Haute spots - Albuquerque Journal

Haute spots

“Hydra,” by Clark Wiegman, is located at Fire Station 7, 5715 Central Ave. NW. The piece is part of the Albuquerque Public Art Collection. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Editor’s note: The fourth Sunday of each month, Journal Arts Editor Adrian Gomez tells the stories behind some of the hidden gems you can see across the state in “Gimme Five.”

The daily life of a firefighter is tough, yet rewarding.

Adrian Gomez

Long days and sleepless night aside, the men and women at Albuquerque Fire Rescue rush into chaos to ensure the safety of the public.

“More than a Fire Fighter,” by Patricio “Paz” Zamora at Station 1 located at 724 Silver SW. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

It’s important for the department to keep up with state-of-the-art technology at each of the fire stations around the city.

Oftentimes, there is public art located on the campus of the fire stations.

Some of the public art and memorials in Albuquerque’s public spaces celebrate the work, contributions and sacrifices of public servants, like the employees of AFR.

“Sublimation of Flame” by Hi-Ying Wu at Station 12 located at 123 Dallas NE. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

As many of us have been remembering and reflecting on the events of 9/11 in our country, first responders and firefighters especially have been in our collective thoughts.

AFR Interim Chief Gene Gallegos shares his favorite works of art and memorials at fire stations around the city.

He says each piece of art has a different meaning to each person, but all represent the history of the fire service and a sense of community, which is the foundation of the fire service.

“Seeing a fire station brings most people a sense ease and seeing art pieces enhances that feeling,” Gallegos says. “It also makes people start thinking about history and how far we have come. But, most importantly, it brings a smile to people’s faces.”

1. “Hydra,” by Clark Wiegman, is located at 5715 Central Ave. NW. Wiegman designed the piece specifically for Albuquerque Fire Station 7. The piece pays homage to the role that the water plays in quenching fire, appearing as a geyser streaming from an iconic red hydrant. The sculpture signifies the frequently unsung daily heroics that firefighters offer to the community.

According to the city of Albuquerque, “Hydra” was not commissioned or proposed as a memorial, but it has taken on a bit of a signifier role for former City Councilor Ken Sanchez – as it was one of his favorite public artworks in his district.

Retired firefighter Mark Chavez carved the bear at Station 12, located at 201 Muriel NE.

It is located at the fire station that Councilor Sanchez worked really hard to have built, also.

Gallegos enjoys the piece in its entirety.

“(It’s a) playful work representing the community service of AFR and its firefighters – in good and bad times,” Gallegos says. “Like the hydrant, AFR and firefighters are a reliable resource during fire emergencies, but they are also there to support our community in good times which is represented by the fun of playing in the rushing water of an open hydrant.”

Station 7 opened its doors in 2013, though the original home was built in 1951 and located down the road. It has a response area of 5.9 square miles, which serves Albuquerque’s Southwest Mesa.

2. “More than a Fire Fighter” by Patricio “Paz” Zamora was installed in 1999 at Station 1 located at 724 Silver SW. The art piece is an acrylic and fiberglass sculptural mural depicting various aspects of firefighting, including: a fire truck, a firefighter scaling a wall, one on top of a burning building and a fire hydrant.

Gallegos likes the 3D mural “because it depicts the deep connection between the community and Albuquerque Fire & Rescue, and the many ways firefighters are connected to the community around them each and every day.”

Built in 1956, Station 1 serves Albuquerque’s Downtown, and has a response area of 3.4 square miles, which includes the historic Barelas and Country Club neighborhoods.

3. “Sublimation of Flame” by Hi-Ying Wu was installed in 2010 at Station 5, located at 123 Dallas St. NE. The piece is steel cut-out shapes depicting firefighters at the top of the fire station.

“Having served eight years at Fire Station 5, as a firefighter, driver, and lieutenant, this piece of art represents, to me, firefighters’ Never-Give-Up attitude,” Gallegos says. “This is the busiest fire station in the city, and they never stop, and they are all in.”

The current Station 5 was built in 2005 to replace a 1950s-era single-engine house. It serves the city’s culturally diverse and densely-populated International District, and a service area of 3.4 square miles.

Station 5 is not only one of AFR’s busiest fire stations, it is one of the busiest fire stations in the nation.

Gallegos says although it’s not officially part of the Albuquerque Public Art Collection, it’s a work that is meaningful to AFR staff because it was carved by a retired firefighter and it depicts the mascot of Station 12.

4. Station 12 was built in 1960 to protect the East Gateway area of Albuquerque.

Its 8.1 square mile response area includes a variety of commercial occupancies; the East Central Corridor; Interstate 40; and the Buena Ventura, Four Hills, and Voltera neighborhoods.

The 9/11 Memorial in front of Station 20 located at 7520 Corona NE. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

“This connection is important for the Albuquerque community during a time of national tragedy and is also an important note of solidarity and shared mission among fire and rescue staff across the country,” Gallegos says.

Built in 2002, Station 20 protects north Albuquerque, and has a response area of 11.1 square miles, including the neighborhoods of the far Northeast Heights and North Albuquerque Acres; the busy retail establishments of Paseo del Norte; and the north Interstate 25 corridor.

5. “9/11 Memorial” located at 7520 Corona Ave. NE at Station 20. Gallegos says the memorial is also not part of the public art collection, but it commemorates the contributions of AFR firefighters to the rescue and recovery response efforts at the Pentagon in Sept. 2001.

“This connection is important for the Albuquerque community during a time of national tragedy and is also an important note of solidarity and shared mission among fire and rescue staff across the country,” Gallegos says.

Built in 2002, Station 20 protects north Albuquerque, and has a response area of 11.1 square miles, including the neighborhoods of the far Northeast Heights and North Albuquerque Acres; the busy retail establishments of Paseo del Norte; and the north Interstate 25 corridor.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

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