Paine Field firefighters at home at last

Firefighters at Paine Field will no longer be sleeping in a trailer.

They’ll no longer have to make several sharp turns to get a fire truck onto the runway — they can go straight there.

And they won’t have to go one place to lift weights, another place to retrieve firefighting foam and another place to talk to the chief.

Everything will be in a new, 12,000 square-foot building that, unlike its old facilities, isn’t fouled by asbestos or mold.

The Paine Field Fire Department has scheduled an opening ceremony for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday for its new fire station at 3601 109th St. SW.

The department planned to have its offices, equipment and firefighters moved into the building before the ceremony, Chief Jeff Bohnet said.

The $6 million building replaces a station built in 1948. In 2006, firefighters had to start sleeping in a trailer to get away from mold in the old building, Bohnet said. The old station also does not meet modern seismic standards.

The old building was at the far south end of the runway, in an awkward spot for trying to turn fire trucks onto the tarmac, the chief said.

The new building is about 700 feet north of the old one, near the Flying Heritage Collection museum. It’s a more convenient location to the runway, Bohnet said, and houses all the fire department’s functions in one place as opposed to having them scattered in different buildings.

The department employs 12 full-time firefighters and responds to 300 to 400 calls a year, about 20 percent of which are aircraft-related, Bohnet said.

“If a pilot reports any potential problem or can’t tell if the landing gear’s down, or there are funny noises, we do a standby for anyone who has any concern about a potential problem on the aircraft,” he said.

Right now, two or three firefighters work 24-hour shifts at any one time. The new building will be able to sleep up to five if needed in the future, the chief said.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.

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