(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-08) today highlighted the urgent need for funding to build a new fire station at the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bethesda installation in Maryland, which supports Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and 39 other tenant commands.
Raskin offered and steered to passage an amendment to H.R. 3055, an appropriation bill that funds military construction projects, the 2020 Census, the National Park Service, VA medical care, and more. Raskin’s amendment expressed support for essential construction projects at military installations where health and safety are at risk.
In his speech on the House Floor, Raskin detailed the dire state of the NSA Bethesda firehouse and the need to build a new one. Earlier this year, a fire broke out there, significantly worsening already-hazardous conditions in the facility. Because the fire alarm never went off, the flames spread to other rooms, causing extensive damage and rendering the firehouse unsafe for occupancy.
“I want to thank all my constituents who work at the firehouse who brought this problem to my attention,” said Raskin. “The people working at NSA Bethesda are protecting and serving our military and our nation’s wounded warriors. Many of the fire fighters, EMTs and paramedics working at the fire station are themselves former soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and coast guardsmen. I was shocked to learn about the continuing decrepit state of the facility. One of my constituents who is a firefighter at NSA Bethesda and served in the Army in Afghanistan told me that, ‘The conditions in the Firehouse in Bethesda are by far the worst conditions I have ever seen or lived in.”
For several years prior to the fire, concerns about the safety of the firehouse – which was built in 1942 – were repeatedly raised by the people who live and work there. The complaints ranged from dangerous mold and asbestos, to roof leaks, electrical issues, and structural instability. These complaints were repeatedly ignored or minimized.
“At a time when the Defense Department’s budget is ballooning by billions of dollars each year, the facilities that serve and support our military are falling into disrepair. We always seem to be able to find money for expensive weapon systems. We should be able to find money for basic overdue projects like this.”
Click here to watch Rep. Raskin’s remarks in support of the amendment and the amendment’s subsequent passage on the U.S. House Floor.