-saving perfection. Obtaining some local funds from the community, and even taking a little money from his own pocket, Szabados and his crew at 18s turned the front of the station into a golfer’s dream. Newly retired, Captain Joe has left the station but his “pride in ownership” attitude will live on in his inspiring art work throughout the station, hopefully inspiring future work by other Department members to follow in his footsteps.
Fire Station 59 and Fire Station 18 are examples of what can happen when a person or group of people have an idea and execute it. Thanks to the Members of Fire Station 59, Fire Station 18, and of course, Rosie Tos for their hard work and vision to make a simple structure into much more than just a building to work in. They have now made Fire Station 59 and 18 a HOME.