NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodCape Coral

Actions

Rare donation from Bonita Springs fuels future firefighting careers at Ida Baker

"The fire service as a whole in the state of Florida is having problems with recruitment and retention," said Bonita Springs Fire Chief Greg DeWitt.
Posted at 4:51 PM, Apr 22, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla — A rare donation from the city of Bonita Springs poured fuel on future firefighting careers at Ida Baker High School, Monday.

That's when the Bonita Springs Fire Department donated a 2004 Pierce Quantum Pumper to the school's Fire Fighting Academy. They beleive it will provide a richer hands-on experience for students in the early stages of their firefighting education.

"This is actually unbelievable," said Chase Barnhill, a student who has been taking fire safety courses for two years.

"We'll have plenty of time to be hands-on with this thing and do all kinds of tricks and toys and play with everything on it," he added.

Bonita Springs Ida Baker High School Cape Coral fire truck donation
Student Chase Barnhill talked about what having their own fire truck means for the fire fighting academy at Ida Baker High School in Cape Coral.

The Lee County School District praised the donation, emphasizing how it will offer unique training opportunities for students increasingly interested in the career path.

"This is going to give the students that hands-on experience that no other student in the county can get because they have a fire truck on campus," Spicker said.

With 45 students enrolled, Ida Baker is one of three schools in the county with fire fighting academies.

Fire Fighting Academy Ida Baker HS Cape Coral Bonita Springs fire truck donation
Students with the Fire Fighting Academy at Ida Baker High School in Cape Coral were thrilled to receive a working fire truck donated from the Bonita Springs Fire Department on Monday, April 22.

"The fire service as a whole in the state of Florida is having problems with recruitment and retention," said Bonita Springs Fire Chief Greg DeWitt.

While the truck could have been sold for upward of $30,000, the fire department hopes the donation will inspire students to serve their communities.

Fire Chief DeWitt Bonita Springs
Fire Chief DeWitt of Bonita Springs told Fox 4 his department's donated fire truck will help ensure there will be future firefighters to protect and serve communities around Southwest Florida.

"So hopefully these kids will get that pride and ownership, the community involvement, community sense of giving back," DeWitt said.

DeWitt hopes this will keep students on a path to serve in the Lee County area as opposed to moving out to place like Tampa or Miami.

He added, "All we have is our good names as a fire department so the most we can for the community the better".