Eau Claire Fire Department’s Station 10 Black and White Photo Essay

January 13, 2013 Travis Dewitz

I remember as a child in the 80’s driving past Eau Claire Fire Station 10 off of Birch Street (located at 559 North Hastings Way) and seeing those fluorescent green fire engines sitting out front. I always wanted matching Hot Wheels  fire trucks but I could only find red ones in my search through the toy aisles of Shopko and K-mart. Eau Claire’s Fire Departments trucks are now red again but I am sure many of you remember those bright yellowish green ones. Station 10 has an undetermined future as there are plans to either remodel it or tear it down. Knowing that this station may not have much time left as it is today, I asked for permission to do a photographic study of the station. As you can see, I was allowed in and was given the grand tour of the building. Many do not know that station 10 has been rumored to haunted by a ghost that has been named Alex. Alex Blum was a firefighter who worked at Fire Station No. 10.  He died  in 1981 of  heart disease at the age of 77. From what I hear, he is a friendly ghost that is embraced by the firefighter that work station 10. I heard that weird things happen once in awhile like doors opening or closing, weird noises, and items being moved or thrown. Some have also said that they have seen Alex’s ghostly figure. I didn’t see anything in my short time in the station but I did learn a lot about the history of the building. I hope you enjoy the tour of the fire station as we start by me leading you through the front door.

Once through the front doors we can look down the main hallway and see the many signed framed photos hanging on the wall.

The command center can be seen here through the window along with the doorway into the lieutenants room. The command center is where all the communications are handled.

Alex can be seen seated in Medic 10 in the 2001 company photo above.

The lieutenants room is fairly simple containing a bed, night stand, and desk.

The lieutenants use the main level locker room as the other firefighters use the locker room upstairs. One of the locker doors contains a cartoon poking fun at our notorious party area down on Water Street located near the University campus.

The U-Haul signs can be seen shining into the 1st floor restroom window. That U-Haul location has been around as long as I can remember.

One rescue personnel watched TV in the meeting room while using his phone.

We will now head upstairs to the employee’s quarters which contain their bunk room, rec room, kitchen, locker room, and restroom/shower.

The kitchen upstairs adjoins the rec or TV room. Some of the crew can be seen here watching  TV. The crew works 24 hours on the clock and station 10 becomes a second home in between calls to many of them.

The locker room is right off the TV room. The other door straight ahead leads to the bunk room.

The restroom and shower are right off the locker room.

The sleeping quarters are divided into multiple small sleeping areas which provide only minimal privacy.

From upstairs, you can look into the hose drying tower. There will be a few more images of this tower from below looking up below. The hose drying tower use to be used to hang the firefighting hoses after use to dry out since they were made of a cloth material. The newest hoses available do not need to be dried like this anymore.

Right outside the TV room is a small spring loaded doorway that leads to the fire pole. Station 10 has two poles with the other one outside the bunk room. The fire poles lead down to the main bay where Engine 10 and Medic 10 are parked. Looking down you can see a pair of fireman’s boots at the ready. We will now head down into the engine bay.

Intercom system that is in the main engine bay.

Here you can see the melted Spartan badge on Engine 10. This badge was melted from the large house fire on Putnam Street (which can be seen here). The truck was parked pretty far from the fire but the extreme heat was still able deform the badge on the door.

A footprint can be seen in the original engine bay concrete from when it was poured. It can only been seen in the right light.

Looking up into the hose drying tower at the hose racks.

From here will will now go down into the lower level. The lower level contain another vehicle bay along with work shop, storage room, and boiler room.

The storage room contain a lot of old equipment and supplies.

The reflection in the mirror isn’t Alex. Just in case you were wondering.

The boiler room contains a very old working Kewanee Type C boiler. It is very uncommon for a boiler to last this long but Station 10’s great maintenance schedule has kept this beast alive and well.

Again this is not Alex either 🙂 I hope you enjoyed the tour through Eau Claire’s Fire Station 10. I love when you like and share my posts and photos.

 

74 images are included in the 12X12 Hardcover Book.

 

As seen in the Eau Claire Leader Telegram 1/24/13.

The Leader Telegram article can be read here.

The Hmong Heritage project mentioned in the article can be found here.

 

 

 

Travis Dewitz

I. Love. Photography. I love it. It lightens my heart, fills my soul, and allows me to capture life the way that I see it. I constantly yearn to show life in a way that hasn’t been seen before, to bring images to people in a fresh and innovative way. My favorite focus in photography, my specialty I guess you would say, is Railroad Photography & Art. Something about the rumbling of these great, big, beautiful machines. The way they shake the earth beneath you as they rumble by, how they invade your chest and you can feel the rumble inside you. The plumes of heat on a hot day represented in a heat wave. Snaking through a western valley, void of trees or any other distracting element. Just the train, by itself, in it’s own inexplicable beauty and power. From the time I was a child, they have captured my imagination. I’ve recently gotten into portraiture a bit, and I want to bring some of my experiences with trains to that arena. To capture the power of a person, the sadness, loneliness, omniscience, pride, love, & carefree spirit in a way that hasn’t been done before. I want people to look at themselves in a photograph I have taken, and see a side of themselves that they think no one else has ever seen. Dewitz Photography is all about capturing a moment in a way that has never been seen before, capturing a beauty that some never knew was even there.

Comments (18)

  1. Frank Leffelman

    Nice work, man! I’ve been stationed here for the last few weeks filling a spot vacated after promotions. Love working with this crew! And this station is one of my favorites in the city! Thanks for doing a great job immortalizing our profession…

  2. Jessica Achterberg

    Love your work Travis! You always capture images that most people probably don’t even notice.

  3. R. Smith

    Great job Travis! I grew up east of EC so anytime we went to ‘town’ we would pass the station. It warms my heart to know that you have a true passion for the history of this station and were willing to put in the time to capture it. It did bother me a bit to see how outdated alot of things are in the station (knowing that those who protect us deserve much better) compared to the luxuries that prison inmates have. But then I read the comment that Frank left about it being his favorite station to work at. So, it shows that true history is much better than fancy digs. Once again, Thank you. And thank you to all the men and women that keep us safe.

  4. Wow your article and pictures brought back many childhood memories my grandpa Michael McQuillan was employed there for many years and I spent many hours in that fire station. I also remember the fire trucks when they were bright green and red. Thank you so much for the trip down memory lane

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