East Hawaii News

Pōhakuloa Firefighters Earn 2021 Small Fire Department of The Year Trophy

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The fire department of U.S. Army Garrison — Pōhakuloa Training Area recently earned top honors in a competition among other small Army fire departments.

Competing against many departments throughout the U.S. Army Installation Management Command in the Pacific, the PTA first responders earned the trophy of 2021 Small Fire Department of the Year, according to a PTA media release.

“PTA’s fire department deserves a great deal of credit for not only doing their regular mission in support of the base and training, but also for the added value they bring to the great Hawaii Island community,” said Craig Deatrick, director of the U.S. Installation Management Command — Pacific, in the release.

Composed of 21 firefighters, paramedics, rescue personnel and associated equipment, the cohesive team that is the PTA Fire Department provides first responder services, including firefighting, motor vehicle accident response and even rescuing lost or injured hikers, among many other things.


“This award is much deserved,” said PTA Commander Lt. Col. Kevin E. Cronin in the press release. “I am extremely proud of the PTA Fire and Rescue team for the support they provide to our troops who are training at PTA to increase their combat readiness, and also for their response efforts in and among the local community, including along this busy highway and around the slopes of Maunakea and Mauna Loa.”

In August, PTA Fire and RescueFire, Rescue and other U.S. Army assets, including five helicopters sent from O‘ahu, assisted in the large-scale firefighting effort to contain the largest wildfire in recorded Hawai‘i Island history, which burned nearly 50,000 acres and damaged homes, ranch lands, fencing and even livestock.

“That effort in August of 2021 was my first large firefighting event with PTA and it truly showed me how special this department is, and what an incredible team we have here,” said Acting PTA Fire Chief Greg Simon. “We see every day how important we are to the local community and that always gives our team a true sense of value.”


Responsible for a 500-square-mile response area, the PTA Fire and Rescue team works with Hawai‘i County fire and emergency response through a mutual-aid agreement and responds to incidents on Daniel K. Inouye Highway, also known as Saddle Road, and calls to Mauna Loa or Maunakea. PTA also regularly hosts Hawai‘i County fire and emergency responders for training, providing instructors and the use of its firefighting training facilities.

“It’s an incredible honor to serve with this dedicated team of brave professionals,” Cronin said. “They respond to hundreds of calls a year to help our local community members in need. We are immensely proud to be able to give back to our community in this way. It’s important to us.”

The PTA Fire Department is always in search of potential candidates to join the team. Job openings can be found online.


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