The vision of two innovative fire chiefs for a joint public safety venture will come to fruition Wednesday, July 6, at 10:30 a.m. as officials from Volusia and Flagler counties celebrate the opening of Halifax Plantation Fire Station 16, 3935 Old Dixie Hwy., Ormond Beach.

The Volusia County Council and Flagler County Commissioners invite the public to celebrate the opening. Firefighters will offer tours, demonstrations, and activities for the entire family from 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Activities include a visit from fire clowns and Freddy, the Fire Truck, and the opportunity for children to go through the Volusia County Fire Services safety trailer, where they can learn about potential fire hazards and how to respond when faced with life-threatening situations.

The 5,000-square-foot station, built by Volusia County for $1 million and staffed by Flagler County, is a win-win for the two counties, according to Volusia County Chair Frank Bruno.
"This is an example of the counties working together to improve public safety and stretch tax dollars," Bruno said. "The station includes an advanced life support ambulance staffed by paramedics and a 1,000 gallon-a-minute fire engine."

"This joint effort will save taxpayers in both counties by eliminating the duplication of services to the area," said Volusia County Fire Services Chief James Tauber. "We are very pleased with this partnership and the value it will provide in better response times to people in need and the positive effect on homeowner insurance rates in the area for our residents."

Tauber and Flagler County Director of Emergency Services Doug Wright have spent the past year working out details to make the construction and operation of the two-county station as seamless as possible.

Cooperation between the two counties was "refreshing," Tauber said. "From the beginning, we focused on what would be best for the residents in the area."

"This is a unique situation," said Wright. "To my knowledge, we are the only two counties in the state cooperating to this extent.''

The new station will provide fire rescue and advanced life support to the Halifax Plantation, Plantation Bay and Sugar Mill Plantation developments and the homes along Old Kings Road and John Anderson Highway in both counties. It will serve as a backup station for Ormond-by-the-Sea. Flagler County plans to pave a road along the power lines that cross Old Dixie Highway to give station crews direct access to the Seminole Woods neighborhood in Palm Coast.