TAMPA — Fire Station 13 sits in the shadow of SheiKra, the towering roller coaster at Busch Gardens.
The station gets more calls for service than anywhere else in Tampa.
It's so busy city councilman Luis Vera says it’s earned the nickname 'Nightmare on Annie Street' because if you work here, don’t plan on getting much sleep.
“It’s a running joke, but the truth is they shouldn’t have Freddy Kruger as their mascot because people know that if you work here, you are going to be overworked,:" said Viera.
Station 13 is actually one of the busiest fire stations in the nation with more than 10,000 service calls a year. It also covers a lot of ground.
“It’s way too much. You are talking about the communities off Fowler Avenue, the University area, Busch Boulevard. Sulpher Springs, etc," said Viera. And up until now, the firefighters here only had one engine to work with. Now they have another one that will help with the workload.
But Viera says a whole new fire station is what’s really needed.
In fact, he says Tampa needs three more to keep up with growth in places like Channelside, North Tampa, and New Tampa.
“It’s a necessity for all of our areas. All people, whether you are Republican, Democrat, or independent generally agree that public safety is the number one issue for our city," said Viera. A new fire station costs about $5-million. But in the meantime, those who work at 13 may not sleep much, but they are still proud to serve.
“They do want to be here. They love being here. They do enjoy being here. I enjoyed being here as a district chief at the time," said Tampa Fire Department interim operations chief, Tony Perez.
Viera says he’ll be asking his fellow commissioners to find the money to pay for all the public safety upgrades he says are so badly needed.