The grand opening of Fire Station 23 at 1800 Hicks Ditch Road is set for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.
It’s been “about 26 years they’ve been trying to build this station,” fire Chief Rex Winn said. “It feels good. It feels real good. My whole career we’ve been trying to do this.”
The city’s second station — part of Lake’s fire-station numbering system — has been up and running with firefighter/EMTs trained to handle fire and advanced-life-support situations 24/7 since Oct. 7.
The ceremony will include the uncoupling of hoses as well as brief talks by city commissioners and former fire chiefs. In addition to the open house, Winn said there’s a good chance that the air-care helicopter will land behind the station, which sits on 2.5 acres.
The 1,850 square feet of living space includes three bedrooms, a kitchen area and two bathrooms. The 1,600-square-foot vehicle bay houses the advance-life-support engine and a brush truck.
Winn said the cost of the structure came in at $350,000, thanks to savings by doing some work in house.
“The city crew has been able to do site work, paving and prep work for the building. We’re kind of proud of the work.”
Winn said the station will serve north Eustis to include a few mobile-home parks, the Bates Avenue area, shopping centers at State Road 19 and County Road 44, the fairgrounds and the Grand Island area, which is about a third of the city’s 19,000 residents.
“We were already running these calls from the other station,” he said. “The manpower and trucks were just moved from the [other] station.”
Winn said the fire department runs about 4,000 calls per year. Before Oct. 7, calls were run out of Fire Station 22, 100 W. Norton Ave. Response times on the average have been one to 10 minutes, the latter for non-emergency calls.
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