The City of Fort Myers Fire Station One is officially open for business. On Monday, December 5, more than 150 residents and city officials celebrated the grand opening of the new fire station at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Fire Station One on Jackson St. in Fort Myers’ Midtown neighborhood. Instead of cutting a ribbon, however, Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson uncoupled a ceremonial fire hose with Ward 4 City Councilman Michael Flanders and other dignitaries.
Mayor Henderson opened the ceremony by reading City Council minutes from December 11, 1950, when the City approved the furnishings for the original Central Fire Station, located near the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Central Ave.
“I’m sure that was a happy day for the council,” said Henderson. “But no more happy than today.”
The celebration comes after 65 years at Fire Station One’s original home, less than two blocks away. The original 18,000 square foot station could not accommodate modern equipment such as the FMFD’s ladder truck, a necessity near downtown high-rise buildings.
“Today is like Christmas,” said Fort Myers Fire Chief Trenton Bowen. “You wait for it, and wait for it. And now it’s finally here.”
The City’s Department of Public Works collaborated with FMFD to create a facility that accomplishes their mutual goals for public safety and community services. The new 30,700-square-foot fire station allows for modern fire apparatus and equipment, and was designed to meet the 2025 projected needs for building space. The new building is equipped with wireless access on every floor, and training rooms are outfitted with interactive SMART boards. The internal radio communication system has been upgraded to ensure that signals are effectively transmitted in the hurricane-proof building.
In addition, there is now room for the Fire Prevention staff to work in the same building, improving efficiency and allowing for continuity and coordination of projects.
But while the new station features updated amenities, tradition is also strongly emphasized. The new Fire Station One features historical FMFD photos, as well as equipment and artifacts, including a life net and a 1926 fire truck on permanent loan from Lee County Mosquito Control. The original 1950s sign from atop the former building has also been moved to the new Fire Station One.
“There’s a lot of pride of tradition here,” adds Chief Bowen. “This new fire station is a new page in our history.”