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Monday, Mar 30, 2015

County to speed up fire station plans


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BROOKSVILLE - It now takes as long as 17-18 minutes for an ambulance or fire engine to reach people who live in the area of Spring Lake Highway and Hayman Road.

That's nearly three times the industry standard for response times.

Emergency crews are dispatched from either the airport fire station or the facility at Mondon Hill Road, which are both beyond a 5-mile radius.

County officials agree that a new fire station is needed to service the people who live in that neighborhood, but none is planned anytime soon.

"We don't foresee any construction of an actual station taking place until fiscal year 2017-18," Fire Rescue Services Chief Michael Rampino told commissioners Tuesday.

Commissioners said it is not a situation that can continue that long and directed staff to expedite construction.

"The sooner the better," County Commission Chairman Dave Russell said.

Commissioner Jim Adkins said it's "a long way to that part of the county."

Rampino said he has identified nine parcels in the affected area, which is expected to grow in population with the future development of Hickory Hills, a planned 1,750-home subdivision in Spring Lake.

Assistant county attorney Shaun Amarnani plans to vet the properties and negotiate prices for the new Station 25.

Rampino said he is pleased commissioners want to speed up the project. If the process were to begin today, it could take 18 months to two years to purchase the property, go out to bid, design the fires station and build it, he said.

Once built, Rampino said the station would be equipped with an advanced life support engine and Spring Lake would receive fire and medical attention more quickly.

Rampino said the industry standard for response times is under six minutes and firefighters try to attain that goal at least 90 percent of the time.

(352) 544-5290

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