St. Petersburg Times

Fire crews may live in trailer
Fire commissioners say a double-wide would provide living space during the renovation of two stations and the construction of a third.
By MARY SPICUZZA
Published September 16, 2005

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SPRING HILL - Local firefighters may be coming soon to a double-wide trailer near you.

At the Spring Hill Fire Rescue board meeting on Wednesday, fire commissioners discussed the purchase of a manufactured home to house its crews during repairs to several of its fire stations.

"We feel we've exhausted every other option," fire Chief J.J. Morrison told the commissioners.

The temporary home being considered is a three-bedroom model which could house at least five adults, which is the current minimum-staffing requirement for the district, Assistant Chief Bill Davies said.

Both Station 2 and Station 3 are scheduled to be renovated, beginning with Station 3 as early as November, Davies said.

The initial cost estimate for Station 3 was about $500,000, but costs are expected to increase, Morrison said.

Estimates for Station 2 were not readily available Thursday. The district also discussed using the trailer during the construction of Station 5.

Spring Hill had considered several other options, including renting space in strip mall stores.

"Rent wasn't that bad, but parking was a concern," Davies said.

The district decided against the idea of packing firetrucks, ambulances, and firefighters' personal cars in strip mall parking lots.

Still, some commissioners voiced concern about the modular home plan.

"The trailer we got for Station 3 before, it smelled," fire Commissioner Gene Panozzo said. "God, it smelled."

But others assured him this trailer would be a new, not a used, model.

Despite Panozzo's reservations, Davies is now looking at various models of trailers and reviewing legal requirements for firefighter housing.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Mary Spicuzza can be reached at mspicuzza@sptimes.com or 352 848-1432.