Los Angeles News

Long Beach Fire stations adopt unique icons

Friday, August 09, 2013

The engines and fire stations may look the same, but the Long Beach neighborhoods they serve are unique, so each Long Beach Fire Department station has adopted its own icon.

Station No. 4 is known for its busy nights, so Batman, the Dark Knight, watches over the Belmont Heights neighborhood.

Station 16's logo fits it well because it's located at the Long Beach Airport. The icon traces the airport's roots back to World War II when it was known as Daugherty Field.

The icons give the stations their own identity.

"We made these logos specific to the actual character of the station, the character of our city, and because of that, I think that's what makes these logos loved by the crews," said Jake Heflin.

Seventeen stations have their icons or logos on display at fire department headquarters. While the icons identify the neighborhood, one icon has a whole different meaning.

Station 12 is known as the "ghost house." Firefighters who work there swear the spirit of retired firefighter John Makemson resides there. Makemson used work at the station, and he lived across the street. After retiring in the 1970s, he even hung out at the station until he died nearly 20 years ago.

Mike Harrison says he and other firefighters have felt Makemson's presence.

"We're either lying down in bed or in the chairs in our training room, where while you're sleeping, you have the sense of a presence come into the room," Harrison said.

Next month, Station 12 will be replaced by a new modern station just a few blocks away. Some are asking, will the icon and John Makemson find a new home at the new fire house?

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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