Lakewood Ranch Herald

Fire departments building new stations

MANATEE — Increasing space, improving emergency response time and constructing structures that can withstand 140 mph winds were among the reasons for some local fire departments to construct new stations.

There are three fire stations that remain under construction, and all should be open by early next year, according to local fire officials.

East Manatee Fire Rescue is constructing a new main station that will improve response times to some subdivisions in East Manatee, said East Manatee Fire Deputy Chief Lee Whitehurst.

“The location is probably one of the biggest things for us with the roads that have opened up in the past few years,” he said.

The station will also provide back up for its Rye Road station, Whitehurst said.

“Whenever they have a fire because they are so far out, their backup takes a while to get there. This location will cut that time in half,” he said.

Two of the fire departments — Southern Manatee Fire Rescue and Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue — will replace older buildings that are unable to withstand hurricane force winds.

Southern Manatee Fire Rescue Chief Foster Gover stated the current station is more than 30 years old and is made of metal making it substandard during inclement weather.

The new station, “will be a state of the art facility. We’re putting in all energy efficient equipment,” he said.

The projects include the following:

n East Manatee Fire Rescue Main Station, 3220 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch. The project costs just over $2 million and includes 14,316 square feet. The main station will back up five other satellite stations and will improve response times to communities such as Waterlefe, Whitehurst said. The building is scheduled for completion by October and will be able to hold up to three crews each containing four people as well as a battalion chief. The building is constructed to withstand a hurricane.

n Cedar Hammock Fire Station, 7415 N. Tamiami Trail, Bradenton.

The estimated $1.3 million project will replace an old volunteer station with a new 5,300-square-foot facility that will weather hurricanes, according to Fire Chief Randy Stulce. It will also include an emergency generator. The station is slated to open by September and is designed to house four firefighters and two paramedics for a total of six people.

n Southern Manatee Fire Station No. 3, 7611 Prospect Road, Sarasota.

The estimated $1.5 million project includes the construction of a 7,600-square-foot station that will have increased space and fuel storage capabilities for the entire department with a 10,000-gallon above ground tank. The building will be able to withstand hurricane winds.

The station will be able to house four firefighters and three paramedics for a total of seven people. The project is scheduled for completion by February.