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Federal money approved for airport fire station

June 02, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Washington County has heard it's receiving more than $2 million in federal money to build a fire station at Hagerstown Regional Airport.

U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin announced in a press release Tuesday that the federal Department of Transportation is giving the airport $2.3 million.

Phil Ridenour, the airport's fire chief, said the $2.3 million makes up 95 percent of the expected project cost.

A new station would let the airport keep its two firetrucks together in one building, he said.

The new building also would have a third bay for the county's mass casualty trailer.

Ridenour said the building would measure about 8,100 square feet.

The $2.3 million comes from the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program for projects that enhance safety, capacity or security, or address environmental concerns.

For airports the size of Hagerstown Regional Airport, a grant covers 95 percent of eligible costs, according to the FAA's Web site.

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Ridenour said the state of Maryland and Washington County will split the remaining 5 percent of the project cost.

He said it might take up to a year to build the fire station.

The building would be just west of the blacktop apron behind the terminal. A storage shed that is there now would be moved.

The new building would include office space and a training conference room.

Ridenour said some space could double as dormitory areas for firefighters.

Four firefighters at the airport are full-time employees there. Three have other duties, including two who work in maintenance and one who works in the terminal, he said.

The other three firefighters are part-timers.

Currently, one airport firetruck is kept in a baggage area and the other is in a maintenance building off Henson Boulevard, Ridenour said.

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