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Whidbey Island Opens New Flight Line Fire Station

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070509-14
Release Date: 5/9/2007 5:16:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bruce McVicar, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det Northwest

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) held a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new flight line fire station May 7.

Navy Region Northwest (NRNW), NASWI contractors and firefighters all worked together to complete the two-year project, which broke ground in July 2005 and cost $4.2 million.

“We now have a 21st century facility to support the 21st century naval aviation enterprise,” said Capt. Syd Abernethy, NASWI commanding officer. “Our Navy and fire and rescue personnel deserve no less and I want to thank all the people, past and present, that helped build this fire station. Their persistence paid off.”

The new fire station is approximately 21,908 square feet, has 13 truck stalls and 22 dormitories compared to the previous fire station built in 1971, which was 10,860 square feet, had eight truck stalls and seven dormitories.

“In my 20 years as a firefighter, I have never worked in a new fire station,” said Eric Tucker, battalion chief. “In fact, I have never seen a fire station as advanced or well thought-out as this one. This facility represents a clear vision for the future of the NASWI fire services.”

Each year, 59 fire station personnel respond to nearly 1,500 calls, while maintaining a 15-member staff at the station around the clock.

“A firefighter spends half of their life in the station,” said Duane Jones, NRNW firefighter. “This new station improves our quality of life and the outstanding training facilities will help keep us proficient.”

The fire station was built with the future in mind to allow updated and larger firefighting vehicles and equipment. Some state-of-the-art technologies built in the station include an improved vehicle exhaust emissions system, alert bells and crash phones.

“We designed components into building an environmentally friendly and energy efficient facility,” said Gail Portrey, vice president of business development with Macro-Z-Technology, the prime contractor for the project.

“We now have a modern facility that provides the right capability at a lower life cycle cost than our older, degraded fire station,” said Cmdr. Scott Smith, NASWI Public Works officer.

The fire station supports a fleet of three structural trucks, three crash trucks, two command rigs, one tender, one heavy rescue vehicle and one hazardous material response vehicle.

“The new station will improve the firefighter response time as well as improving training capability,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Handler (AW) Tracy Brehner, NASWI facilities department. “It also unifies flight line firefighting, structures firefighting, administration and investigations under one roof instead of located in four different buildings.”

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