Changing the station

Twenty years after the temporary fire station at Bob Hope Airport was built, officials this week appropriated $117,000 to make the building a bit more livable.

The fire station comprises a group of trailers inside a hangar near the intersection of the two runways on the airfield.

It was developed in 1991 with the intent that a permanent home for the airport's firefighters would be built once a spot could be identified.

"We need to do this rehabilitation because the structure is now 20 years into its temporary life," said airport spokesman Victor Gill.

In a report to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority this week, officials said badly needed maintenance and repairs would "restore functional integrity to the fire station."

The rehabilitation — including pest control fumigation, exterior finish repair, interior partitions for offices, new floors, revamped restroom and ceilings, new kitchen cabinets and appliances and natural gas service — will also help make conditions more livable for firefighters, officials said.

"These [trailers] weren't designed for the 24/7 use they see," said Police Chief Edward Skvarna. "A lot of the floor has become weak and needs to be reinforced or replaced."

Airport officials determined that a $117,000 rehabilitation of the temporary fire station was more cost-effective than full-on replacement.

But a permanent replacement could still be required under regulations included in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which calls for faster response times by airport fire departments. At the very least, the bill could mandate more fire personnel, Skvarna said.

"We don't know if that item will be included in the final version, and it could drastically change the manpower we need here," said Skvarna, who also serves as the airport authority's director of public safety. "Regardless, these repairs need to happen now."

Federal regulations require firefighters to reach any point on the airfield in less than three minutes. Bob Hope Airport firefighters typically clock in less than two minutes, 15 seconds, officials said.

Construction on the upgrades is expected to begin in February and be completed by May, with the understanding that the contractor must accommodate emergency response duties, officials said.

"We've needed this for a long time," said Fire Capt. Greg Driotez. "But everything works right now, though, and no one complains."

The airport authority this week also approved $227,190 for airfield pavement repairs after officials said the original contractor failed to comply with the contract requirements.

The project, now scheduled to begin Feb. 14, will fill cracks, seal the pavement and repair joints. Most construction work will occur at night.

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