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Oldest operating fire station in Fort Worth turns 96

Posted May 7, 2019

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front facade of building
Station 18 is one of the oldest buildings in Arlington Heights.

Fort Worth Fire Station 18 celebrates its 96th birthday this year.

Station 18 opened in 1923 at the corner of Camp Bowie Boulevard and Carleton Avenue. It was one of 10 bungalow-style fire stations built in Fort Worth.

Charles F. Allen, who was a former Fort Worth building inspector, was the architect for most of the stations that had been designed to blend into existing residential neighborhoods. Today, Station 18 is the oldest working fire station in the city and the last of the bungalow-style stations.

Originally designed with a two-bay garage, the building was out of date by the 1970s with the introduction of larger fire engines. City officials sought to tear down the fire station and build a new one. Voters approved $250,000 for a new building in a 1978 bond election, but the Arlington Heights Sector Council fought to save the landmark, one of the oldest public buildings in Arlington Heights.

Even though the station was saved from the wrecking ball, it underwent renovation in the mid-1980s. Every effort was made to preserve the historic exterior. Inside, however, drastic changes were made. The stairwell was moved, the brass fire pole and fireplace was eliminated, and a new enlarged steel-framed bay door was excavated at the front of the building to accommodate larger, modern fire trucks.

Legend has it that Station 18 is haunted. Over many years, a number of firefighters have had mysterious experiences at the station, such as hearing heavy footsteps and toilets flushing. A few have even seen human apparitions.

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