Fire Station 16 Now Serving East Tallahassee
By Andrew J. Mitchell, Jr.
East Tallahassee will be glad to know that after almost a decade of planning, the city’s nearly $3 million Fire Station 16 is now open.
The opening of the city’s first new fire station in 14 years had more than 100 in attendance, including Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee Fire Department Chief Jerome Gaines and other proud city officials who were all smiles at the opening.
It started with a pipes and drums introduction from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department’s band, which performed an honorable declaration as the TFD officers raised the American flag where people from all ages joined to witness.
After a few remarks, the crowd and officials went inside the firehouse garage and officially announced the newest addition to the city’s eastside.
The three-story firehouse is not just beneficial to the public, but is also a greenhouse-certified building. The 11,000 square foot station is located on Easterwood Drive, in the area of Tom Brown Park.
Time-efficient garage doors are said to be the most remarkable feature in the firehouse. The doors will allow firefighters to reduce response times for residents living in the area by three times the average amount.
That response-time can even help homeowners in the long run with their insurance. City manager Anita Favors-Thompson said the project would contribute to the community.
“We know with the faster response time, having a station located in this particular area – a number of people who live in this area will receive reduced homeowner insurance costs,” Favors-Thompson said. “So that is one of the benefits immediately to the people who live in this area.”
The project was in the making for years and was made final last year when RAM Construction won the job from a pool of contractors the city was considering.
Heath Annin is the president and one of the owners of the company. He said he is proud of the year-long work that produced the firehouse.
“Just a great project to be a part of because it’s right next to the city aid that has just been completed,” Annin said. “We matched the finishes and the look. We even had some of the same sub-contractors that were on that project. Both buildings are linked together back and forth with electronics to the joint dispatch. Allowing responses to be cut in half the time on this side of town. So I’m very happy with it because I live on this side of town.”
All firefighters of the new station were in attendance, including Fire Station 16 captain Troy Anzalone who made a surprise appearance when he slid down the fire pole during the morning’s opening.
Fire Station 16 spokesmen Mike Bellamy said one of his favorite aspects of the firehouse is the eight-second time-saving technology.
“These doors are up as soon as this fire truck goes into gear,” Bellamy said. “And for a mom or dad to know that we are coming and we’re going to turn the corner to their street five or 10 seconds to 15 seconds sooner. That is everything because that is a long time in a mind of a parent who is waiting for help to arrive. So these doors are really an important part to this station.”