‘Engine 32 1/2’ artwork installed at West Seattle’s new Fire Station 32

Thanks to Erika Lindsay with the city’s Office of Arts and Culture for news that “Engine 32 1/2” has been installed at the new Fire Station 32 in The Triangle. She included photos of the installation, which as you can see required a crane.

Sean Orlando of Engineered Artworks is the artist. Engine 32 1/2 is described as:

… a large-scale fabricated steel version of a wooden toy fire truck. Inspired by historic fire trucks of the late 1920s and 1930s … modeled after the original Engine 32 that Captain Steve Sanislo operated out of this station for many years … a 1924 Seagrave Apparatus … a custom designed and fabricated idealized version of a real vintage fire truck built to ½ scale with a toy-maker’s detailed aesthetic … endowing it with a sense of play, whimsy and imagination. The ladders of “Engine 32 ½” will extend, stretch and come alive behind the apparatus, organically and impossibly creeping up the outer wall of the firehouse. The extension of the ladders behind the truck represents the speed and urgency of the Fire Fighter’s mission. The overall shape of the ladders will emulate a chaotic abstract flame.

Capt. Sanislo is of course the namesake of the elementary school on Puget Ridge. But the truck has even more of a local backstory – inspired by toy trucks made by a man living near FS 32, as detailed on Orlando’s website.

The artist is quoted as saying, “This particular work of art represents an internal discovery and connection between the primal emotions and memory within children of all ages, as well as adults. By creating a piece that spans the generations, “Engine 32 ½” will act as a catalyst to bridge the gap between the adolescent child and the inner child of the adult.”

No date yet for when SFD will move into the new station (which was built on the site where the old one was demolished, at SW Alaska and 37th SW), according to our most-recent check with the department. Construction began with demolition more than 14 months ago. The call for artists originally went out in 2013.

21 Replies to "'Engine 32 1/2' artwork installed at West Seattle's new Fire Station 32"

  • Swede. June 29, 2017 (3:24 pm)

    Walked by there when they where hanging it up and thought it is a nice and fun idea for the building. Looks good! 

  • Rusty June 29, 2017 (3:39 pm)

    Wondering how much was spent on the artwork and installation, as opposed to going to pay for actual police / firefighters – and, when we’re constantly asked for more and more money, why our priorities are apparently out of whack. Hope those on fixed incomes being taxed out of the city can get a glimpse on their way out…..

    • WSB June 29, 2017 (3:49 pm)

      The call for art linked toward the end of the story includes information on the budget; the A&C spokesperson is checking on the final cost.

      This is part of the city’s 1 Percent for Art program, which was created in 1973: http://www.seattle.gov/arts/programs/public-art

      If you think it should be repealed, let your Councilmember know: lisa.herbold@seattle.gov


    • Swede. June 29, 2017 (4:16 pm)

      Let’s just build basic functionality and ugly looking things. Can’t make things look nice. 


      Yes I’m sure it wasn’t free but it’s sure beats a concrete wall. Firefighters are some of the biggest hero’s and keepers of a city and I for one think they more than deserve a nice work place. 

    • CAM June 29, 2017 (4:17 pm)

      A friend recommended a really good book to me which I am in the midst of reading, Station Eleven. It’s a post apocalyptic story about a traveling symphony/Shakespeare company. Painted on the sides of their caravan is the quote: “Because Survival is Insufficient”. Another apt idiom may be, man cannot survive on bread and water alone. Government making efforts to make cities not a barren wasteland of concrete and steel is well worth the investment of tax dollars. In other news, that truck looks awesome and I can’t wait to see it in person. 

    • Tony s June 30, 2017 (5:47 am)

      I’m impressed it only took one post for this kind of message. Way to keep up the momentum Rusty. You must have set some kind of comment section record. 

  • sc June 29, 2017 (4:06 pm)

    Can the artist build a mail drop bin for the West Seattle Post Office?  

    • WSB June 29, 2017 (4:43 pm)


    • Luke June 29, 2017 (7:17 pm)

      Thank you SC! I just laughed . . . a lot 

  • JayDee June 29, 2017 (6:39 pm)

    Hear Hear WSB! A lot simpler than a fire truck. Wouldn’t a small Post Office truck be cool to drop mail into? But I doubt USPS would allow it.

  • sc June 29, 2017 (7:48 pm)

    A small Post Office truck bin would be so awesome! 

    Why not ask the USPS?  There can only be 2 possible answers.

  • Elle Nell June 29, 2017 (9:00 pm)

    I was just wondering why it’s not out front on the ground so the littles can sit and “drive” and take photos whilst our Fireman are saving lives..? 

    I do like it though – creativity bringing thoughts.. hopefully😜

  • Eric1 June 29, 2017 (9:04 pm)

    At least this looks pretty.   Some of the other thing my 1% buys…. well, not so much.  

