SANTA MONICA — The new SMFD Fire Station 1 opened this week, replacing the Santa Monica Fire Department’s oldest firehouse just down the street.

The now fully operational fire station, located at 1337 7th Street, began construction in 2018. The new 28,000 square foot station is the result of over a decade of work, including a land swap with NMS properties where the fire station is now built.

Fire Station 1 serves the center of Santa Monica’s downtown area, receiving nearly 9,000 calls per day. The two-story station is seismically sound and will house SMFD’s largest equipment.

The station has been built with the ability to remain operational even after a major disaster. Fire Station 1 also has achieved LEED V4, the highest level of sustainability. The station will also include an art project, Back Story, by Deborah Aschheim. Back Story consists of a series of painted and fired glass panes depicting, “historic and contemporary images of Santa Monica firefighting life.”

The construction of Fire Station 1 broke ground with a community celebration that included arts and crafts with firefighters, a photo booth, and a VR tour of the fire station.

Due to COVID-19 social distancing, a community event reminiscent of the ground-breaking ceremony cannot be accomplished. In lieu, Fire Station 1 has announced a socially distanced art drop off, to keep the community involved.

“While an official community celebration for the opening of Santa Monica’s newest fire station will have to come at a later date, we look forward to inviting youth to help us celebrate the station with the drive by art event,” said Fire Chief Bill Walker

The SMFD posted on Facebook asking the Santa Monica youth to drop off any art welcoming the SMFD to their new station on July 24 and 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Families can drive up to the 7th Street location to drop off the artwork and youth will receive a giveaway bag and commemorative fire hat,” SMFD wrote on Facebook. Art will be temporarily displayed in the front windows of the station. The art drop off and all SMFD employees will be following social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.

“The art will welcome firefighters serving Santa Monica in this critical moment for community health,” Walker stated.