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Lehigh Acres Fire District officially breaks ground for Station 106

By MELISSA BILL - | Jan 22, 2021

Lieutenant Jeromy Vandermuelen, Firefighter Nicholas Classetti, Commissioner Melissa Barry, Engineer Kevin Martin, Commissioner Robert Bennett, Chief Robert DiLallo, Commissioner Lucia Sherman, Captain Anthony Rocco, Deputy Chief Rodolfo Naranjo, Division Chief Oreste Borrego, Lieutenant James Edinger, Assistant Chief Ken Bennett. PHOTO PROVIDED

news@breezenewspapers.com

The Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District has taken the first symbolic step to kick off construction of the community’s next fire station, breaking ground at the site for Station 106.

The day marked another step closer for the districts’ pursuit of finally having its sixth fire station up and going to serve the residents of Lehigh.

LAFCRD Chief Officers, Commissioners, and firefighters joined members of Wright Construction for the celebratory groundbreaking at the site on Jan. 14. Station 106 is located in the northwest section of the district on Sunshine Boulevard, between 48th and 49th Street West. The station’s projected completion date is early 2022 and its design will serve as a prototype for future stations.

According to Lehigh Acres Fire District Chief Robert DiLallo, station 106 was a long-time goal that’s finally come to fruition.

“We are excited about the building of this station. It’s been a long time coming. This was one of my first priorities when I became chief back in 2017. We are happy to be able to provide a higher level of service to that area of Lehigh Acres. Having the station open up in that location will change the response times not only to that area but throughout the district,” DiLallo said.

Due to the immediate need for improved response times in that area of the district, firefighters will move onto the site as early as March 2021 and will be temporarily housed in a FEMA trailer previously used post-Irma to house the crew at Station 101 on Joel Boulevard.

“Station 106 site development is already in the works and they’re putting in drainage and base rock in preparation of the temporary trainer, which we will be moving over from the site of station 101 on Joel Boulevard. This trailer will provide a place to house our crews while the station is being built,” DiLallo said.

The LAFCRD also successfully applied for a Department of Homeland Security’s Fiscal Year 2019 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant in 2020, which is currently funding the salary and benefits for the 21 new firefighter positions created by this additional station. The last class of new recruits hired due to the funding of this grant begin in February.

“We started hiring staff for station 106 in waves. There is a total of three different waves of hires, which allows us to pay close attention to each employee and assure they get the proper training. Each one will receive a three-week orientation and then begin to go out on our truck for a shift to see how we operate,” DiLallo said. “We will be assigning some of our more experienced lieutenants, engineers and paramedics to station 106. We’ve also had some recent promotions and organization changes.”

The opening of the sixth fire station will improve response times to fire control and rescue calls and improve service across the entire district. Over the past 10 years the fire district has experienced significant growth in population, without adding any additional fire stations. During this same timeframe, the district has experienced over a 46 percent increase in call volume. In just the last two years, the district experienced a 9 percent increase in calls, from 12,152 in 2019 to 13,275 in 2020.

Other recent construction progress announced by the fire district includes the finalization of a Development Order to start construction of Station 102, located on Homestead Road.

According to Chief DiLallo, LAFCRD will plan an official ground breaking for the station 102 site, but will keep the ceremony very small and be considerate of COVID-19 safety guidelines.

For more information on the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District visit www.lehighfd.com.