The staff at the Wimauma Fire Station at 1120 7th St. in Wimauma have been saving lives since 1978.
The new fire station No. 22 is replacing the 38-year-old Wimauma station, and predictions are that it will be operational by fall.
The state-of-the-art fire/rescue building will be located at the intersection of S.R. 674 and C.R. 579 in Wimauma, a rural area that is now showing more and more growth, said Tom Iovino, the fire-rescue public relations strategist.
The old Wimauma station responded to more than 935 calls last year.
Looking at the progress of the new structure, people would never guess that the permit was just granted by Hillsborough County this past Jan. 27, because the building is already well under way.
The new 9,000-square-foot station will have three bays, and is being constructed to house a future ladder truck when need increases for one in that area, said Michelle Van Dyke, of the public relations staff.
The new fire station also has 11 dorm rooms that will enable the facility to bring in additional personnel and emergency vehicles as the area grows.
Construction costs for the new station are approximately $2.7 million. Funding has come through impact fees and the Public Safety Improvement Bond Project Funds.
“We’re excited to be building this new station right on S.R. 674 at C.R. 579,” said Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones. “Crews will have great access all the way east to the county line, west back to I-75, and quick access to Highway 39, which runs north and south.”
The new station is strategically placed close to major thoroughfares, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue officials. Under mutual aid agreements, crews will respond to calls if requested by Manatee County, since the new station is so close to the county line.
“The area served by Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Station No. 22 is projected to be one of the fastest-growing areas of the county over the next 25 years,” Jones said. “The new building will provide modern living and working quarters for our crews who call it home 24 hours a day.”
The staffing is four per shift (each shift is 24 hours – there are three shifts). The station is equipped with an engine and a water tanker.
The total calls for service in all of Hillsborough County average more than 80,000 each year.
The fire/rescue service provides fire prevention and emergency medical services as well as putting out fires. It has served the entire unincorporated area of the county since beginning as an all-volunteer force in the 1950s.
Since hiring its first full-time career firefighters in 1978, the department has steadily evolved into one of the largest, most progressive departments in the state, Jones added.
The county’s fire/rescue maintains 42 fire and one rescue station, and equips more than 980 career firefighters, paramedics and staff in addition to about 160 reserve responders.
Hillsborough County fire/rescue also provides fire prevention inspections, fire investigations, fire safety programs and safety training for the public.
For more information, go to www.hillsbroughcounty.org and click under fire/rescue.