Under fire: GFD's renovations - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Under fire: GFD's renovations

by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Guam Fire Department is making some major renovations to its headquarters in the DNA Building in Hagatna for what fire officials say is an investment that will help GFD cut down on its spending.  But it seems it's also a concern for others in the agency as they are forced to work during construction, while others have to put up with the poor conditions in their facility.

While the Guam Fire Department's headquarters is getting an extreme makeover, employees are forced to wear dust masks, as work must continue for the agency.  "Unfortunately with the Guam Fire Department we can't just close down for a couple days. We're a 24 hours/7 days a week service, and we need to remain operating...we are fully aware of where the construction is happening within the office, and we are making sure that we are in our offices and we're not in each others way," said GFD Spokesperson Joey San Nicolas.

He says the just more than $14,000 for the project was pulled from the department's rental expenses in its annual budget.  San Nicolas says the goal is to consolidate the two spaces that the agency occupies in the building in hopes to save nearly $50,000.  "It's a move to both create more efficient services for our department, as well as cost saving measures as well," he said.

San Nicolas says Fire Chief Dave Peredo's plan is to request for a budget modification to transfer the projected savings into other categories to fund critical services, equipment, materials and supplies.  But an even bigger concern about the headquarter upgrades came from the personnel in the fire stations throughout the island who feel their request to fix the field facilities have gone on deaf ears.

Despite the poor conditions that have been plaguing some of these fire stations for years, San Nicolas could not say how soon conditions at the fire stations would be fixed. But he does say the department is working to secure funding through federal grants and through the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority as well as with the EPA to retrofit these old stations.

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