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Kona International Airport dedicates aircraft rescue & fire station

The new Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting (ARFF) station at Kona International Airport. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

The new Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting (ARFF) station at Kona International Airport. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

State and county officials gathered Wednesday to dedicate a Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting (ARFF) station at the Kona International Airport.

The new 24,000 square-foot facility includes five truck bays and a fueling area, as well as improved work and living areas for firefighters, office and meeting space, dorm rooms and a workout area.

“The new ARFF station will enhance our readiness capabilities and help to ensure that our fire-fighters are prepared should emergencies occur at Kona International Airport,” said Ross Higashi, deputy director of the state Department of Transportation Airports Division. “This vital facility will help us to continue to provide a safe environment for our air travelers.”

Nearly 90 percent of the project funding for design and construction was provided through an Airport Improvements Program grant for $17 million, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. State funds covered the remaining $2.3 million.

The new station replaces the existing ARFF station, which was built in 1980.

“In conjunction with the Kona FAA Air Traffic Control Tower, which recently opened one year ago, this new station reflects our commitment towards making our state airports safer and more efficient,” said Ford Fuchigami, HDOT Interim Director. “These projects pave the way for future improvements at Kona International as part of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s New Day Work Projects.”

Chauncey Wong Yuen, Hawaii District Airports Manager, said praised the project as a needed addition to protect the airport and all the people who use it.

“The biggest responsibility I have is emergency response, so this is vital,” he said. “We’ve got 11 automated external defibrillators throughout the airport and we have saved lives. This is an additional layer. It’s all about safety.”

Sen. Josh Green said the new facility – and its personnel – will play a key role in helping to keep passengers safe.

“I can’t think of anything more important than public safety,” he said. “This will be meaningful for the entire Kona community and it will save lives.”

Groundbreaking for the fire station was in May 2013, simultaneous with a dedication of a $35 million air traffic control tower.

Both facilities are toward the northern end of the airport.

Dignitaries at the dedication of the new Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting (ARFF) station at Kona International Airport. (Hawaii  24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Dignitaries at the dedication of the new Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting (ARFF) station at Kona International Airport. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

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