New firehouse will better serve downtown Naples in emergencies

From the outside, it is hard to perceive a downtown Naples building as a firehouse. But inside, firefighters have all the equipment they need to respond to emergencies in the area.

At first glance, the building is a modern take on a firehouse. But everything on the inside and the outside can withstand a Category 5 hurricane, which the fire chief told WINK News is critical to serving the community.

Eighteen months of demolition, rebuilding and $9.5 million later. The city of Naples fire station is getting its final touches. Nancy Hung lives next door and she said she had been a first-hand witness to the progress. She is elated to see the new doors opened for service.

“It’s nice, it really is,” said Hung, a Naples homeowner. “Whenever we see them out on the road there are our boys.”

Boxes after boxes stacked and being moved in is a little extra labor for the firefighters.

Crews are making safety checks on the windows. The grand opening is May 22. The fire department invites everyone to come by as dignitaries and county officials will have the first look inside with a tour. Then, the public will be allowed to look inside.

The new firehouse has all department administration housed under the roof, which makes it easier to respond to emergencies. Especially now that the hurricane season preparations are underway.

“Previously, if we had to evacuate this area we would be miles away,” said Pete Dimaria, chief of the City of Naples Fire Department, “and would have to try and fight our way back into the city to provide service to the people in the community that need us to most.”

Now, that will be a thing of the past, which gives Katie Wuerchek a sense of comfort as she works across the street and has seen the transformation, too. It is a structure that she said our first responders deserve.

“We need them to be able to get out when those things happen especially,” said Wuerchek, who also lives in Naples. “It’s a great thing for them to have that space have a belt and probably in perfect timing now.”

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