Assistant fire chief Lorenzo Diaz is the president of the Society of Houston Latino Firefighters. "A lot of times we have firefighters from across the nation come to Houston to utilize Houston's medical center, be it cancer or whatever. What we're doing is they always need a place to stay and we want to provide a place for them to stay free of charge. Downstairs will be utilized by a 501c organization, civic committees, for a place to meet."
The fire station, which hasn't be used in several years, is on the city's list of historical landmarks. Houston city councilman Peter Brown and his wife have committed $125,000 for the building's renovation. Brown also has a more personal connection to the fire station. "I found out my father was the architect in 1940, so my wife and I came out here. We were standing on that corner and we said, you know, this is a pretty nifty building. It's kind of a neo-classical, 1940's design and my wife said this building ought to be saved. I said I agree with you. She said what do we do? I said we're going to have to step-up and see if we can't make this happen."
The Society of Latino Firefighters bought the building from the city for $53,000. The renovation should be complete in about two years.
The vacant station, at the corner of Kress and Lyons on the city's northeast side, will be turned into temporary housing for visiting firefighters who need medical care.