1. #1
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    Post Monroe County Fla--Fire Chief Seeks to Improve Service with New Station

    KEYSNOTER

    Fire station for full crew remains on hold for Stock Island
    Possible sale of land to city keeps things iffy

    By Alyson Matley amatley@keynoter.com

    The Monroe County Commission has given the city of Key West until the end of the year to come up with the money to buy 7.5 county-owned acres on Stock Island. But waiting to see if the purchase goes through may mean that the island will not have an adequate fire station for two more years.

    "I’d like to have had this problem solved yesterday," said Monroe County Fire Chief Clark Martin. "Stock Island is an area in the county that I have the highest concern about the level of protection. There is a high frequency of calls, and the fact that we can’t sleep a duty crew there 24/7 worries me."

    Right now, Stock Island has a one-man fire station that Martin says is "barely more than a garage." Because of the inadequate facility, a fire official is on duty only during the day. After-hour emergencies are handled through the Big Coppitt Key fire station nearly 10 miles up U.S. 1, as well as by local volunteers.

    When county offices were relocated from the College Road location to downtown Key West, county officials planned to use the property for a fire station, a public works yard, and records storage. However, the Key West Botanical Garden, the last tract of natural tropical hammock in the Key West area, is vying to purchase that land to expand the gardens. The city of Key West has been attempting to find the funding but, in the meantime, some Stock Island residents are anxious for adequate fire protection.

    "The residents of Stock Island would like to see a professional fire station constructed on the county property," said Orin Opperman, president of the Stock Island Business and Homeowners’ Association. "There is no other site that could be up and running in a reasonable time. Mobile homes can burn to the ground in seven minutes."

    Stock Island is home to a large number of mobile-home parks.

    "Trailers are notorious for very rapid fire spread," said Martin. "Another concern is the close proximity of the trailers to one another."

    During negotiations with the city for the sale of the parcel, county officials have agreed to entertain the notion of the city finding another parcel to house the station. However, says Martin, the alternatives presented so far just won’t work.

    "There are a couple of parcels, but they’re either too small or they’re too far off U.S. 1. One was way down Shrimp Road. We’d have to go through neighborhoods to respond."

    County Mayor Dixie Spehar said the county is continuing to look at potential sites for the station. "We are moving forward looking for other properties," she said. "We are not waiting until December to start looking."
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  2. #2
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    Cap: Isn't the Navy Air Sta right there? Automatic mutual aid?

    There seems to be lots of money down there - Big Coppitt and the Central Key West station are very new........

  3. #3
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    Yep....right on the tip at the "southern most point" is a naval station and as far as I know there is one a bit north. Now they may be the same Naval Station with different bases in monroe county. But I do believe there are at least two posts there.

    As far as Mutual Aid/Response goes, I am not sure what is set up there. I do know the new Monroe County Chief and know that where he is from mutual aid/response is very very big and used to its advantage.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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