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Cape Coral fire station No. 9 officially open for business

By Staff | Mar 22, 2008

Friday marked the official dedication and opening of Pelican Fire Station No. 9 in the southwest Cape, the Cape Coral Fire Department’s newest addition.

The $4.9 million project, located at 4107 Pelican Boulevard near the Pelican soccer and softball fields, was completed on Feb. 26, exactly one year after construction began.

The dedication was open to the public and took place at 1 p.m. A number of public officials attended the event including Cape Coral Fire Chief Bill Van Helden, Police Chief Rob Petrovich and Mayor Eric Feichthaler.

“This is the community’s fire station, this is not my fire station,” said Van Helden, who attended the ceremony with his wife and four boys.

The chief cited the importance of having a fire station in the southwest Cape to improve response times to high rise buildings in the area, and of concern for a large amount of construction nearby.

Following a traditional rising of the flag by Cape Coral Fire Rescue Honor Guard members, city officials were given the opportunity to cut a ribbon of police tape to commemorate the new station.

Among those cutting the tape were Feichthaler, Councilmember Dolores Bertolini, Councilmember Tim Day, Councilmember Pete Brandt, City Manager Terry Stewart, Project Manager Oliver Clarke, Project Manager Tammy Kaminski and several others.

Feichthaler later spoke as did several others including Bertolini, Stewart and Division Chief Thomas Tomich.

“This is the most professional, most caring and most daring fire department,” said Feichthaler.

Stewart dedicated the station to the community.

The two-story, 14,798- square-foot building is set to quarter 11 fire fighters, with six calling Station 9 home on Friday following the opening ceremony.

“It’s a nice area,” said Station 4 transfer Matt Sudol. “It’ll serve the public good. It’s in a good position, it’ll serve everybody.”

Sudol has been with the department for three years and became a state-certified paramedic in August of 2007.

He said it was exciting to work at the new station, the city’s first with a traditional fire pole.

Aside from the slick new fire pole, the building also boasts an impressively resilient construction, able to withstand category 5 hurricane winds.

Van Helden told event attendees Friday that older stations were evacuated during hurricane Charlie, a process they don’t plan on repeating.

Tomich, a 31-year employee of the Cape Coral Fire Department, helped plan the opening and dedication of Station 9.

“This station fills a gap between stations 1 and 6 that is very important to us,” said Tomich, stressing the importance of response times to high rise buildings in Tarpon Point and homes within the surrounding neighborhood.

He said response times are longer to high rises because fire fighters must arrive at ground level and then traverse to various stories of the buildings.

Tomich said he has seen the construction of every fire station in the Cape, and looks forward to the completion of the next fire station in about a year. The station will be a “carbon copy” of station 9, he said. The next station is located at 4610 Coronado Parkway.

Public Works Project Manager Oliver Clarke called station 9 “the strongest building in Cape Coral, aside from the Emergency Operation Center.”

Clarke said the building will withstand 150 m.p.h. winds and was built to a particularly high standard due to the open sports fields nearby.

The station was officially opened as Fire Truck 9, a new addition as well, drove into the station’s parking garage area as event goers watched and cheered.

The truck was driven by Michelle Clore, who has been with the department for 15 years and is station 9’s engineer. Clore was previously at station 3.

“It’s beautiful,” said Clore about the new building. “I think it’ll benefit the community.”

Lt. Damon Alimonti, a comrade of Clore’s from station 3, also came to serve at the new station Friday.

“I’m excited,” said Alimonti.

Alimonti said he knows the importance of having a fire station in the area since his kids have played baseball and soccer at the nearby sports fields.

He has been with station 3 since 1990.

Van Helden thanked the mayor, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Public Works Department and others for helping with the building and operation of fire station 9.

A fire fighter’s bible was dedicated to remain at the station from one of the day laborers who worked on building the station. The bible was from the laborer’s grandfather, said Chief Tomich.

The station has three 14 by 80 foot fire apparatus bays, full emergency back up power, on-site diesel fueling equipment for apparatuses and power generators and a training classroom.