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Fire Department 'tops out' new station

Eglin Fire Department holds a 'topping out' ceremony on the construction site of the installation's new fire station.

Fire Chief, Mark Giuliano and Airman 1st Class Wolky Guerrier Jr., 96th Civil Engineer Group, unfurl the fire department and the American thin red line flags as the last beam of the structure is raised during the Fire Department’s ‘topping out’ ceremony here May 29 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Eglin Fire Department holds a 'topping out' ceremony on the construction site of the installation's new fire station.

Airman 1st Class Wolky Guerrier Jr., the youngest member of the 96th Civil Engineer Squadron, fastens the last bolt on the last metal beam raised during the Fire Department’s ‘topping out’ ceremony here May 29 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Eglin Fire Department holds a 'topping out' ceremony on the construction site of the installation's new fire station.

A contractor and Airman 1st Class Wolky Guerrier Jr., the youngest member of the 96th Civil Engineer Squadron, secure the flags on the last metal beam raised during the Fire Department’s ‘topping out’ ceremony here May 29 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Eglin Fire Department holds a 'topping out' ceremony on the construction site of the installations new fire station.

Fire Chief, Mark Giuliano, fastens a bolt on the last metal beam raised during the Fire Department’s ‘topping out’ ceremony here May 29 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Firefighters here hosted a “topping out” ceremony on the construction site of the installation’s newest fire station May 29.

The centuries-old practice honors what was taken from the earth to build a structure by placing a tree on top of the last beam of its frame. Once the structure is complete, the tree is then planted near the structure, according to Eglin Fire Chief, Mark Giuliano.

Instead of a tree, Eglin Fire Department members placed an American thin red line flag and a fire department flag on the last metal beam of the structure’s frame, lifted it up and bolted it to the highest point of the roof with the flags hanging. The flags will stay in place as long as possible through the completion of the structure.

Once complete, the fire station, flanked by the flight line, will consolidate five function areas under one roof. The facility will be home to more than 20 personnel responsible for administration, operations, training and education, health and safety, and communications.

The station will also house a state-of-the-art collocated fire department and security forces 911 dispatch center to ensure aircraft emergency response times are streamlined and met, according to Giuliano.

The fire station is scheduled to be complete in January 2020.