Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tarpon Springs to open third fire station Oct. 1

TARPON SPRINGS — Fire Chief Richard Butcher has heard talk of adding a new fire station north of the Anclote River since he joined the department in 1978.

Thirty-six years later, city commissioners moved forward with plans to open Station 71 on Oct. 1.

For years, Fire Rescue has responded too slowly to emergency calls in that area, Butcher said. Only two bridges in town cross the Anclote, so traffic means it often takes 12 or 13 minutes for firefighters to arrive at a scene. That's well above the 7½-minute average the city must maintain for 90 percent of calls.

"Every single study came out with the fact that we needed to add that station on the north end of town for that response issue," Butcher told commissioners Tuesday.

Mayor David Archie said in addition to improving public safety, the new station could boost development in the area, which is a mix of residences and industry.

"It helps the city as a whole, which means we can continue to hold down the tax rate," he said.

The majority of the construction of the $210,000 temporary station is funded by Penny for Pinellas money, with the rest coming from the city's fire impact fund, according to Ron Harring, the city's assistant finance director.

Nine firefighters — three each shift — will be stationed at the 1600 L and R Industrial Blvd. facility next to the reverse osmosis water plant. When the city bought land for the plant a few years ago, Butcher hoped to open a station on the same property.

"I saw a little crack and stuck my foot in it to keep the door open, and we kind of worked it out," he said. "They finally said we have some space out there."

Until construction on the plant wraps, the station will have a temporary garage for the advanced life support engine and a separate modular home for employees. The city will then build a permanent facility on the same land.

To adhere to county rules, the commission voted unanimously to promote three to-be-named paramedics to lieutenants, one for each of the station's three shifts. The cost increase for the city depends on which employees Butcher selects, but would amount to thousands of dollars in raises.

No new personnel will be hired, Butcher said, though he quipped to the commission that he could use a bigger staff.

"I can fit six on an engine, believe me," he said. "If you folks will fund it, I will do it. I promise you."

Tarpon's busiest station, on S Huey Avenue, won't be affected by the new station opening, Butcher said. It currently runs two of the city's three engines, but one is already designated to respond to emergencies north of the Anclote. The Gulf Road station shouldn't be impacted either, he said.

The only change come Oct. 1 is that engine and the firefighters who staff it will be much closer to the people they serve.

"Having a unit on the north end of town increases our ability for the first responders to render whatever aid we're called out to do," Butcher said. "We're able to provide a better service."

Contact Julie Kliegman at jkliegman@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4159. Follow @jmkliegman.

Tarpon Springs to open third fire station Oct. 1 08/21/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2014 1:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Two Kissimmee police officers shot to death

    News

    KISSIMMEE — Two police officers were shot dead in Kissimmee Friday night, Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of WESH.com
  2. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  4. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.
  5. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire

    Criminal

    PORT RICHEY

    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body.