Soaring FishHawk Gets Fire Rescue Station
A growing population puts pressure on Hillsborough County emergency responders and paramedics to keep up their top-notch level of service.
Completion of the County's first new fire rescue station in a dozen years, Station 44 in the FishHawk Ranch community, is a huge help. The 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility opened in early March, and a grand opening ceremony took place April 5.
Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones said the demand for new facilities and personnel is spurred by "astronomical growth," much of it in south Hillsborough. Since 2006, when the last new fire station opened, annual calls for emergency service throughout the county have gone from about 80,000 to more than 109,000 last year.
Station 44, at 13601 FishHawk Blvd., is staffed continuously with crews of nine firefighters and paramedics. It has three vehicle bays, a new fire engine, a refueling facility, modern living quarters, and a "safe room" designed to withstand the strongest hurricane winds, among other features.
Impact fees, general revenue funds, and public safety improvement bonds paid for the $2.9 million building and accessories.
Lucas Martinez, vice president of FishHawk Trails Homeowners Association, spoke at the grand opening ceremony. He praised first responders who "help us when we need help the most." Chief Jones and Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White, whose district includes the FishHawk area, also addressed the gathering.
Children from FishHawk Kids 'R' Kids Learning Academy wrapped up the ceremony with songs. Visitors then toured the new station.
Battalion Chief Ronnie Johnson, who oversees seven stations in east Hillsborough, said the addition of Fire Rescue Station 44 enables the County to meet its goal of responding quickly to emergencies. Crews at the new station answer calls in FishHawk and Lithia, as well as neighboring communities.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue has 43 fire stations and one rescue facility. There are 1,046 firefighters, paramedics, and staffers, along with about 160 reserve responders.