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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Officials to clear homeless encampment near campus in May
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • March 4, 2024

Full renovation planned for G Street firehouse

Full renovations on Fire Company 23 could start in 2018. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor
Full renovations on Fire Company 23 could start in 2018. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

The city has plans to bring a century-year-old fire company on G Street back to life.

D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Tim Wilson said in an email this week that the current work being done on Fire Company No. 23 includes the replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in the building. But plans for a full renovation could start as early as 2018, he added.

“Because they work a 24-hour shift, firefighters spend a significant amount of time at the station when not responding to an incident,” Wilson said.

According to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Capital Improvements Plan for the 2016 fiscal year, the fire company at 2119 G Street NW will undergo “major renovations and updates” to bring the building up to code. The plan allots $7.5 million for the estimated costs of the fire company renovation for the next six years.

The changes outlined in the budget include redesigning the interior of the building and installing a new electrical and lighting system to comply with environmental regulations, in addition to external changes like widening the building’s bay doors.

“The most important improvements will be the new Life Safety features by the installation of a fire sprinkler and a fire alarm system,” read the documents.

The fire company has not had any major structural renovations since it was built in 1910 and has not undergone any renovations at all for the past 28 years, according to the budget plan and description. The documents also indicate the building does not comply with regulations from the Americans with Disabilities Act or other requirements for handling firefighter equipment.

“This station has long passed its useful life expectancy,” according to budget documents.

D.C. listed the 105-year-old firehouse as a historical site in 2005, and it was placed on the national register two years later. With the support of D.C. FEMS, the Capitol Fire Museum funded a survey of firehouses in D.C. that resulted in 15 firehouses designated as historic places in the District, said Edward Giefer, the Freedom of Information Act officer for the D.C. Office of Planning, including the one on G Street.

Giefer said D.C. FEMS is working with D.C.’s Historic Preservation Office to ensure the renovations are done in a “thoughtful and well-designed manner.”

With permission from D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board, the fire station will also be broadening its bay doors to accommodate a larger apparatus to meet the 2010 Clean Emissions Standard by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“While altering the facade of a landmark is generally discouraged, the preservation law allows for a balance between sometimes competing goals – in the instances of firehouses, the goals of ensuring public safety and adaptation of these buildings for ongoing use with the goal of preserving its architectural character,” Giefer said in an email.

Fire Company 23 is one of the 15 landmarks and D.C. historical sites located on GW’s campus, according to the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites.

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