JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Even though the fire station was unofficially operational last month, Joint Base Lewis-McChord officials hosted the official hose-uncoupling ceremony of the new Fire Station 102 on JBLM Main Sept. 5.

"Today, history charts a new beginning that will reach beyond our years to come," said JBLM Fire Chief Kenneth Rhault. "The old Station 102, which sits just down the hill, was constructed in 1963. While this station served multiple generations of personnel well for many years, the time had come to build a new home.

"Brothers and sisters of Station 102, welcome home."

The new state-of-the-art fire station, located near the air traffic control tower on Gray Army Airfield, will combine firefighters and equipment from Fire Station 101 on JBLM Main. They'll be able to respond to fires anywhere on JBLM Main within seven minutes of being dispatched. Fire Station 102 will also respond to calls on Gray Army Airfield, from its location on the west side of the runway.

"During my short time here, (the) one thing stands out as I get to know JBLM is all the relatively new base facilities," said Col. Skye Duncan, JBLM garrison commander. "What we didn't have was a new fire station for our first responders. It's necessary.

"As Chief Rhault said, the old Station 102 was 56 years old. And our firefighters, who keep JBLM safe every day, deserve modern facilities because you protect a daily population of about 110,000 JBLM people."

After speeches and presentations were given, firefighter traditions of more than 100 years were carried out. Those included the ceremonial cleaning of the tires and pushing in of the first firetruck (new safety standards demand the firetrucks be under driver control).

Finally, a radio dispatch was played over the fire station's speaker system.

"Attention on the air -- new Fire Station 102, Building 41000, is now officially in operation."