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New fire station rated for major hurricane approved for Myakka City

Willis Smith will start construction on the new station in November.

The five-year plan includes a replacement of the current Station 11 along Wauchula Road.
The five-year plan includes a replacement of the current Station 11 along Wauchula Road.
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After construction of the just-approved new firehouse for Myakka City, East Manatee Fire Rescue workers will no longer have to perform this important task when a hurricane hits the area.

They won't have to leave.

One major problem with the current Station 11 is that it isn’t rated for a Category 3 or higher hurricane. During Hurricane Ian last year, staff had to evacuate the firehouse. When the new station is built, not only will the crew be able to stay put, but also the station can be set up as a district operations center.

“After an event, particularly a storm, once that passes, we want them to be right up in operations with no delays," said Paul Wren, the deputy chief of East Manatee Fire Rescue. "It also needs to be that place where the community knows they can come and find help 24/7, no matter what the circumstances are. This new facility will give us that capability and provide for a better station situation for the crews that operate out there every day.”

The Board of Fire Commissioners voted unanimously Oct. 16 to approve a contract with Willis Smith Construction to build the new fire station.

The Board of Fire Commissioners voted unanimously on Oct. 16 to approve a contract with Willis Smith Construction to build a new fire station on Wauchula Road.
Courtesy image

The new station will replace the current Station 11 at 10215 Wauchula Road and will be built on the south side of the property.

“Although it still serves its purpose and we’re able to operate, that station is tired," Wren said. "It would take a lot of work to get it up to any kind of real standard. It wasn’t feasible to have a remodel there. It needed to be a complete rebuild, so we’re going to build a nice, brand-new station that will last for a long time.”

Construction is scheduled to begin by Nov. 20 and will take just under a year to complete. The cost is estimated at $5.4 million. Plans for the old station haven’t been decided yet. It could either be sold or demolished, but the board will have to vote on it.

Wren said the current station is “busting at the seams.” While the new station will have four truck bays like the old one, the living quarters will be expanded to accommodate the current crew better and allow for double and triple crews during times of emergency.

“We’re able to pay for a third of it out of impact fees, which essentially means that it’s 33% bigger than what the previous station was,” Wren said. “We’re looking at something very similar to Station 8, which is 10,467 square feet.”

The original 6,489-square-foot Station 11 was built in 1995 when it was a part of the Myakka City Fire Rescue. In 2021, Myakka City merged with East County.

The new Station 11 will look similar to Station 8, which is pictured here and opened in April 2021.
Courtesy image

“We’re not getting too creative out of the box here,” Wren said. “If you’ve seen Station 8, that’s pretty much what the station is going to look like. We’re hitting repeat on it.” 

Station 8 opened in April 2021 in Lakewood Ranch. The updates to Station 11 are part of a five-year plan that was approved in December to rehab and rebuild outdated stations. Station 11 is expected to open in October 2024. 

“It’s hopefully something that excites residents out there, a new firehouse that’s more up-to-date and can withstand all kinds of different situations and emergencies that might occur,” Wren said. “Believe it or not, to this day, there are a lot of drive-up and walk-in types of calls that are initiated out there versus the traditional 911 phone call. I think folks will really appreciate having that more modern addition to what we’re currently operating out there.”



Lesley Dwyer

Lesley Dwyer is a staff writer for East County and a graduate of the University of South Florida. After earning a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing, she freelanced for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Lesley has lived in the Sarasota area for over 25 years.

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