Capt. Tony Pierotti, left, and interim Fire Chief Joe Gulotta show Councilwoman Regina Romero a hydraulic gurney on a new paramedic ambulance at Tucson Fire Station 9. Other fire stations will be getting improvements or complete rebuilds.

Fire Station 9 crew members lovingly dubbed the busy battalion headquarters the “house of pain.” As Tucson grew around the station, near South Wilmot Road and 22nd Street, the crew’s size and workload also grew.

But the station, housed at 6275 E. Eastland St. since 1966, has primarily stayed the same — until now.

Fire Station 9 is the first of five Tucson Fire Department stations getting a complete rebuild thanks to a 2017 voter-approved, half-cent sales tax dubbed the Tucson Delivers program.

The station is also receiving the first of four new paramedic ambulance units, which is getting ready to roll onto Tucson streets within the next few weeks. These units are equipped with the latest technology, including enhanced safety features and lower emissions.

The rebuild, which should begin in 2020, will increase the fire station’s footprint and include new apparatus bays, expanded living quarters and kitchen area, and an upgraded workout space.

Living quarters and a kitchen area will be expanded at midtown Station 9. The renovations should begin in 2020. In addition, four new firetrucks will be on the road by May.

In addition, nine other fire stations will get a remodel, and four new firetrucks will be on the road by May, says the program’s manager, Amber Kerwin. These are some of the big-ticket items, and a similar list of upgrades big and small are in store for the Tucson police force in the next few years.

During an unveiling ceremony for the Fire Station 9’s new paramedic unit Wednesday morning, an older emergency vehicle took a moment to fire up, as if reminding onlookers of the timeliness of the Tucson Delivers program. As people crowded in to better inspect the new paramedic unit, crew members worked on attaching the new “house of pain” decal.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said that thanks to Tucson voters, the city continues to progress in funding critical public safety needs.

“It really was our citizens that are the reason why we’re having this new equipment, why we’re having this new technology,” he said. “We’ll really be able to use our community tax dollars to literally save lives.”

The Tucson Citizen was on hand when Station 9 opened in 1966. At the time, it had two equipment bays and a staff of six.

Tucson Fire Station 9, 6275 E. Eastland Street, on Feb. 13, 2019.

Fire turnouts hang inside the equipment bays at Tucson Fire Station 9, 6275 E. Eastland Street, on Feb. 13, 2019. The turnouts get doused by diesel exhaust each time a truck enters or leaves the station.

The tiny kitchen for 14 firefighters lacks storage space for some pots at Tucson Fire Station 9, 6275 E. Eastland Street, on Feb. 13, 2019.

“House of Pain,” the decal for fire units at Tucson Fire Station 9, 6275 E. Eastland Street, on Feb. 13, 2019.