First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunrise 6:06 am: Old firehouse stands proud


The Dawn Joggers have been passing by the Old Firehouse on the Stanford campus for 15 years. Its one of the few wooden structures on campus and now houses the LGBT Center. What they didn't know is that for much of its history, Stanford had student firefighters who lived in the firehouse dormitory. According to an informative article in Stanford Magazine, about 1,000 students served as firefighters over the years until 1976 when the Stanford fire department merged with the Palo Alto fire department. During the 30s, they served under a pro named Robert Dugan who had fought the fire that followed the Great Quake of 1906. One alum who worked for him recalls practice would take place on Sunday afternoon when Dugan "would turn the young men loose on a five-story wooden tower (used to dry out hoses) behind the firehouse for an exhausting session of ladder climbing, hose pulling and rescue work." Another alum, Bill Bamattre, got a job as a student firefighter to help pay tuition and living expenses in 1971 and it changed his career path; he now heads the huge Los Angeles Fire Department.

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