Jun. 25--HANCOCK COUNTY -- The John C. Stennis International Airport received a gift which could have cost Hancock County about $600,000 and which helps it maintain its current business.
The firetruck that was donated from the Tulsa International Airport in Oklahoma allows Stennis to keep within certain federally-regulated guidelines.
"Our only operational firetruck was flooded," Airport Director Bill Cotter said. "FEMA originally had earmarked $150,000 to fund the purchase of a used firetruck for the facility, but then reversed their decision to fund the project."
The airport was able to borrow a unit immediately following the storm thanks to a donation by the Mobile Regional Airport.
"The airports from the Florida Panhandle through Lake Charles, La., have always come to each others' rescue during times of need," Cotter said.
The firetruck, with 10 years of service already, is still valued at about $200,000. The unit was constructed by Emergency One in Ocala, Fla., an emergency supply company.
The truck holds approximately 1,500 gallons of water, 250 pounds of foam and 500 pounds of dry chemical, which is also found in fire extinguishers.
"The only cost for a piece of equipment this valuable has been $2,500 in transportation cost," said Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission Director Jack Zink.
Stennis provides flexibility to other branches of the government, Cotter said.
"The airport provides a valuable training ground to the U.S. Air Force for their nighttime training and also to the offshore drop training of the U.S. Coast Guard," said Cotter.
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Officials broke ground Friday on a new air traffic control tower at Stennis International Airport in a bid to grab a bigger piece of the air cargo business.
Stennis International Airport officials have begun construction of a new air traffic control tower.
Gulfport-Biloxi Airport, Stennis Airport and Wiggins' Dean Griffin Airport will use the DOT money to fix terminals, hangars, taxiways and fencing.
The state is funding the terminal, Wimmer said. Ninety-five percent of the funding for the airport is from the FAA, and the other 5 percent is divided between the state and local governments.