The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), Airports Division, celebrated the opening of the new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) station at the Hilo International Airport today. The new two-story, 21,000 square-foot facility includes an emergency operations center, four drive-through truck bays, a fueling area, along with improved work and living quarters for firefighters. The facility will also accommodate larger sized ARFF vehicles and provide training facilities to help firefighters perform at their highest capabilities.
“Keeping airport users safe is an enormous responsibility that we take to heart. This new and improved fire station will help our dedicated state firefighters and emergency medical responders with their day to day responsibilities, which includes responding to emergencies,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director.
Nearly 87-percent of the $18.8 million total was provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Airports Division provided the remaining $3 million. The new station is fully compliant with FAA requirements.
“We extend our gratitude to the FAA leadership for their support and dedication in bringing these improvements to Hilo,” said Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director of the Airports Division. “We also thank the skilled firefighters and emergency medical responders who rush to an emergency when called upon.”
The exact move in date will be coordinated with HDOT and the contractor to ensure there is no lapse in coverage during the transition to the new facility.
Editors Note: Senator Kai Kahele was at the blessing and the following was stated on Facebook:
Today was a very special day for Fire Chief Nawai Chartrand, his fire Ohana and our Hilo community. Senator Kaiali’i Kahele along with State and County officials gathered this morning to bless the brand new $18.8 million Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Facility at the Hilo International Airport.
This project in particular holds a special place in Senator Kaiali’iʻs heart. During the 2014 legislative session, the former Senator Gil worked very hard to secure the States portion of $3 million. Two years later, on this very day, the doors are open and the hale is filled. A special mahalo nui loa to Nan Inc., for building such a beautiful facility, on time and on budget.