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Tampa Fire Rescue makes plea for more stations as city continues to grow

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Posted at 4:23 PM, Mar 25, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Fire Rescue just added an engine to its busiest station, right next to Busch Gardens.

But Thursday, firefighter Joe Greco, who is also the union head, told city council members the department is way behind in keeping up with growth.

“I’m tired of talking. Let’s get some work done. Stop consulting and address the problems that we have," said Greco.

One area Greco focused on is Channelside.

New condo high rises are going up as part of the Water Street project, and they’ll house about 4,000 new residents. But the area does not have its own fire station.

“You can just open your eyes and look at that skyline when you are traveling west on I-4 and look at where it starts now at 22nd street all the way downtown. That’s all new construction that should have been handled by the previous administration and forced to put a fire station there. Not asked. Forced," said Greco.

Greco says along with Channelside, the city needs fire stations on Waters Ave. near the Greyhound track and North Tampa to help other overturned stations and lagging response times.

Commissioners all seem to agree on the importance of public safety, but the city will have to come up with $32 million to pay for what fire rescue says it needs.

“We're gonna have to have new trucks, new personnel, new stations. How do we explain to our constituents that it’s going to cost money," asked Commissioner Joseph Citro.

“Public safety is number one for a city municipality. It’s got to be the thing a city is known for. Hank Aaron is known for hitting home runs. The city of Tampa’s gotta be known for public safety," said Commissioner Luis Viera.

Officials say the city of Tampa gets 1.1 million calls to 911 every year, and that number will only grow.

The city council will now await the proposed budget from the mayor’s office.