Prince George Fire Hall #1
LocationPrince George, BC
This new three-storey public safety building replaces an ageing fire headquarters in downtown Prince George that could no longer meet the needs of a growing city.
Fire Hall No. 1 combines fire and rescue operations under one roof, improving efficiency, accessibility, security and — most importantly — the time it takes to respond to an emergency call.
Its simple yet striking design celebrates the local timber industry, with a monolithic form that rises in a gesture of resilience, comfort, and community.
We would like to thank City staff, the design team, and construction crews for their hard work on this impressive new building, which will be serving our community for many years to come.
Lyn Hall, Prince George Mayor
Located next to City Hall, Prince George’s existing fire hall was more than 60 years old — too small to meet current standards as an integrated fire and rescue facility.
This project proposed relocating a 50% larger facility at a centralized site on Massey Drive, a measure that would improve fire rescue’s emergency response times to under eight minutes — the time it takes for a previously-contained fire to spread from a single room to the rest of a structure, which greatly increases the risk of fatalities.
Yet this new site posed a challenge: the fire hall’s adjacency with Carrie Jane Gray Park, a popular public amenity, meant the design team needed to carefully consider how the new building could fit — and enhance — its surrounding community.
The existing fire hall was in poor condition — unable to accommodate modern fire apparatus and its location hindered response times to several expanding parts of the city. Considering these deficiencies, the community overwhelmingly approved the construction of a new facility through a referendum in 2017.
Programmatically, the new facility would be a community safety hub that contained fire suppression services, fire administration, an emergency operations centre, and a regional emergency dispatch centre — not all that different from the existing facility. However, each element needed to be modernized and configured to suit current industry best practices.
Our challenge was to accommodate the varied programs and their specific technical requirements into a cohesive new facility on a limited project budget.
The building’s form reacts to the programmatic configuration and unifies the varied elements within. Where large openings were required, we carved away the form to reveal wood finishes. Wood was chosen as a contrast to the dark exterior cladding, and more importantly, to reflect of the important role this material has played within the local community and economy.
When it came to programming, we focused on minimizing the turnout time for firefighters. Living spaces for fire fighting crews were located on the first level of the building, directly adjacent to the apparatus bays. All critical circulation paths through these areas led directly to the apparatus bays, thus providing clear wayfinding and easy access.
In addition, our design included five drive-through apparatus bays, sized to meet the needs of modern fire trucks and provide capacity to accommodate future needs. Support spaces on the west side of the building are designed around a carefully-orchestrated decontamination process, which meets current standards for firefighter occupational health.
We are a little over three weeks into the new hall and I can tell you I am more amazed and blown away each day in here, and every time I tour the hall.
Cliff Warner, Deputy Fire Chief