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20th CES opens new fire station

A crowd gathers before a ribbon cutting ceremony at a new 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire station Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., June 29, 2017. The ceremony marked the opening of a new fire station in the base housing area, which enables firefighters to respond within the Department of Defense mandated response time when reacting to emergencies in the housing area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

A crowd gathers before a ribbon cutting ceremony at a new 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire station Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., June 29, 2017. The ceremony marked the opening of a new fire station in the base housing area, which enables firefighters to respond within the Department of Defense mandated response time when reacting to emergencies in the housing area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Col. Daniel Lasica, 20th Fighter Wing commander cuts a ribbon during the opening ceremony of a new 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire station at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., June 29, 2017. Construction for the station, which was built to accommodate up to five Airmen and one fire truck, began in January 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Col. Daniel Lasica, 20th Fighter Wing commander cuts a ribbon during the opening ceremony of a new 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire station at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., June 29, 2017. Construction for the station, which was built to accommodate up to five Airmen and one fire truck, began in January 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new fire station, June 29.

By placing the satellite station in base housing, 20th CES firefighters will be able to reduce response times to the area, said Senior Master Sgt. Lincoln Ratliff, 20th CES deputy fire chief.

Col. David Vaclavik, 20th Mission Support Group commander, said the facility’s completion, which reduced the 10 minute response time to two minutes or less, could save lives and protect homes from property damage.

The renovation to the pre-existing building required an estimated 4,000 man-hours to be able to accommodate up to five Airmen and one fire truck 24/7.

Airmen assigned to the 20th CES constructed separate sleeping quarters, bathrooms and a fitness room. They also updated the kitchen and expanded the parking lot to meet the building’s new purpose.

“It took courage, competence and ownership to get this done in such a short time,” said Vaclavik. “It blows me away to walk in this building and see what our civilian and military Airmen could put together and accomplish to take care of our Airmen and families.”

The new station opening is a good thing, said Evelyn Walters, family housing resident. She now feels safer because, if there was an emergency at her home, firefighters may take only seconds to respond because the station is so close.

As the installation’s Airmen strive to do their part in protecting the rest of the nation, the construction of this new station shows they also work to ensure the health and safety of the base community, reflecting the commander’s enduring priorities of mission, Airmen and families.