Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 15, 2002

Dedication, blessing for renovated Kalihi Uka Fire Station draws crowd

By Shayna Coleon
Advertiser Staff Writer

A crowd of about 300 people attended the dedication and blessing ceremony for the Kalihi Uka Fire Station yesterday.

Firefighter Paul Fukuda cuts a cake at the dedication and blessing ceremonies held yesterday for the newly renovated Kalihi Uka Fire Station.

Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

The station, at 1861 Kamehameha IV Road, reopened six months ago after being closed for renovation in November 2000. The ceremony was delayed to allow firefighters to move in and set up furniture, said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo.

During renovation, the firefighters responded to fires in the Kalihi Valley area from the Kuakini and Kalihi fire stations.

"When the firefighters came from the other stations, the response time was extended maybe two or three minutes," Honolulu Fire Chief Attilio Leonardi said. "Now that they are back at Kalihi Uka, we can respond much quicker to this part of the community."

The $990,000 project expanded the 41-year-old station's sleeping quarters, locker rooms and bath facilities to fully accommodate the firefighters, including a hazardous-materials response crews. New air conditioning, water, electrical and plumbing systems were also included.

"The original station was built to house only five firefighters," Leonardi said. "So, when they added the hazmat company, they were crammed. The renovation definitely makes living accommodations more comfortable."

A new decontamination room, standby emergency generator and commercial washing machine for the firefighters' gear were also added to the station, Soo said.

"The decontamination room was an important feature because the men would usually take their things home to clean," Soo said.

The station also underwent changes to improve its accessibility to the public and meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Derek Peterson, a technician for the hazardous materials crew, said he is happy that the renovation is finally finished.

"It's a great relief that we can finally move back here," said Peterson, a firefighter for seven years. "This is our area, our home."

Reach Shayna Coleon at scoleon@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8004.