HILO, Hawaii – The opening of the new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) station at the Hilo International Airport was celebrated today.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation’s Airports Division says the $18.8 million facility includes an emergency operations center, four drive-through truck bays, a fueling area, along with improved work and living quarters for firefighters. The two-story, 21,000 square-foot building will also accommodate larger sized ARFF vehicles and provide training facilities to help firefighters perform at their highest capabilities.
The Federal Aviation Administration picked up nearly 87-percent of the project cost, while the Hawaii DOT Airports Division provided the remaining $3 million. The new station is fully compliant with FAA requirements, the state says.
“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.
“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 event was attended by Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, State Senator (and pilot) Kaiali’i Kahele, and Airports Fire Chief Martinez Jacobs. The facility was given a traditional Hawaiian blessing by Kahu Isaia Kealoha & Kahu Kaliko Trapp. Hilo ARFF Chief Nawai Chartrand – in addition to helping untie the maile lei – provided music entertainment.