About Us

Our building is a historical fire station built in 1927 by famous architect Francis Abreau. The Fire station was decommissioned in 2003 and converted into a Fire Museum in 2008. Our mission is to preserve our historical building, display artifacts ,uphold the legacy of the Fort Fire Department, educate the public about fire safety and teaching the youth about careers in the fire service. 

Our Story

 

  Abreau proposed a one-story building with proportions and appearance to harmonize in its Sailboat Bend residential neighborhood.  His vision was a stretched out Cuban farmhouse style with Mediterranean Revival details.  The details include a Spanish tile roof, a small Rotunda, eyebrow window coverings, turned stone columns, mission-style window grilles, Cuban floor tile, crown molding, a fireplace and a then-modern kitchen with walls covered in white glass to meet the standards set by new health departments nationwide.  He even included an inlaid-tile fountain with a watering trough for the horses and mules that were pulling wagon loads of vegetables to sailing ships docked nearby on the New River.

While new Station 2 was under construction, firefighters began talking about re-purposing historic Station 3 into a fire museum and safety learning center.  That was the positive part.  The negative part was that the City knew it would be closing the Station, and stopped virtually all maintenance during those years.

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    In 1998, Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue began making plans to replace outgrown Fire Stations 2 and 8, and its Headquarters, with one large, modern facility with ample resources to serve a city of our size.  Dedicated in 2004, new Station 2 and Headquarters is a model facility that serves our city and our firefighters very well.

 

   One of the stations decommissioned was Station 8, originally Fort Lauderdale Fire Department’s “West Side Fire Station” 3.  In 1927, City commissioners hired Francis Abreau, the famed architect who was creating mansions in Fort Lauderdale, to create a station of exceptional design and beauty.  They had good reason for this; much of the city was demolished by a hurricane in 1926, and they knew that a new and special municipal building would overcome naysayer’s gossip that “Fort Lauderdale will never come back”.

  Active and retired firefighters and civilians picked up the vision and started working to make a fire museum happen.  The City wanted a Proposal, a Business Plan, and financial projections.  The volunteers created and submitted the documents, and on December 20, 2005 a 50-year lease was signed with the City, creating the Fort Lauderdale Fire & Safety Museum.  Then the real work started, as the lack of maintenance meant that the roof, electrical, HVAC, plumbing and all other systems had to be completely rebuilt or replaced. 

  New, donated impact windows replaced all the old ones that were in poor condition, as was a complete fire sprinkler system. Over 100 gallons of paint were donated and applied.  At the same time, it was necessary to remove the 1960’s era kitchen and bathroom and replace everything with period-correct 1920’s fixtures and appliances.  The station slowly returned to its original ambiance.  See this tremendous transformation on our BEFORE AND AFTER page, nearby.

Once the fire station looked as good as new, it was time to create a fire museum and a safety learning center.  The Museum tells the major stories of Fort Lauderdale’s firefighters from 1912 to the present.  The Safety Learning Center teaches children and adults fire safety, as well as other safety and medical preparedness courses.

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Many people worked hard and made significant contributions to restore Station 3 and to create our Fire Museum.  Among them were FF John Heiser who acted as President, retired City Commissioner and local attorney John Aurelius, helping as City Liaison and with funding and grants, retired Fire Battalion Chief Bill Sharp with his outstanding craftsmanship and trade skills, and former Fire Chief Jim Van Drunen, who as Secretary kept the good news flowing.  Jim also took a short course on Museum Curating, and designed and created all of the exhibits.

The Fire Museum was on hiatus due to Covid-19 and other issues, and will reopen soon.  With new Board members, new volunteers, new exhibits, new artifacts and new ideas, we hope that you will visit then, and enjoy our efforts to Preserve Our Heritage and Teach Our Youth!

 

ON EXHIBIT

  • Fort Lauderdale Fire Department’s historically and architecturally significant “West Side Fire Station” No. 3, restored to 1927 ambiance.

  • 1927 Watch Desk with working Gamewell Fire Alarm system.

  • 1927 Fire Station Kitchen, Day Room and Officer’s Bedroom.

  • 1922 American La France pumper replicating Fort Lauderdale Engine 1.

  • 1942 Chevrolet/Pirsch pumper, Fort Lauderdale Engine 3.

  • c. 1860 American Fire Engine Co. hand-drawn hose cart replicating Fort Lauderdale Hose Cart 1.

  • Exhibit rooms sharing the history of the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department since 1912.

  • A “Well Dressed Fireman From the 1950’s” exhibit.

  • Exhibits on major fires in Fort Lauderdale.

  • FDNY 9-11 Memorial exhibit.

  • Fort Lauderdale Fire Department’s Centennial Celebration exhibit.

  • Rotunda tribute to Fort Lauderdale firefighters lost in the line of duty.

  • Outdoor Memorial to all late Fort Lauderdale firefighters.

  • Fire safety video presentations in the Fire Safety Theater area.

  • Children’s-sized firefighter’s helmets, coats and brass sliding pole.

  • Hands-on exhibits of fire equipment for children to touch and use.

  • Facility rentals for special events.

 

NEWSLETTERS

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*Our Newsletter is named after one of Fort Lauderdale Fire Department’s first dispatchers. 

Upon receiving a call reporting a fire, Esther, Fort Lauderdale’s telephone operator in 1913, would sound the new fire siren atop the Telephone Company building. Hearing the siren, firefighters would call Esther with the word “Where?” Esther would give them the address of the fire, and the firefighters would rush to the scene to do their very best, just as today. We remember Esther and those pioneering firefighters with this publication, and with our historical preservation efforts.

Click on image below to download

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Sept 2020

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Nov 2020
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Jan 2021
April 2021
Aug 2021
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Jan 2022

OUR SPONSORS

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