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Historic hangar showered in foam

  • Published
  • By Leslie Brown
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs
'Splish splash' King Hangar got a bath Sept. 3 when the 96th Civil Engineer Group completed its final foam test of the new fire suppression system designed to protect critical 46th Test Wing assets. 

The system, which has 24 foam generators suspended from the ceiling, released 110 gallons of the suppressant similar to soap or dish detergent. 

The entire process to fill the 90,000 square-foot hangar with more than three feet of foam took just two minutes. By the time the test was over, the blue 50-gallon barrels and red saw horses disappeared under the white, fluffy bubbles. The two percent high-expansion foam concentrate is biodegradable.  Technicians let the foam dissipate for 24 hours, before hosing down whatever was left.  

The hanger was built in 1955 and named for test pilot, Maj. Lyle R. King, who was killed in an F-86 crash here in September 1954. The hangar is considered a historical Korean War-era facility. 

"This modernizes our test structure," Col. Glenn Ferguson, 46th Maintenance Group commander, said. "Not having the fire protection system was a short fall. We had to provide a work-around which was risky." 

The $4 million project was completed with the help of three local companies -- the general contractor and an electrical contractor from Fort Walton Beach, a fire alarm contractor from Pensacola and a mechanical contractor from Mississippi. 

"The system exceeded the test standards and performed very well," said Dan Robeen, 96th Civil Engineer Group's programs division chief. 

The new suppression system is just one of many upgrades to the hangar to ensure the facility maintains its 'royal' status. 

"We recently resurfaced the floor and replaced the siding on the building," Master Sgt. Richard Fesenbek, the King Hangar building manager, said. "Hurricane Ivan did some damage to the facility so roof repair work had to be completed and windows had to be replaced before we could continue any other renovations.  This (suppression system) installation marks another chapter for this large historical landmark," Sergeant Fesenbek said. "And a commitment to future involvement inside of the test and development community."