Southwest Lakeland gets temporary fire station - WFLA News Channel 8

Southwest Lakeland gets temporary fire station

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LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

The response time to emergencies for firefighters working in the southwest part of Lakeland just got a whole lot better. A new fire engine and temporary fire station are helping slash those response times in half.


"This area here has not had a fire station and needed one for a number of years now, and we're able to cut our response time now from probably 10 to 12 minutes down to now 5 or 6 minutes in this area," said Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard.

At a press conference this morning city officials unveiled Engine 71, Lakeland's newest piece of firefighting equipment. It will be housed at a temporary facility on Lakeland Linder Airport property.  

The need for a fire station in the southwest part of Lakeland took on more urgent importance back in February of 2012 when a house burnt to the ground in the Carillon Lakes subdivision. Residents that day watched helplessly waiting 12 agonizing minutes for the closest firefighters to arrive. 

Fast forward to the new temporary station and Engine 71's very first call for service to Geico Insurance took just seven minutes from dispatch to arrival according to officials. 

"That's significant in that person's life and in those in this particular area, and I'm just elated to know that we're able now to provide good service to the citizens of Lakeland," explained Chief Ballard.

Pamela Damewood, the president of Carillon Lakes' homeowners association, was one of dozens of residents who petitioned city leaders to expedite plans for a new southwest fire station, and she says a new engine in temporary digs is a great first step.  

"You just can't put it into words. You just feel a lot safer and protected, and you feel like you don't mind paying your taxes now. You don't mind paying for these services because you have them," Damewood said. 

Lakeland's temporary fire station houses Engine 71 and six personnel who work 24 hour rotations. They share a space with the airport's Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting unit. 

A permanent Station 7 is set to be completed summer 2014 and will ultimately house 10 firefighting personnel. 

 

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