    My dad warned me about being an artist: Nobody wants your stuff while you are alive.  Only after you die does anything you make become valuable.

    Hence the starving artist.

  • dsa June 29, 2017 (10:20 pm)

    Fantastic!  Is the final position downward?  I guess it’s easier to see.

  • Rusty June 29, 2017 (11:32 pm)

    Drove by to take a look. Great looking building, beautiful glass front, very nice addition to West Seattle and while art is subjective, I liked it. I just wonder why we couldn’t privately fund the art if it’s that important (admittedly not knowing the cost). If we have deteriorating roads and bridges, a growing population of homeless folks, coupled with a rising cost of living here we might want to look at how much is going to art (not just the percentage). Maybe it wouldn’t make a dent, maybe it would – on the bright side, if I get a flat tire at least I might have some nice art to look at while I change it.

    • KBear June 30, 2017 (9:08 am)

      Rusty, art is not a waste of money. Making art is a real job. So is making the materials from which art is made. It is not a matter of whether we should have art OR firefighters. We can (and should) have both. If everyone thought the way you do, there wouldn’t be any art at all.

  • Rusty June 30, 2017 (9:56 am)

    Kbear –

    Never said it was a waste of money – hence the ‘look at privately funding it’ approach. What I AM saying is that when we are budgeting for crucial, core functions of government (providing for enough firefighters, police, maintaining infrastructure) maybe those should be able to be put above the art requirement. We are blessed to live in a city with very diverse, eclectic architecture – and we have a LOT of public art already. Is the requirement that 1% of all new projects be set aside (so in effect for every building the city builds, they have to have some art)? Or is it a general fund? If it’s every building, maybe that’s a bit much when we have other more pressing issues that impact people’s lives much more (like homelessness).  With the rising cost of living impacting the poor and those on fixed incomes disproportionately, are there alternatives like private funding that might free up more money to go to those core functions? I think your statement that ‘We can (and should) have both’ is a great thought for those who have no problems maintaining a nice lifestyle in this city (and who would hopefully step up to help with private funding), but might not be such a great idea to those struggling to get by.

    This isn’t some anti-art rant, it’s a serious question about priorities when we can’t maintain our roads, infrastructure, and care for our homeless citizens adequately now.

    • Alki resident 13 June 30, 2017 (8:29 pm)

      Hi Rusty,

      3.36 million dollars is small change compared to this city’s overall budget. Why point the finger at artists and public art when suggesting places to cut funds? You speak of the disenfranchised citizens of Seattle as if most artists trying to live in this expensive city do not fit within that group. Most artists I know (including myself) have two or more jobs to survive. (No- I do not get funds from the city). If we all want to live in a vibrant, culturally rich and interesting city, we must support the arts. I feel that many of the problems that you describe this city as having, and that I agree with, are due to mismanagement not lack of funds.


      Your neighbor the artist.

  • Rusty June 30, 2017 (10:41 am)

    Thanks to WSB for the link, looks like it’s from the general fund, currently it is 3.36 million for 2017 (https://openbudget.seattle.gov/#!/year/2017/operating/0/program/Municipal+Arts+Fund/0/service?vis=barChart)

    Which includes an $85,000 grant for ‘a compelling fictionalized graphic novel’ about the Georgetown Steam plant

  • Rusty July 1, 2017 (8:09 am)

    Alki Resident –

    Appreciated, truly, and completely agree about mismanagement of funds. I am not against art or artists, and LOVE living in a city with such a vibrant arts scene. I still believe that the priority of government should be public safety, infrastructure, and regulation. Once those priorities are satisfied, then look at things like art. Private funding allows those that CAN afford it to step up and contribute – I just have a hard time rationalizing forcing the working poor to subsidize non-critical items as the COL climbs so much. As far as the argument that it helps starving artists – well sure, but I had no special programs helping poor factory workers when I was putting myself through college. In other words, are artists a protected class of poor in relation to others that they need special subsidies only for them? Not trying to be flippant, and appreciating the artistic contributions, just not convinced that it needs to be a priority of funding publicly when private funding is possible. If we stopped electing socialists, neo-marxists and people who apparently have little experience and no inclination to say no to anyone, we might get our finances in order and have enough to pay for it – but I’m not holding my breath for that.

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply

    • Alki resident July 1, 2017 (12:03 pm)

      I am a homeowner who pays taxes, same as you, so I also don’t like to see our taxes mismanaged. I am not a “starving artist”, but I am hard working. You and I share the experience of struggle… you with your factory and me by my society’s lack of arts opportunities/jobs. We both had to think critically, persevere and use our creative problem solving skills. We are probably stronger individuals because of it! I understand your point that you feel like essential services should be funded first, however, in this money-filled booming city of ours, our government can do both. 

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