Tom Allett reports that LAX officially opened its new ARFF facility on November 22.
On November 22, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R Villaraigosa and City Council members Bill Rosendahl, Janice Hahn and Tom LaBonge were joined by federal aviation and local fire and airport officials to dedicate a new Aircraft Rescue and Fire-fighting (ARFF) facility at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The new $13.5-million Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Station 80 replaces a 25-year-old building that no longer accommodates the size of today’s fire-fighting apparatus and materials, nor the increasing volume and nature of operations at LAX associated with larger, new-generation aircraft and the airport’s modernisation (capital improvement construction) programme. The 13-month construction project, which began September 2009, was completed under budget.
“Keeping LAX on the cutting edge of safety and security is my priority, and this new state-of-the-art facility is making LAX safer, improving our readiness for any type of emergency,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “I would like to thank the Obama Administration for the $10.8 million in ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] funding provided for this project, which created nearly 200 jobs.”
With approximately 28,000 sq ft (2,600m2) of space on two floors, the new station is double the size of the previous one and includes seven bays to house and maintain all the station’s rescue and fire-fighting vehicles and other large emergency-response equipment, such as mass casualty decontamination units, of which some had been previously stored outdoors in a coastal environment. There is also ample living, administrative and training areas for 14 fire-fighters assigned to each 24-hour shift. One of the bays has a hydraulic lift capable of raising 100,000-pound fire-fighting apparatus so that maintenance can be performed more quickly on-site rather than at the LAFD’s maintenance facility in downtown Los Angeles. The footprint of the former Station 80 fits inside the floor of the fire apparatus bays of the new facility.
The $13.5-million construction project was supported by a $10,832,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The remaining costs were covered by airport revenue bond proceeds. No funding came from Los Angeles City’s general fund.
“This state-of-the-art facility, from its truck maintenance lift to its kitchen, is packed with the equipment it needs to take command and control of any emergency situation at LAX,” said City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose Council District 11 includes LAX. “We built Fire Station 80 hoping that moment never arrives, but the travelling public can now feel confident that we will be prepared if it does.”
Councilwoman Janice Hahn (District 15), Chair of the City Council’s Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee that oversees the airport, said: “This new, state-of-the-art station is yet another sign of the commitment we have made to making LAX as safe and secure as possible. This station, combined with our soon-to-be-renovated Bradley West Terminal, will make LAX one of the most convenient and impressive airports in the world – keeping us competitive for years to come.”
“This is the first LAX project funded by the federal stimulus bill and it’s something Los Angeles can be proud of,” said Councilmember Tom LaBonge (District 4). “This building will create jobs and improve safety. [The] bottom line is this facility is bigger and better.”
Los Angeles Fire Chief Millage Peaks said: “We have taken the best fire-fighters in the world and placed them in the best and greatest facility to serve and protect the travelling public at Los Angeles International Airport. We’re truly appreciative of the support that we have received from our Mayor and Los Angeles World Airports.” Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey said: “The modernisation of our rescue and fire-fighting facilities provides an extra measure of comfort and security to the travelling public. LAFD Station 80 will continue its tradition of maintaining the highest degree of safety and readiness at LAX as it has done for nearly 70 years.”
The new ARFF Station 80 is located midway between LAX’s north and south airfield complexes with a total four runways and 2,400 ft (731.5m) further west of the passenger terminal area than the former station. FAA regulations require at least one ARFF apparatus capable of arriving at the midpoint of the furthest runway within three minutes. The two sets of runways are nearly one mile apart.