Yesterday various departments at McMurdo Station came together to start the big move of “Ice Town” from the Annual Sea Ice Runway to the Pegasus White Ice Runway, located on the permanent Ice Shelf. Things started the evening of December 1st, 2011. Fleet Ops came out to the Sea Ice Runway and towed Red 3 on a “Magic Carpet” out to the Pegasus White Ice Runway.
Early in the morning on December 2nd, 2011 two Firefighters came out to the Ice Runway early to drive Red 1 through town and out to Pegasus. The whole trip is about 25 miles and Red 1 travels about 10 miles per hour at top speed. We then started placing electronics and computers on couches facing each other, and laying down large book cases and the refrigerator. We were prepping the station to be towed about 15 miles by a CAT D8 Bulldozer out to the new airfield.
The LC-130’s from the NY ANG started taking off around 11am. They had to wait to for Red 1 and Red 3 to arrive at Pegasus so there was an ARFF crew on the ground in case there was an emergency. The LC-130’s took off and the flight crews were transported by Helicopter back to the Ice Runway to pick up the other LC-130’s on the ground.
Right around noon the flight operations were over for the Summer 2011-2012 season at the Annual Sea Ice Runway. The UT’s stopped and shut off the oil heater on the station, and then the lineman came over and let us know they would be cutting the power to the fire station. The remaining guys on B-Shift and I loaded up in the van and Ambulance 2 for the ride back to McMurdo. B-Shift was off for the day, and I was headed out to Pegasus.
The 18 mile drive from McMurdo to Pegasus was awesome. It was a very bright, sunny, and clear day. I arrived out at Pegasus around 1:45pm. We had a couple of ARFF units there, but no fire station, and no other buildings from “Ice Town.” I met up with the crew and we all were awaiting the arrival of our vehicles and fire station. Around 6pm the fire station was towed in to place. The only downside was that we would be living in it for the next 24 hours without any heat, and no electricity.
With the sunny day the station stayed fairly warm, we removed the window coverings to all some radiant heat inside. Eventually it was time for bed. We all had extreme cold weather sleeping bags and it got a little chilly inside the station over night. In the morning we took heater used to keep the airplanes warm when they land and stuck the hose inside the fire station to warm the place up. As the day progressed the lack of power started to get challenging.
With the ingenuity that Firefighters possess we ran an extension cored from the generator on Red 1 and powered up the tv and dvd player. We also plugged in the coffee pot and water warmer on the tracks of Red 1. As the day went on more buildings continued to arrive at Pegasus. The highlight of the day was when the Lineman arrived and started to string the secondaries from the “White Elephant” generator and finally made the connection to the fire station around 7pm. With power and heat back on in the station it wasn’t long till most of us retired for the evening.