NAPLES, Fla. — After more than 30-years, a new fire station opened its doors at the Naples Airport.
On Tuesday, airport officials celebrated the opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"It replaces a station that was a little over 30-years old and really was due for an upgrade," said Zachary Burch, Communications Manager at Naples Airport.
Airport officials say construction started in 2019, but the new Station No. 3 is the product of years of planning and cooperation between the Naples Airport Authority, City of Naples, and City of Naples Fire-Rescue Department.
“It’s a tremendous improvement over what we had before for the airport, but also the surrounding communities,” said Burch.
The original fire station was built at the northern end of the airport in 1989.
The new Station No. 3, also called the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Station, is now closer to the traffic control tower.
“We can get anywhere in the airport in under two minutes,” said Pete DiMaria, Fire Chief for the City of Naples Fire-Rescue Department.
This is one of three fire stations within the city of Naples, making it an important asset for the Naples Fire-Rescue Department.
“It will also serve as the closest responder to the neighborhoods around the airport; without it, lifesaving emergencies may be 10 or more minutes away,” said Michael Lenhard, Chairman for the Naples Airport Authority.
Especially for people living along North Road.
“This is a regular station that operates like any others, but they have specialty equipment,” said Burch.
This includes a neon green fire truck specially designed for aircraft fires.
“They carry about twice as much water as a regular fire truck because we don’t have hydrants spaced out everywhere."
Burch says the new fire station cost about 5.8 million dollars.
The Florida Department of Transportation funded about 2.7 million, and the Naples Airport Authority funded the rest.
Burch says the city has 27 certified firefighters for the station at the airport, and two firefighters will on at all times.
"These firefighters do all the standard firefighter training that everyone else does for the city, the county, [but] they also go through special training to deal with aircraft issues," said Burch.
The new Station No. 3 has a training room, gym, kitchen, and dorms for the firefighters.
“I’m just amazed; it’s so great to see the facilities, the upgrades in the facilities," said Samuel Cadreau.
Cadreau was the first firefighter assigned to the Naples Airport even before the first fire station was officially built, and he is now retired.
“We have responded off the airport many times too, to different calls, auto accidents, to the marina behind the airport,” said Cadreau.
Officials say the new Station No. 3 was built to withstand a category five hurricane, making it the strongest building at the whole airport, and will serve as an emergency operation center.