F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
The Plains Hotel in downtown Cheyenne housed 25 Airmen from F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, Jan. 27, 2021, due to a facility gas leak displacing Airmen.
The F.E. Warren Fire Department received a call Wednesday morning reporting the smell of natural gas. Upon investigation, firefighters discovered the presence of gas in the building. To ensure the safety of the Airmen, all service members were evacuated from the facility. Within an hour, another unit from the 90th Civil Engineering Squadron responded to the situation.
The Water and Fuels System Maintenance shop, responsible for natural gas on the base, worked to trace and identify the gas line leak.
““Due to the age of our facilities, and the amount and condition of infrastructure in the ground the troubleshooting process can be difficult,” said Lt. Col. Brian Low, 90 CES commander. “These facilities are at least 120 years old, which means there are many layers of abandoned infrastructure that we have to work around.”
Due to the age of the pipes and difficulty in finding the leak, CE had to continue working into the evening. Given the timing and concern for the Airmen’s safety, the decision was made to find alternative housing for the dorm residents in an adjacent facility affected by the gas leak.
Of the 63 displaced residents, 25 needed a place to stay outside of friends and family. Master Sgt. Kristian Hollingshead, 90th Contracting Squadron superintendent, reached out to the Plains Hotel.
“The Airmen who couldn’t find a friend to stay with needed a place to stay for the night,” said Hollingshead. “Luckily, the Plains has been very open and willing to work with us on any requirements we have.”
The partnership between the Plains Hotel and F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming has a storied history, which has been reinvigorated over the past year.
“Because of the relationship we’ve built together, the process was a lot less stressful,” said Hollingshead.
This is not the first time The Plains Hotel has helped F.E. Warren in recent months. The Plains housed more than 130 quarantined Airmen during the months April, May and June. The support from the Plains Hotel helped the new Airmen’s transition to Cheyenne run smoother.
“It’s a 150 year relationship,” said Astrid Starship, owner of the Plains Hotel. “Not many businesses can say that.”
Between the contracting squadron and the staff at the Plains, Airmen had a safe place to stay for the night.
“I am so proud of my crew, as everyone raced in to help, “ Starship said. “Everyone kept such a positive attitude.”
The relationship between F.E. Warren and the Cheyenne community continues to flourish.
“We are happy to help,” Starship said. “It’s been wonderful to be able to serve in this capacity and keep that historic relationship alive.”
Despite some challenges, Airmen from the 90 CES were able to alleviate the problem, allowing Airmen to safely return to their dormitory after a night staying with one of the base’s long-term community partners.