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SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has inaugurated a P24.7-million fire station designed to modernize the operations of the agency’s corps of elite firefighters and further upgrade capacity for emergency response.

The stone and brick architecture that will house Fire Station No. 7 summons images of classic fire facilities and has become a standout in its location at the Central Business District of the Subic Bay Freeport.

The construction of the new fire station began in July 2020 under an SBMA program to replace aging facilities built when Subic was still an American naval base. Last Monday, SBMA officials led by Chairman Rolen Paulino Sr. inaugurated the building with guests coming from the fire departments of Makati City and Olongapo City.

SBMA Fire Chief Ranny Magno said the new fire station provides ample space for both personnel and their growing amount of equipment. Apart from the new building, which occupies 593.38 sq m, there is also an apparatus floor covering 167.89 sq m that can accommodate up to four fire trucks, he said.

Magno disclosed that the new facility has a water and oil separator engineering system, which is designed to conform to the Environmental Management System (EMS) standards for ISO14001.  This would ensure that fire and rescue operations preclude pollution and detrimental effects on the environment.

The new building is also gender-sensitive, Magno said, as it is equipped with all-gender comfort rooms, and male and female quarters that considered breast feeding functions and hygiene concerns.

Moreover, the new facility has a mini museum with display of old fire and rescue equipment that will come in handy during educational tours.

Magno said the brick architecture was initially rejected as it defied the traditional design of fire stations in the country. However, it was eventually approved when he argued that the Hispanic aesthetic feature was intended to preserve the institutional memory, rich history and heritage of the Subic Bay Freeport as a former facility of the Spanish Navy, and subsequently, the United States Navy.

“We must have a sense of history. This is a former Spanish and American naval base that has become our show-window to the whole world,” the Subic fire chief added.

Meanwhile, Paulino, who led a brief inspection of the new facility, said the improved facility would further cement Subic Bay’s reputation as a complete community and boost SBMA efforts to sustain the attractiveness of Subic as an investment destination.

Image credits: Henry Empeño