"We worked with the architect and the district," said Capt. Steve Cochran. "There was a committee and we told them, 'These are the things we'd like to see.'"
Cochran was on duty last Friday morning along with Engineer Dave Bonnie and firefighter paramedic Daryl Case.
One thing firefighters requested was a huge mounted map of the Station 36 territory.
"The whole district works on the maps," said Bonnie.
The map covers a wall adjacent to the open office area and shows that the station is responsible for not just a suburban area but vast wildland acreage, including part of the Morgan Territory.
"We cover the greatest amount of ground of any station," added Cochran.
Station 36 was rebuilt to be closer to the new neighborhoods on the outskirts of Danville, across the street from Blackhawk, to improve response times to the recently populated area.
The 7,000-square-foot structure is Spanish revival, a California Heritage style building that was designed to fit into the new neighborhood. It has stucco walls, a tile roof and an arch over the main entry door plus wrought iron details so it matches many of the homes in the nearby Alamo Creek development.
The rooms are spacious for the three shift members, who work 48 hours, then are off four days. Cochran, Bonnie and Case said the previous station in its entirety could fit inside the day room in the new station.
"It was a double wide trailer," said Cochran.
They also reminisced about the days of overhead speakers, which loudly broadcast each and every 911 call for the entire San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. They would be awakened in the middle of the night to hear a woman screaming that her child was dying even though the call was answered by another station. Now their alarms go off only for their calls, instantly conveying the type of emergency and the location.
The sleeping area has eight individual bedrooms, whereas before the station had one large room with partitions that allowed visual privacy but did not stop sounds.
"It's nice to have separate rooms and privacy," said Cochran, who has been with the department for 23 years. "Plus now we have females working in the fire station."
The station has one fire engine and one wildland vehicle, plus a spare engine. Firefighting gear is hung on open hooks in the apparatus room rather than enclosed in lockers, which allows it to air out. A washing machine in the room is used to clean the firefighting outfits to remove the chemicals and soot, rather than mixing them with other laundry.
The former Station 36 is being used for storage and as a future training site. It was built in 1979 to be used as a volunteer fire station and served the area known as the Tassajara Fire District. This district, formed in 1970, covered a 42-square-mile area for fire and emergency services. The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District merged with the Tassajara Fire District in 1990.
The new station was designed by ATI Architects and Engineers of Danville, and constructed by W.A. Thomas Construction of Martinez. The project cost just under $3.6 million.