Ground will be broken Friday for the new Fire Station No. 2, a $4.1 million building to replace what City Council President Jake Day called a currently unsafe structure.
“It can’t be used as a shelter in hurricanes, which is a function of firehouses today. In an emergency, people couldn’t go to that building. It’s a real shame it wasn’t designed better, but it will be replaced and be a nice addition to the city,” Day said.
The groundbreaking ceremony will be at 2 p.m. on the corner of Naylor and Brown streets.
The new facility, which will face Brown Street across from the existing firehouse that was constructed in 1930, is expected to open in November 2015. The old building will be razed.
City Council approved funding as part of its FY 2015 budget.
Other fire departments in the city are Station 16 on Cypress Street and Station 1 on Beaglin Park Drive.
Services provided by the fire department include not only extinguishing blazes, but also technical rescue, hazardous materials response, home fire inspections, emergency medical treatment and transport of residents.
The fire department is staffed by 64 career and 120 volunteer and trained firefighters and paramedics, Chief Richard Hoppes wrote in a message, where he also praised firefighters.
“The members of the fire department continue to face the challenges of emergency service delivery with great energy and enthusiasm. The department continues to focus on the mission to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our community by providing prevention and mitigation of fire and life safety hazards in an effective and efficient manner,” Hoppes wrote.
“At times when moments of reflection take place, I am truly amazed at all we have accomplished,” he added.
Day said the new firehouse is a capital project that’s been discussed by city leaders for 20 years. “It’s nice to get it off the books and get it into bricks and mortar,” he said.
He said although there has been a difference of opinion between paid staff and volunteers, “you have to look at the big picture.”
“That big picture is that it is an unsafe public building and it’s being replaced with safe one,” he said.
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