Station #45 opened in 1959 to serve the citizens of West Dallas and North Oak Cliff. The three bay station houses has a livable area of 8,110 square feet. The station's "hidden" in a commercial area; other than the frequent sounds of the speaker opening and sirens sounding, most passersby are not aware of its existence.
Prior to 1972, and the addition of MICU 745, firefighters at the station were accustomed to performing most of their duties at the station. The days were long and quiet and the nights extremely peaceful and serene. Flo Pettigrew, the member with the most time at the station, remembers numerous days when the speaker only opened for tests or messages. With the implementation of Emergency Medical Service, engine runs at Station #45 tripled.
While Engine 45 has not been "first due" on any notable fires, they certainly have responded to several multiple alarms and both Signal 1-7s in the history of the Dallas Fire Department. On December 19, 1964, Engine 45 answered a two alarm fire at 1624 Main Street. This fire rapidly spread to a fifth alarm with a general alarm call. That fire caused $10,358,000 worth of damage and spread through all seven floors of the general retail building occupied by Neiman-Marcus. Twenty years later, Engine 45 answered another multiple alarm fire that also spread to a general alarm. This time they were dispatched to 1407 Main Street on February 18, 1985, at 9:38 a.m. This fire caused $1,278,000 worth of damage to the vacant Metropolitan Savings Building and occupied surrounding buildings.
The nineteen story Metropolitan Savings Building, built in 1922, was in the early stages of demolition. Much of the combustible contents of the building had already been removed. The standpipe and sprinkler system had been rendered inoperative by the demolition crew. The building had a basement with connecting passage ways to adjoining buildings and an underground mall. There was also a sub basement, under which two large fuel oil storage tanks were buried. Even though the building had been converted to natural gas many years ago, the remaining fuel oil had never been removed from the tanks. The building became the site of the largest scale high rise firefighting operation in Dallas history. The duration of the fire and its potential for spreading to adjoining buildings resulted in its rapid escalation to five alarms and finally the first signal 1-7 since 1964.
An initial attack on the fire was made by handlines advanced from outside the building to the basement. Shortly after the initial attack, information was received regarding compressed gases and explosive materials in the building, such as acetylene, freon, fuel oil, and oxygen. These hazards, in combination with the general condition of the building itself, led to a decision to withdraw from the building for the safety of the firefighters. Before firefighters withdrew, they tied off some of the handlines in position and set up a multiversal to continue putting water in the sub basement. At this point, AFFF was introduced into lines in an effort to blanket oil floating on top of the water. As the intensity of the fire increased, fireground command was faced with an extremely difficult situation. The fire, well supplied with fuel from the underground storage tanks, was in a location not easily accessible to firefighters. The building was under demolition, yet as a high rise in the middle of downtown Dallas, it presented tremendous exposure problems to adjoining buildings both above and below ground. Over 1,500 gallons of AFFF concentrate were used by three engines supplying the lines used in operation. Nearly ten hours passed before the fire was brought under control and tapped out at 7:18 p.m.
Four firefighters were admitted to Baylor Hospital for observation, and several firefighters were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.