TAMPA, Fla. — The City of Tampa is now just weeks away from opening a new fire station in North Tampa, where the high volume of 911 calls spurred city leaders to invest millions in improving public safety in the area.
Tuesday morning, Tampa Fire Rescue Chief Barbara Tripp will join Tampa City Councilman Luis Viera and others for a tour of the building that will soon house the new fire station. The building on East Fairbanks Street was the home of a former fire station and is currently being renovated to serve in that capacity again.
“You can’t put Band-Aids on something that is a mortal wound. You have to do something bigger, and the surgery required in this situation is a new station — an additional station," said Viera. “Public safety should be number one in our city and this is a wise investment in our tax dollars.”
Currently, the vast, growing area is served by Tampa Fire Rescue's Station 13. As ABC Action News has reported in the past, the station near USF and Busch Gardens covers a large area and has an even bigger call volume. In fact, its call volume is the biggest in the City of Tampa and one of the biggest in the entire nation.
The city budget allotted roughly $5 million to improve fire protection in New and North Tampa. A roughly $3.4 million portion of that funding will help create and staff the new Station 25, which is located just a few miles from the busy Station 13.
“We are excited to see the progress happening in Station 25,” Chief Barbara Tripp said, in part, in a statement. “This new station will allow us to continue to shorten our response times in a fast-growing area of Tampa.”
Council also funded building upgrades to Station 21 in New Tampa and a heavy-duty rescue vehicle for that station. It also set aside $880,000 “to begin on Fire Station 24,” which will service New Tampa.
"It’s a day to be thankful of the additional assistance that the City of Tampa’s giving us," said Viera.
Right now, the city still must complete a lengthy list of renovations before the new Station 25 building on E. Fairbanks St. can be operational. However, according to the city, it should be up and running in Jan. 2022.
Once it's complete, the new station will operate solely as a rescue station, which means firefighter-paramedics assigned to the station will only use ambulances to respond to medical emergencies. The city says this is a critical addition since 85% of the 911 calls in the area are medical in nature.