PHOTOS: David Ebarle pulls a tiny lever on the familiar red apparatus in front of him, shaped like a Monopoly house made of iron. It emits a mechanical, grinding noise that drones over his voice — it’s almost a static-like sound.
We’re standing inside the currently shuttered San Francisco Fire Department Museum, an unremarkable burgundy building adjoining Station 10 on Presidio Avenue. Inside, framed photographs of every city fire chief from the past 150 years loom overhead, and aging leather fire hats and badges line the shelves of glass cases lining the room. At the center of this niche hub for emergency services, tucked behind a mannequin leading three firehorses, is a defunct fire alarm call box that once stood at the intersection of Front and Pine streets, just steps away from Embarcadero Station. Ebarle — who is on the board of trustees for Guardians of the City, the organization that runs the museum — is showing me how it works.