Linda Mumma reporting


MODESTO (CBS13) — One of the busiest and oldest fire stations in Modesto is starting to show it’s age, forcing its firefighters to move out while it gets some much-needed repairs.

Modesto Fire Station #1 was built in 1939 and is falling apart. So, starting this week, firefighters will move to the administration building next door so deteriorating areas can be brought back to life.

Chief Alan Ernst says a roof leak in the fire station is the worst of the damage. Water leaking from the rooftop in the four corners for the two-story building caused parts of the ceiling to fall down, including above the dormitories where firefighters sleep.

“Up until this point we’ve been able to keep the firefighters here safely, but now with the amount of water coming in, the wet winter we’re having, there’s a concern of what are the after effects,” Ernst said.

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Buckets now sit in several areas gathering runoff from recent rains. And in some places, the floor has started to buckle.

Two rooms are now off limits because of the dangers it poses to firefighters.

“One of the issues we have is the building was poured concrete construction 80 years ago, so the concrete is very porous and some of the membranes that seal that has deteriorated to the point where we’re getting water seeping through the walls,” Ernst said.

Ernst said the damage started several years ago in the 80-year-old building.

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“The city and fire department have put a significant amount of effort into trying to patch and repair the roof over the years, and it’s just to the point we need a whole new roof structure,” he said.

Since then, he said the city has put out two $700,000 bids to either repair or replace the roof. But so far, not a single contractor has responded to the call for help.

“It’s a beloved firehouse in this city for our firefighters and our community, but really we’re at that point where it’s at that end point in life,” Ernst said.

For now, the 24 firefighters who operate out of this building will move into the administration building while the city searches for a more permanent solution.