LAFD Fire Engine Company No. 30 | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

LAFD Fire Engine Company No. 30

Originally designed and completed in 1913 by City Superintendent of Building James Backus, Fire Station No. 30 became an all-African American fire company in 1923. Black firefighters were brought in from other firehouses in order to form one unified African American company, making it the first of two all-black stations in the city. 

Exhibiting Craftsman and Prairie Style architectural elements, the two-story structure sustained fire damage decades ago and was vacant for some time. In the past, many re-use proposals were made, including one to convert the station into a community design center.  The old fire station was given a new life and, since 1997, it has served as the location for the African American Firefighter Museum. 

In 1985, the site became Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #289 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. 

Fire Company No. 30 earned the respect of the neighborhood surrounding the station, and, for decades, they maintained a strong community through their membership in the Stentorians of Los Angeles City, a service organization.

The Stentorians were founded by African American firefighters in 1954, who sought to overcome institutional racism that prevented them from getting hired or, for those who were already working for the City or County fire departments, from moving up in the ranks. Since its founding, the Stentorians have assisted hundreds of people who were interested in careers in firefighting while simultaneously helping Black firefighters attain leadership positions. 

Image courtesy the National Trust for Historic Preservation

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