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New firehouse at MacArthur Airport triple the size of old facility

The $13.5 million building will house new fire and rescue vehicles and updated equipment, officials said.

On Monday, July 16, Islip town officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new $13.5 million firehouse at Long Island MacArthur airport. The 21,000-square-foot facility replaces a building built in the 1940s and will help improve rescue services at the Ronkonkoma airport. (Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz)

Long Island MacArthur Airport unveiled Monday a $13.5 million firehouse designed to improve rescue and medical response to accidents on the airfield.

The building, largely completed Friday, will serve as a staging area during emergencies at the Ronkonkoma airport and replaces a facility built in the 1940s.

The 21,000-square-foot facility is more than triple the size of the old 6,000-square-foot firehouse and will house new fire and rescue vehicles and updated equipment, officials said.

Chief Airport Fire Safety Officer Albert Cinotti said he was “overwhelmed” by the new building, saying that the department with 21 full-time employees has “outgrown the old facility.”

“We look forward to providing even better service than we provide now,” he said, noting “it was nearly impossible to keep everyone in the [old] building at one time.”

The department, which will have 24-hour staffing, handles many aspects of airport operations, including providing medical services to passengers in a crisis, removing snow and keeping wildlife off the grounds, officials said.

Eighty percent of the project was funded by a Federal Aviation Administration grant issued in 2016 and the remainder by state funding and airport revenue, officials said.

Instead of cutting a ribbon, Islip officials celebrated the new building on Monday by turning on a fire hose in front of about 30 town and airport employees.

“We’re concerned about making this the best experience possible and making sure it is safe,” Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said. “The new building is one of the many, many steps we have taken or continue to take to improve our airport.”

It includes a communications room, training space, administrative offices, a kitchen, an employee dormitory and gear and supply rooms, Airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken said. The garage doors open in 16 seconds or less, and the garage’s height makes it easier for vehicles to be filled with water and firefighting foam, she said.

Staffing at the facility will also be increased from three people to four people per shift to comply with FAA standards, LaRose-Arken said.

The adjacent old fire and rescue building will be demolished in about three weeks and turned into space for parking, officials said.

Facility features

  • New vehicles set to arrive in 2019 and will replace two vehicles from 1991 and 2001
  • A wildlife closet containing equipment to help keep animals off the grounds
  • A washing machine that removes carcinogens from firefighter gear

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