Fire Boat Station 35 is Approaching the Home Stretch

As construction of the San Francisco Fire Department emergency response facility approaches the final stretch of construction, the team has been doggedly working to achieve a major milestone: the barge floating over to its permanent location at Pier 22 ½ along The Embarcadero. Power Engineering Construction, Swinerton’s joint venture partner for this project, specializes in marine work and timed the barge’s move so that it takes place in the middle of the night when the tides are low and calm, a significant factor when coordinating a marine operation such as this.

Other work on the Fire Boat Station continues apace while docked at Treasure Island. Swinerton crews have made significant progress inside the building with drywall almost complete and taping making great headway, too. All this happening on a floating barge that, as the building is constructed, requires leveling of the barge due to the increased asymmetric weight of the installed material. Swinerton millwork is set to begin installation of the casework and specialty items like heavy duty medical lockers, scuba gear storage racks, and stainless-steel benches and the DFH team will be installing doors, frames and hardware. Power Engineering has also completed demolition of the North and South aprons which were adjacent to the existing and historic fire station at the Embarcadero and has driven piles for the apron upgrades and pier which will bridge the sidewalk to the ramp leading to the floating structure.

In addition, plumbers and electricians worked within the float installing conduit and pipe in each of the bulkheads while a third-party rescue team monitored their work within the confined spaces providing peace of mind. This was all in preparation to receive the sewage ejector, fuel oil tank and oil interceptor systems which required a lot of coordination to hoist into the hatches and set within the float compartments to connect to the utilities to the points of connection on the landside at The Embarcadero. The exterior skin is almost complete with the curtainwall and glazing and the second layer of exterior panels and steel plates being installed and painted with a coating to withstand the exposure to the marine environment. The terra cotta panels which are coming from Germany, are the final touch to the exterior skin. The facility will feature five fireboat docking stations with shore power hook ups, two jet ski lifts, two davit cranes, SCBA tank refueling, ambulance pathway and other key design points for maintaining operations during both typical emergencies and ones unique to San Francisco, such as an earthquake.

The Fire Boat Station, due to its location along The Embarcadero and its need to be on the Bay to support fire boat operations, is vulnerable to rising seas. The program of the Fire Boat Station is unique in San Francisco and the Bay Area and therefore its uninterrupted operations are critical to emergency operations on the Bay and along San Francisco’s waterfront properties and infrastructure. As a result, designing for sea level rise is a critical design component for this project and is the driving reason behind the concept of a floating structure for this emergency operations facility.