One of the Astrium personnel (Maxime) happens to be a volunteer fireman in France and he aspires to become a professional fireman. At his request, we arranged a visit to the local Fire Station located between bldg 92A-50 and our hotel area. Maxime had a desire to see the station, meet the Russian crew, and exchange crew T-shirts with them. The visit took place on 7 May and it easily exceeded our collective expectations. The Fire Chief greeted us and gave us a comprehensive tour of the station and all of their firefighting equipment. Throughout the tour, Maxime was able to ask many questions as he compared firefighting in France with firefighting in Baikonur. There are several young ladies at the station that were quite eager to have their picture taken alongside Maxime. The station itself is very impressive with a crew of 80. They are rightfully proud of their equipment and station, both of which are well-maintained and immaculate. Without our asking, the crew even conducted a fire drill for us, demonstrating how fast they can be ready to respond to an actual fire emergency (trucks rolling with sirens on). To top things off, after exchanging T-shirts, Maxime was outfitted in full Russian firefighting gear for a very warm photo opportunity. Overall, it was a very nice international exchange of good will.

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