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County opens new EMS station in North Fort Myers

March 29, 2018
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer


Lee County held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Trail Dairy EMS Station No. 17, in North Fort Myers Tuesday.

The $750,000, 1,600-square-foot facility at 2900/2910 Trail Dairy Circle will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will serve the communities along U.S. 41 north of the Del Prado Boulevard Extension and Suncoast Estates in North Fort Myers.

Benjamin Abes, Lee County EMS chief, said it's an exciting opportunity for the community because the station returns 24-hour ambulance coverage to the area.

"While this is located in North Fort Myers and will primarily serve the areas north of Del Prado, Sun Coast Estates and areas around Pine Island Road, our ambulances are fluid, so if North Fort Myers or Cape Coral are busy, this ambulance can help cover not only this area, but others as well, he said."

County commissioners Brian Hamman and Cecil Pendergrass and other county and fire officials were on hand for the event that including a ceremonial flag raising, comments from county personnel and, of course, the ribbon cutting.

Guests were also invited to take a tour of the facility, which is right behind the fire station.

"The area north of the river is growing rapidly and it's important for us to keep up with that growth. This allows us to add another ambulance unit to serve the folks who live here," Hamman said.

North Fort Myers Fire Chief David Rice said this project had been in the works for several years and that he was honored to be there for the ceremony.

"We've always had a great relationship with Lee County EMS and worked together to provide the best service possible for the community," Rice said. "There's a great senior living area and it's important to have a unit here 24/7."

The need for ambulance services became evident in the years after the recession when many fire districts had to consolidate their operations, lay off workers and make due with less.

This made for cramped quarters for fire and emergency personnel and didn't allow for around-the-clock EMS services.

"We wanted to expand the station, but it wasn't a good financial move. We donated the land to Lee County and they built the facility. If we need to expand it, I'm told we can do that," said Fire Commissioner Danny Ballard.

The BOCC approved the site plan for the station last summer, and construction began just before Hurricane Irma came in September, which presented many challenges, Hamman said.

"One of the problems we had was drainage. This site used to be under two feet of water so we had to rework all the drainage and fill the site up," Hamman said.

The project still came in on time and on budget.

In 2017, Lee County EMS responded to more than 86,000 emergency incidents and transported nearly 60,000 patients.



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