Luke Air Force Base Fire Station 361’s bathroom will get a much needed renovation throughout the next few months with completion scheduled for March.
Firefighters at Luke have been sharing one bathroom and are looking forward to the additional stalls and showers.
“The Air Force is doing something to make life easier and more comfortable for its Airmen here at Luke,” said Tony Rabonza, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services deputy fire chief. “We are always looking for ways to make the fire station more of a home because firefighters spend more time here than at their own homes.”
The funding for the renovations will come from Luke’s renovation budget and the fire department’s position on Luke’s rack-and-stack priorities for fiscal 2013.
“General Rothstein saw where we were at on the rack-and-stack list and how bad our bathrooms were and was able to find the funding to make this happen for us,” Rabonza said.
Firefighters are currently sharing a single bathroom among the 32 military and 17 civilian personnel. Personnel work 24 hours on and 24 hours off-duty shifts and this makes for cramped quarters.
“We have two urinals, two showers and three toilets,” Rabonza said. “It becomes very congested and a difficult place to work.”
The additions to Luke’s Fire Station 361 come as a result of other fire stations closing across the base.
“There used to be three fire stations, and we had more manning than we do now,” said Staff Sgt. Robert McClanahan, 56th CES FES fire captain. “Now we only have one fire station, and our manning is so great that the latrine wasn’t sufficient for all the personnel we had on shift.”
The fire station is in the process of making changes in the kitchen as well as the bathroom.
“The next project we will be pushing hard for is the kitchen,” Rabonza said. “There has been nothing done to it since the station was built. We have broken cabinets and leaking faucets. It has been 20 or more years since the station was built and the same stuff is in there.”
Fighter Country Partnership recently donated theatre chairs to put in the TV room for a little more comfort.
The staff welcomes the improvements to Fire Station 361.
“Change is good,” McClanahan said. “Like all the buildings on base, our building is getting old. Most of our time is spent here, so this is like our home, especially in the kitchen where we can cook together and hang out.”
Personnel at Fire Station 361 are using a shower-shave unit provided by Gila Bend, while the fire station’s bathroom is being renovated. Rabonza hopes to have construction complete before the beginning of this year’s open house and air show.