Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Temporary Fire Station to Be in County Building

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Temporary Fire Station to Be in County Building

Article excerpt

Byline: Amelia A. Hart, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Nassau County commissioners have gone to Plan B in their efforts to find a temporary home for county firefighters and paramedics in Hilliard.

Commissioners on Wednesday approved spending up to $5,000 to renovate an unused portion of a county building in Hilliard to become a temporary fire station until a new one is built. That decision derails plans to expand the Nassau County Department of Health clinic in the same building.

Nassau County Fire Rescue personnel assigned to Station 40 in Hilliard are based in a dilapidated and cramped single-wide mobile home on county property behind the Hilliard Airpark on Eastwood Road.

Nassau County commissioners gave the OK on Nov. 25 to house them temporarily at nearby apartment complex. Nassau County Emergency Services Director Tom Kochheiser welcomed the decision to get the firefighters and paramedics out of the mobile home, which has served as Station 40 for 15 years.

"The trailer's old, it's falling apart," Kochheiser said. "You've got four people in there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, much more so than a regular family of four. It's gotten to a state where it's no longer advantageous to put any money into it."

But the apartment complex's owners decided they didn't want a fire station based at their complex, leaving county officials looking for alternatives.

County Coordinator Walter Gossett told commissioners Wednesday that the county building at Third and Pecan streets in Hilliard was the quickest and best solution to the problem.

"It's an existing county building, it's the closest to where we're located now, and it has easy access to U.S. 1 for response times," Gossett said. "It's the best thing to do on a temporary basis."

Officials estimate there are about 1,100 square feet available in the county building, including three bathrooms and a shower. County Director of Building Maintenance Daniel Salmon said he could do the needed renovations for less than the county would have spent to rent the apartment for seven months. …

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