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Deep Space Network’s Patrice Houlemard earns praise for quick response to fire alarm


Pictured is a DSN Antenna at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA.


Patrice Houlemard, a Shipping Clerk that supports the Deep Space Network (DSN) Operations & Maintenance team at the DSN Logistics Facility (DLF) in Monrovia, CA, recently came to the aid of her teammates when a fire alarm was activated due to an incident in the Deep Space diner on Nov. 22, 2021.


When smoke filled the area and the fire alarm was activated, Patrice, a trained Emergency Team Member, sprang into action.


“I facilitated the DLF personnel to their assembly area outside of the building and went back in to ensure all personal were out of the building. The local Monrovia Fire Dept. showed up approximately 8-10 minutes after the alarm went off. I stood outside in front of the Facility to inform the Fire Department it was a false alarm.”


Due to COVID-19, Patrice’s DLF team is the only group physically on site at the Monrovia Facility (and have been since day one of the pandemic).


Her quick reaction to the incident earned kudos from Sonny Giroux, Program Manager for the DSN O&M contract, who sent an e-mail to Sey Ghamari, Aerodyne’s DSN Program Manager: “I’m letting you know what a great job Patrice did on the 22nd of Nov. in responding to a real fire alarm we had at the Monrovia building. As the only on-site emergency response volunteer, she ensured the building was evacuated and personnel accounted for. She also coordinated with the fire department and other personnel. Fortunately, it was only an overheated pizza in the oven, but no one knew that initially. Great job Patrice!”


The DSN, which is operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, is NASA’s international array of giant radio antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions, plus a few that orbit Earth.


Pat and her team at the DLF support all of the DSN sites: Canberra, Australia, Madrid, Spain, the Goldstone Observatory near the Mojave Desert in California, and JPL in Pasadena, CA.