Gathering an Oral History of Fire Station #3

Jul 1, 2014

Decades before Spokane Public Radio chose the brick building at Monroe and Sharp to house the studios of KPBX, KSFC and KPBZ, the firefighters responsible for the Downtown core and area northwest of the Spokane River worked and lived there for days at a time.

SPR’s renovation plans preserve many of the historic aspects of the brick building, which was built in two stages in 1912 and 1917. Now, SPR is preserving the oral histories of some of the men who spent a good part of their careers there.

Past and present members of Spokane Fire Station No. 3 gathered with SPR General Manager Cary Boyce to tour the former fire station which will become the future home of Spokane Public Radio. Pictured are Tom Heckler, Dick Schuerman, Howard Vietzke, Boyce, Dan Brown, Ken Strong, Ron Peyton, Greg Borg, and Thad Frater.

Seven members of Fire Station No. 3, six past and one present, spent time in June with General Manager Cary Boyce and other SPR staff members, explaining how the building was used during their years there. For example, the center bay was the largest to allow the long ladder truck to park there. The driver for the rear end of the ladder could slide down the brass pole near the back of that bay. And yes, one practical joker admitted guys would occasionally slide down a pole with wax paper to give the next firefighter a very fast ride down.
The men are still very proud of their association with Station No. 3, saying that it was (and still is) the busiest unit in Spokane. The city chose to move the fire station to a new facility in 1991, but SPR will incorporate the old fire station’s photographic and oral history into the renovated radio station, scheduled to be finished by July 2015.