Station #18 was built in 1975 at a cost of $610,000 to serve the downtown Dallas area. Architecturally, the building is perhaps the most uniquely designed fire station in the Department. With 12,330 square feet, #18 housed more emergency equipment than any other station in the city. This station is the home a large air compressor used to fill bottles for the SCBA's. Two mobile air units-821, a portable air compressor, and 820, a vehicle used for routine delivery of air bottles to the stations. Because 821 is housed and operated from the station, a multiple alarm anywhere in the city mandates one firefighter from #18s will be there to refill air bottles "on the scene." When personnel at the station are not answering emergency calls, they fill compressed air bottles, oxygen tanks, and scuba tanks, as well as maintain department tarps.
Interior design of the station includes four separate sleeping areas, three study areas, a kitchen, dining area, day room, watchroom, and several workshop areas off the main apparatus room. Station #18 is the only firehouse in Dallas to have "staggered" apparatus doors, an experimental design feature to allow better visibility while pulling out of the station during an emergency response.
Serving the downtown area, station personnel are provided opportunities to witness memorable and, often, dramatic incidents.
One of the most dramatic fire occurred when firefighters from the original Station #18, located at McKinney & Laws streets, responded to a February 16, 1964 fire at the Golden Pheasant Restaurant. Four firefighters-J. K. Bigham, J. K. Henderson, R. E. Manley, and J. R. Gresham-were killed in that blaze. The four fatalities mark this incident as the most firefighters killed at a fire and from a single fire station in Dallas. (The first #18 was demolished for construction of Woodall Rodgers Freeway).
Another extraordinary call was January 19, 1984, when personnel were called to the First City Center at the corners of Pacific, St. Paul and Ervay Streets. Upon arrival, firefighters found a 500-pound, 15 foot long icicle suspended 42 stories high. There was concern that, with the warming temperatures, the icicle would melt and fall, crashing into a glass roofed first floor extension of the building and harm pedestrians on the street. Firefighters working from the roof, used blow torches suspended by ropes and pike poles to melt the ice safely from the bottom.
There are several fires personnel from #18 responded to that they remember as dramatic, including: a five alarm blaze September 11, 1981, at 3005 Elm Street at Altmans of Dallas, a leather goods manufacturer. Of incendiary origin, this extremely hot and smoky fire resulted in five firefighter injuries. One firefighter was burned so severely that he was unable to return to firefighting duties.
Another five alarm at 2120 McKinney Ave, November 29, 1981, was of suspicious origin. This blaze destroyed a historical landmark, the former Trinity Methodist Church.
There have been several "exciting" medical rescues where personnel from #18 have assisted various MICUs. One in particular occurred during the construction of Woodall Rodgers Freeway in 1981. Personnel from #18 and Rescue 4 were dispatched to Woodall Rodgers and Field to assist 703 on location. The scenario: A steel support wall had fallen on one of the construction workers, crushing his chest. The man was barely breathing and had sustained severe internal trauma. Fire Department personnel "dug" the man from under the wall and quote "lowered" him to the ground via a Stokes-stretcher and crane. The man was taken to the hospital where he remained in intensive care for almost a month, recovering from injuries.
When it comes to a #18 member with the most "colorful" personality, the unanimous choice is Retired Capt. Ronald Pinkerton, known as the "singing Captain." It is rumored that one cold night in early 1984, when asked by DFD Communications dispatcher for a weather observation, this Captain (riding as Battalion 1) began singing "The weather outside is frightful, but the snow is so delightful..."