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U.S. Border Patrol Opens 

New Station in Fort Fairfield

 

Facility may double as barbed-wire enclosed FEMA camp in times of emergency

By: David Deschesne

FORT FAIRFIELD, MaineOn June 18, 2010, the U.S. Border Patrol celebrated the grand opening of its new station on Center Limestone Road in Fort Fairfield.

The Houlton Sector Honor Guard started off the day with the national anthem being sung by Robert Helstrom, Fort Fairfield Middle/High School band director, and invocation by Rev. Jean-Paul Labrie from St. Denis Catholic Church.

Guest speakers included Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Alfredo Casillas from Houlton Sector, Barbara Hayslett from Congressman Michaud’s office, Phil Bosse from Senator Collins’ office and Sharon Campbell from Senator Snowe’s office.

“The Border Patrol currently has over 20,000 agents in the nation. This brand new, state-of-the-art facility is a testament to the nation’s commitment to expend resources, hire additional personnel and to ensure the threats to the country are being met even here in Fort Fairfield, Maine,” said Casillas.

Closing remarks were by Patrol Agent in Charge Dennis Harmon from the Fort Fairfield station, followed by the ribbon cutting which formally marked the opening of the new facility. “I’d like to thank Bob Clark, the building owner and Dan Hebert, Inc., the builders of the facility,” said Patrol Agent Harmon. “When projects of this magnitude are being built, there are often difficulties and sometimes major hurdles that make the project seem like it will never come to fruition. My experience with the building of this project had a different view. Not that hurdles did not challenge those involved, but Bob and Dan always seemed to have one goal; build it right, make sure it’s what the tenant wanted and they’ll be happy with it. As I look across the street at the old station, I can say this; ‘We are happy.’”

The $6.5 million, 26,000 square foot facility is situated on 10 acres and was constructed by Dan Hebert, Inc. Construction and supervised by the U.S. General Services Administration, New England Region.

The facility may accommodate up to 50 agents and staff and includes such amenities as a helicopter landing site with lighting, a processing and holding facility with hermetically sealed room and separate air handling equipment, mechanics bay and indoor parking lot for up to 18 service vehicles and a backup generator. “We can also use the indoor parking lot to house people for disaster relief for agencies like the Red Cross,” said Harmon. When functioning as a FEMA disaster relief camp, the facility can comfortably accommodate up to 150 people inside the parking garage and at least an additional 1,000 people in a “tent city” outside, and still have everyone interred inside the barbed wire fence for their safety. The parking garage area also features a small dog kennel where agents can place their service dogs while they are on duty at the station.

“In order to accomplish our mission, we need the appropriate mix of infrastructure, personnel, technology, partnerships and intelligence. This facility will enable our agents to complete our mission more efficiently and effectively in securing our borders, while keeping our communities safe,” said Harmon.

 

 

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