During the spring of 1941 a small community known as Ocean Park, which is located adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay, experienced a brush fire that threatened structures, but was extinguished by residents before reaching any homes. In 1942 the residents of the Ocean Park community devised a plan to establish a local fire company and in doing so purchased a used fire truck and built a small building to store their new acquisition. As the membership expanded and additional equipment was purchased the need for additional space required the members to relocate to a larger building located on Shore Drive. In 1946 the members filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (VSCC) and officially became the Ocean Park Volunteer Fire Department Incorporated.
A name change occurred in 1964 when the membership filed with the VSCC and upgraded their corporate name to Ocean Park Volunteer Fire and Rescue Unit. As the Shore Drive corridor expanded and numerous high rise structures were erected the need for an aerial ladder truck required the membership to hold bingo games and raise money for the purchase of this type of fire apparatus and in 1975 a brand new “Mack Aerialscope” was placed into service. Eventually the Virginia Beach Fire Department, which oversaw many of the volunteer fire companies within the city limits, began to incorporate career personnel into many of the volunteer stations including Ocean Park. In 1979 the fire station was remodeled to accommodate the additional personnel as bunkrooms, a kitchen and a lounge area were added. The updated living quarters provided career firefighters with accommodations for next 28 years until a new state-of-the-art facility was constructed, at a different location, and officially opened in 2007 as the First Landing Fire & EMS Station. Submitted by William J. Shukis Jr. The First Landing Fire and Rescue station is built just a couple of hundred feet from the Chesapeake Bay shoreline. The site is very near the site of the pilgrims "first landing" site, thus the name. The need for this station was driven by the exponential growth occurring in this area.
It is intended that this design will serve as a prototype for future Virginia Beach substations. The station includes four, drive-through bays, a three-story training tower, a separate boat storage building that also serves as a covered kiosk for the community bike path, and an apparatus fueling station. The building exterior is designed to reflect many of the area coastal building characteristics found along the Bay. The training tower mimics many characteristics of a coast guard tower, including the observation walk at its top. SCN-Architects served as the design consultant for the local firm, ACA Architects To house all the staff, 12 sleep rooms are provided in addition to a large kitchen with commercial cooking equipment, four refrigerators, large food pantry, and large dining area.
Separate offices and a lounge were provided for
the EMS companies. One large multi-purpose training room/day room was
provided for the fire department that can be divided with the moveable
partition. The main public lobby features memorabilia from the
department as well as a large salt-water aquarium visible from both the
lobby and the day room. The 3-story training tower in the rear of the
station connects to the mezzanine of the main station via a bridge and
allows the department many different training opportunities and
scenarios. The on-site fueling station serves the needs of many city
vehicles. A foot-path connection from the station to a greenway located
just off the rear of the property provides the staff opportunities for
fresh air and physical fitness.
The station officially went into service in early October 2007,
and provides housing for both fire personnel and EMS volunteers from
Volunteer Rescue Squads in the Shore Drive/North Great Neck corridor and
other members of the Department of Emergency Medical Services . The new
facility has a total building area of 16,978 sq. ft, and is the largest
of the city’s 19 fire & EMS stations. The area serviced by this
station has a Northern boundary of Shore Drive; a Southern boundary of
N. Great Neck Road and Shorehaven Drive; a Western boundary of Shore
Drive and Shady Oaks Drive; and an Eastern boundary of 75th Street and
This facility is designed with enhancements include: a vehicle
exhaust removal system; an emergency generator that has the capacity to
power the entire building; a sprinkler system; a compressor system to
re-fill air cylinders; built to withstand a Category II Hurricane and
has a 35 foot high training tower. The site also serves as a city fuel
site for all city vehicles.
The station houses a fire department 1500 gallon per minute engine
and a 105 aerial ladder. There are several special operations teams
within the Fire and EMS Departments that will be housed at the new
station. This includes the Fire Department Marine Team (Fireboat), EMS
Marine Response Team and the EMS 7 officer. There will be Advanced Life
Support Ambulances and an EMS Recruitment unit located in the station.
The station will also house the regional Virginia Port Authority
Maritime Incident Response Team. To enhance the theme of the Shore Drive
corridor, a partnership was developed with the Virginia Aquarium &
Marine Science Center and has installed a 180 gallon salt water aquarium
in the station’s lounge. The aquarium will exhibit species that are
found in the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This exhibit was
funded by private sources.