By Rachel Brown Hackney, SNL
Shortly after 8:30 a.m. on May 14, demolition of Fire Station 13 began next to Siesta Public Beach.
After the rubble has been cleared, construction of a new, two-story, storm-hardened facility will get underway, Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier and Sara Nealeigh, media relations officer for Sarasota County’s Emergency Services Department, pointed out in a Facebook Live chat at the site.
“We’re really excited about the construction starting off,” Regnier said, as heavy equipment in the background awaited its first “bite” at the building that dated to 1974.
Saying he liked to refer to the structure as “she,” Regnier added, “She has served us very well.”
Although weather events and, potentially issues related to the COVID-19 public health emergency, might delay the process, Regnier noted that completion of the new facility is expected in the spring of 2021. “Hopefully,” he emphasized, adding that he did not want to specify which month. “Maybe a little bit after [the spring].”
In the meantime, the firefighters/paramedics assigned to Station 13 are working out of commercial space right next door, at 5700 Midnight Pass Road, which the county rented last year and then modified for that purpose.
The expense of the new Fire Station 13 is approximately $.5.4 million.
“This is a great day for Sarasota,” Regnier added.