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Meet the airport's newest firefighting weapon

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It's the first of its kind in the Marianas and today the Guam International Airport Authority commissioned its newest addition to its firefighting fleet set to provide a better capability and response to mishaps in the airfield.

Last week's opening of the runway extension was considered a major milestone, and today the celebrations continue for the A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority. "We're very excited to commission Unit 5 today," proclaimed airport executive manager Chuck Ada. Officially known as Fire Apparatus Number Five, it's the newest Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting unit under the airport's fleet.

This Rosenbauer Panther 6-x-6 model features an Ultra Power 760 horsepower engine that can quickly access any part of the airfield while responding to emergencies. Ada explained, "It's increasing our capacity as far as our public safety responsibilities. This particular piece of equipment at the price tag of about $900,000 brings to the table more efficient response activities to our ARFF in responding to any possible mishaps in the airfield. It has a capacity to puncture the skin of aircraft and disperse water through the aircraft, our current capacity didn't have that capacity."

Apparatus Number 5 is the first of its kind in the Marianas and it also features a water capacity of 3,000 gallons, foam capacity of 400 gallons and a mounted color camera that provides an aerial view of any scenario.

The fire apparatus features a high reach extendable turret that can reach a maximum of 55 feet. The device may also be deployed into a doorway of a burning aircraft with the capability to visualize the interior through an infrared camera without exposing firefighters to danger. Airport board chairman Ed Untalan said, "But all this work is not just about just acquiring machines, buying big toys for big boys, but really equipping the ARFF to satisfy all our air federal regulations and to be ready for any emergency here at the airport. This continued progress is important to achieving and meeting a minimum three-minute response time to any emergency to any part of the airfield."

Just like the runway extension, the nearly $900,000 price tag for the unit was fully funded by the Federal Aviation Administration - a small investment Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio described as a way to protect the millions of dollars at the airport. Apparatus Number 5 is the first of three the aircraft rescue and firefighting units will be acquiring in the next few years.

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