Snapshots of post-Manhattan Project firefighters

Photos show staff and station from Los Alamos in the 1940s

September 1, 2021

S Site Firestation2 1946
Fire Station 2, 1946 Bradbury Science Museum

While the easy access to nature gives Los Alamos many benefits, it also brings a high risk of wildfire. Fire mitigation has a long history in our region, and these photos provide a glimpse of operations just after the Manhattan Project.

One image shows Fire Station No. 2, located at S-Site, in 1946. The station was commissioned just two years earlier, when Project Y was in full swing. The assigned crew mostly responded to brush fires in the ample surrounding forest. Structure fires were handled by Fire Station No. 1, which was located downtown.

From late 1943 to mid-1947, enlisted service members staffed the Los Alamos Fire Department, led by a civilian chief. Some of those firefighters are seen in the second image. On the back of the original photo, a note reads: “Fall of 1946. All are GI's Holding fire house with 400 lb pressure” (sic). Eventually, experienced civilians replaced Army personnel in the department.

Do you like taking a look at history? Explore more archival photos from the ‘40s and later years in our online collections.

G Is Fall 1946 Firehose Use