Florosa replacing old fire station on U.S. 98 with much-needed new facility

Devon Ravine
Northwest Florida Daily News

FLOROSA — The Florosa Fire Control District’s new fire station is taking shape at the northeast corner of U.S. Highway 98 and Casa Loma Drive. Florosa residents signaled their approval of the new station by voting for a millage rate increase for the project in 2018.

Lord and Son Construction started work in March on a new single-story, 7,763-square-foot facility, which will replace the department’s existing Station 5, located about 1 mile to the east at 1900 W. U.S. 98.

“It was inadequate from the day we moved in,” Florosa Fire Chief Mark Lee said of the department’s existing station.

Construction crew members work on the outside of Florosa Fire District's new fire station at the corner of U.S. Highway 98 and West Casa Loma Drive. The station is expected to be completed at the end of January 2022.

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The old station is not storm-hardy, is not big enough to accommodate all the department’s firefighting vehicles and cannot comfortably house its volunteer force. Firefighters who stayed at the station overnight have had to sleep on couches or inflatable mattresses.

The new station will have four vehicle bays and is large enough to accommodate Florosa’s two fire engines, one ladder truck, one squad rescue vehicle and an older model fire engine that the department keeps in reserve. As a point of reference, Florosa Deputy Chief Brad Williams said the entire old station could fit inside the new station’s vehicle bay.

In addition, the building is designed to withstand winds of at least 155 mph and will be equipped with a natural gas generator to allow it to continue operations and also be used as an emergency command post in case a major storm hits the area.

The Florosa Fire Control District's new station is taking shape at the corner of U.S. Highway 98 and West Casa Loma Drive.

Flanking the vehicle bay on the east will be sleeping quarters, a day room and a kitchen for the firefighters. On the west side of the engine bay will be administrative offices and a conference training room that also will be open as a meeting room to the public.

The Florosa Fire Control District extends from Hurlburt Field's main gate west to the Santa Rosa County line, including about seven miles of some of the busiest stretches of U.S. 98.

“Our whole highway is high speed,” Williams said. “We get lot of (vehicle accident) extrications.”

The station is expected to be completed near the end of January 2022, with a move-in date in February.  Also in the project design is emergency lighting over U.S. 98 near the station to help fire department vehicles respond to traffic accidents without becoming involved in one.

“We still look left and right, even if we have a green light,” Williams noted.