Port of Long Beach Fireboat Station No. 15 at Pier F

Long Beach, California

Best Specialty Construction

Submitted By: Pinner Construction Co.

Owner: Port of Long Beach

Lead Design Firm: COAR Design Group (fka Jeff Katz Architecture JKA)

Contractor: Pinner Construction Co.

Civil/Structural Engineer: Jacobs Engineering (fka CH2M)

MEP Engineer: P2S Engineering Inc.

The third major component in a four-phase modernization of the Port of Long Beach’s fire safety services, this California project’s design actually began in New York. “We started our research by touring New York’s Fireboat. It was the nearest thing to what Long Beach was building,” says Jeff Katz, president of COAR Design Group. To add complications, the boat the facility would accommodate didn’t exist yet—it was still in design.

The finished station’s biggest challenge was the 11,200-sq-ft covered fireboat bay enclosure—the first in the port’s history. To provide access to the underside of the new roof deck unaffected by tides, Pinner improvised a “dance floor” elevated scaffolding technique used to construct performing arts theaters.

Tides also presented a challenge when dealing with the fireboat’s exhaust. “In a landside fire station you’ve got a vehicle exhaust extraction system that connects onto the exhaust pipe and takes it out,” explains Katz. The tidally changing position of the boat’s exhaust stack needed complex analysis to accommodate.

Coordinating all of the project’s stakeholders proved another significant hurdle. “There were a lot more outside agencies and entities involved with this than your typical building project,” says Armond Morad, deputy chief harbor engineer for the port’s construction management division, citing several port agencies, the fire department and outside contractors in addition to the project team and the city. Multiple coordination meetings were required to keep the project humming along.

Port of Long Beach Fireboat Station No. 15 at Pier F

The station is the home of the Vigilance, a 108-ft-long vessel capable of delivering more than 41,000 gallons of water per minute.
Photo by Matt Fukushima

The facility was built with interim fire station 15 in use right next door. “It was a really tight site,” says Min Zavarella, president of operations at Pinner. Off-site prefabrication and studious pre-planning helped keep quality high and logistics streamlined, but diligence was still essential. “The state of California does not take kindly to spillage into the ocean,” explains Zavarella. There were no recordable safety incidents.