It's been 68 years, but Hill Air Force Base finally has a new fire station.
Base officials unveiled a new three-bay fire station May 17 that will provide necessary fire and emergency services to the east side of the base.
The station comes to Hill in large part because of a 2008 provision sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, in the annual Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill.
The provision secured $5.4 million for the construction of the new facility.
"This fire station was desperately needed on the east side of the base," Bishop said. "This will have a very positive impact at Hill for years to come."
The east side of the base has undergone major development during the last year or so.
In September 2010, Hill opened two new F-22 aircraft maintenance hangars, three aircraft paint booths and F-22 support space that includes new offices.
Maj. Gen. Andrew Busch, commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Center, said the new fire station is "very important for several reasons."
First, Busch said, only 200 yards to the south, Hill crews are performing depot maintenance on the F-22, and the station's proximity to the F-22 facility will allow firefighters to respond to a possible emergency faster than ever.
In 2012, Hill also will begin performing work on the F-35 on the east side of the base, near the new fire station.
Busch also said Hill firefighters will be able to respond to other east side base facilities faster than they used to.
When the east side of Hill is all built up, more than 2,000 people will be working in the area every day.
Patrick Vega, base assistant fire chief, said Hill's main fire station, which is just a few miles north of the base's South Gate, will remain open to serve the rest of the base.
The original east fire station was built in 1943.
"We're glad to have this new station," Vega said. "Sixty-eight years is a long time. This is a great morale booster for our firefighters."
The new station includes sleeping quarters, physical fitness and kitchen areas, and state-of-the-art equipment and decontamination rooms.
The fire station also includes energy and water-saving features, natural lighting, solar panels and motion lights.