Just over a year ago, county officials broke ground on the new Fire Station 13. On Friday, the station opened to the public.
The two-story station was constructed on the old lot at 1170 Beach Road at a cost of $3.9 million. Firefighters for the past year have been working out of a nearby building at 5700 Midnight Pass Road.
The original station was built in 1973 to accommodate two people. Although the new building has some facets from the old, such as original brick featured in the main vestibule and around the fire pole, it can accommodate as many as four to six personnel.
The 10,500-square-foot station does not feature a community meeting room, but it is built to withstand future hurricanes that may hit the island.
Fire Chief Michael Regnier said he was blown away by all the amenities the new building has. The new building features a media room, a gym, a common area and individual bunks for firefighters.
“Firefighters spend a third of their lives in their careers at the fire station so making a project like this that is fully functional for our firefighters, safe and is safe for the community — this is what it’s about,” Regnier said.
County Commission Chair Al Maio said that in his six years as a commissioner, he has now attended the sixth fire station opening ceremony with another four in the works.
He said the funding of such stations and the Regional Fire Training Academy currently in the works is important because it ensures community safety.
“We want to make sure there’s the protection that everybody need to have,” Maio said.
Construction on a station on Bee Ridge Road is underway with the expectation of opening in 2022.