NORTH NAPLES, Fla - North Naples neighbors are fighting for a fire station they say is a matter of life and death.
The North Naples Fire District bought the land off Livingston Road in the 1990's. It has sat empty for more than a decade, but fire officials say the area has grown so much, there's a great need for Fire Station 48.
In an emergency, every second matters and for the thousands of homeowners that live along Livingston Road it takes, on average, 12 to 14 minutes for emergency vehicles to respond.
"That is concerning as a parent," says Todd Earhart, a resident in Secoya, a new development off Livingston Road.
Tom Harruff lives in Imperial which stretches three miles from US 41 to Livingston. The closest fire station is more than four miles away.
"Station 48 means life and death to the people that live in the back end of Imperial," says Harruff. "As soon as station 48 is built they will be less than a mile from this gate."
Harruff was involved with getting a back gate put in to Imperial. The hope was to increase response times for the more than 640 homes in Imperial Estates, once Station 48 was built.
Len Joyce, President of the Greater Imperial Board says, "for us it is sorely needed and you might have noted as you drive through. We stretch almost from 41 to Livingston and if you had to have a fire truck come in off 41 it takes 3 miles or more to get to the back of our development."
The residents spent more than a million dollars, but the land along Livingston remains empty.
After years of being put on the back burner, Fire Station 48 is back on the radar. "The construction has started to take off in this area again," says Deputy Chief Sal D'Angelo. "To me it's a win win for not just Collier County but also to help out with Lee also."
With large developments like Mediterra and Talis Park going up as well as three schools on the three mile stretch of Livingston Road, fire officials say the need for a fire station is great.
"We feel having a station here we can cut 4-6 minutes off an average response time," says Assistant Chief of Operations James Cunningham.
Officials estimate the station would cost between $2-$3 million dollars and serve more than a thousand calls a year.
"It's something that's needed for everyone that's in here, something that's meaningful to me, something that's meaningful to all the people that live in Imperial," says Harruff.
Right now, they are currently getting bids from contractors on building this fire station. Ultimately it will be up to fire commissioners to vote on whether or not to build station 48. That vote could come as early as August.