A South L.A. fire station is hosting its grand opening and formal dedication this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The 15,150 square-foot Fire Station 21 is located on 51st Street just off of Central Avenue.
The station will offer tours of the facility, demonstrate rescue and fire gear and have a ceremonial helicopter flyover. Also making an appearance is Wilshire the fire dog -- a Dalmation who grew up in a fire station and has since become an icon and tool for the department to teach fire safety to kids.
Construction was completed on the new South LA station in 2007 and it was up-and-running by 2008, but it has taken about four years until the location was ready for a grand opening, said Tina Haro, a public information officer at the Los Angeles Fire Department. Budget cuts and an early retirement incentive led to a drastic reduction in civilian staff, Haro explained, leaving the station without the people and expertise they needed to host an opening event.
Station 21 was one of the stations to receive funds from Proposition F, which enabled fire structures that were in disrepair to be torn down and new ones built, said Haro. The original Station 21 was located just south of the new building and served the area for decades. The new location includes a multipurpose community room and a more than 5,000 square-foot storage building.