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E D W A R D S   F I R E   S T A T I O N

No engines shrieking rescue storm the night, And hose and hydrant cannot here avail; The flames laugh high and fling their challenging light, And clouds turn gray and black from silver-pale --Claude McKay

Edwards South Base Fire Station

Edwards South Base Fire Station, Edwards AFB, California

explored & photographed by: JJ, 10 September 04

Our CA Scoob JJ has sent us yet another intriguing peek at explorations of the lost and abandoned; this time he takes us along on his visit to the deserted Edwards South Base Fire Station...

 

Edwards South Base Fire Station – Echoes of “the Right Stuff”

"This is where the Air Force has tested most of its new and prototype aircraft since the end of WW2. It was where Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, where the X-15 flew to the edge of space and where the Space Shuttles have returned to from space. Most of the most historic programs from the 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s were operated around what was known as “South Base.” When most of the flight operations moved from South Base to the "Main Base" (about four miles north on Rodgers Dry Lake) in the 1960's, the station was no longer needed for fire duty. The building changed uses to become a survival training area for aircrews. In the mid-90's, training activities stopped here, as did time. Recently I slipped out to this remote spot on the base to for a brief visit.

Edwards South Base Fire Station

Edwards South Base Fire Station

Edwards South Base Fire Station

From the way this place looks, the base staff has kept the building from falling into disrepair and mostly secured (darn it). As you see though, it doesn’t get many visitors. At one time two all terrain trucks and an ambulance must have sat ready to rush to a crash on the lakebed or fire in now vanished south base complex. For about the first twenty minutes there, the only sign of life I saw was a fleet footed jackrabbit (in a hurry and didn’t pose for a picture) and this scaly fellow.

Edwards South Base Fire Station

Edwards South Base Fire Station

Edwards South Base Fire Station

When the building was used for survival (bail-out and ejection) training, they set up rails and pulleys to hang people in parachute harnesses and simulate coming down after a bailout. Having taken this training myself years ago, the landing can be really painful unless you do it the right way. What was those instructions?.. er “stop drop and roll”.. nope.. Ah yeah, “feet - knees – face.”

Edwards South Base Fire Station

Edwards South Base Fire Station

Edwards South Base Fire Station

I did find one open room and it was a gem, a utility closet. Littered around the floor was the remains of helmets, oxygen hoses, training clothes and other equipment dating to when the survival training unit moved to the main base.

Edwards South Base Fire Station

Edwards South Base Fire Station

Edwards South Base Fire Station

Though the area isn’t marked off limits, I didn’t want to have an unpleasant encounter. There’s something bad about seeing a car with flashing lights carrying 18 year olds with automatic weapons who tell you to kiss the pavement. When an airfield maintenance truck came screaming by I decided it was time to beat a hasty retreat. Before I did depart though, I grabbed a few more pictures, including one looking across the desert toward another abandoned part of the base – the rocket sled tracks. I’ll be back for more." --JJ

DISCLAIMER

Edwards AFB is an active duty military facility. The photographer/author do not encourage or condone people attempting to sneak on the base. If you get caught on base illegally, its a violation of Federal law and you'll be thrown into jail. The photographer/author has permission to be there. There are other risks, like this area is adjacent to an active bombing range. Lastly, no photographs were or ever will be taken of the active portions of any military facilities (ever). The locations photographed and in plans for future expeditions have been out of service for many years and will not pose a threat to base or national security.

And a very SPECIAL THANKS from us to JJ for sharing these fascinating pics and story!

All Rights Reserved by the Author. Reprinted here with permission.

 

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