By Rachel Ponder, APG News
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- APG Fire & Emergency Services and leadership celebrated the completion of the expansion and renovation of Fire Station No. 2 on Phillips Airfieldhere, Nov. 19.
Assistant Chief Loren Brown served as narrator of the event and gave a historical overview of Phillips Army Airfield. After the opening of Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1917, the Army began construction of an airfield costing more than $1 million in response to the developing technology of aerial combat. In 1943, the airfield received an extensive upgrade which included the addition of building 1059. Originally the building was 1,000 square feet and included two engine bays and a small living quarters.
“Now, 77 years later, building 1059 is fully staffed by civilian DOD firefighters and has expanded to over 9,000 square feet,” he said.
The upgraded station consists of four engine bays, five bunk rooms, two full bathrooms, an office area, a training room and a patio. The kitchen and living area are as large as the original building in 1943.
“Our incredibly unique airfield, which is rich in culture and history, can continue its mission without fear, knowing that our frontline responders have state-of-the-art equipment housed in a state-of-the-art facility,” Brown said.
Fire Chief Adam Ballard said the project was “a long time coming.” He expressed gratitude for improvements in the building and thanked the APG Garrison Command Group, senior leadership and the Directorate of Public Works for the support they gave to ensure the project was funded and completed.
“We had setbacks throughout the years, lots of trials and tribulations, but we were finally able to get to the point where we are today and I couldn’t be happier,” he said.
APG Garrison Commander Col. Timothy Druell mentioned the partnership between the Directorate of Operations, DPW and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. The firefighters lived in the MWR cabins by Shore Park while the remodeling was completed this summer, he said.
“I am glad that as an APG garrison team we can expand and work together to ensure a better quality of life during construction and after construction,” he said.
Recognizing First Responders
U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Commanding General and APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Mitchell Kilgo recognized the firefighters and the emergency services personnel for their perseverance and dedication. The critical work that they do, he said, helps improve the readiness of the community and the Army.
Additionally, Kilgo thanked them for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said many people do not understand the challenges first responders face every day.
“You never stop, you never slow down, you continue to push, continue to drive and you are there for this community and we really appreciate that,” he said.
The event concluded with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and a tour of the facility.
Construction representative Don Keithley, with DPW, said the project cost about $3 million and took “a little over a year.” The project included expanding the facility from 3,000 square feet to 9,000 square feet and adding another engine bay. The process faced some setbacks, he said, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am really happy with it, it feels more like a firehouse than what they had before,” he said.