NewsLocal NewsLee County


Construction starts to reopen Iona McGregor Fire station after Ian

Iona Fire Station District 71
Posted at 8:29 PM, Mar 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-06 05:12:46-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Heatherwood Construction Company is working to get the Iona McGregor Fire District Station 71 back up and running after it was damaged by hurricane Ian.

Station No. 71, located at 5401 Winkler Road in Fort Myers, sustained significant water damage throughout the inside building and Heatherwood Construction Company is rebuilding much of the inside, including the kitchen, living area, bunk rooms, exercise and laundry rooms.

"All of their personal belongings were scattered all over the floor, and their beds were just moved around, it was actually quite sad,” said Mario Andre, the superintendent of the project.

A sad sight for him when walking into the station for the first time and seeing the aftermath of Ian.

The damage wasn’t as severe at another station, No. 72, located at 16551 McGregor Blvd., but the building does require a new roof because of the 140 mph winds. Emergency, dry-in work on the roof was completed.

“They are our first responders, and they respond to us first so we need them on the road. We need them to be able to go back into their facility, get in their trucks, and do what they can to save our lives," Andre said.

About two feet of water flowed through Station No. 71, resulting in all the sheetrock, ceilings, and flooring being removed in this design-build project. Part of the reconstruction will include flood panels that will protect the station from up to 6 feet of water.

Help is on the way as the company has started the process of fixing up the station. Andre said when he first spoke with the firefighters, there were understandably upset but happy the process is on the way.

“We asked them what are their needs for the change of time and what’s going to help accommodate them more," Andre said.

Getting everything up and running at Station 71 is the main thing on Andre and his crew's minds. When asked how long will it take to get the station reopened, Andre said that's a great question but unfortunately impossible to answer.

“With today, with the supply and demand issues we are having out there couldn’t possibly tell you," Andre said.

Station No. 71 was originally constructed in 1971 and renovated in 2007. It was the first Iona-McGregor Fire District facility.