Mickuleit: M/PIFCD Fire Station #4 operational
Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Chief Ben Mickuleit announced that as of Oct. 23, the Matlacha Fire Station #4 is operational.
“I am happy to announce that as of today Station #4 is fully operational,” Mickuleit said. “There are a few things that still need to be done, and this is a very basic station, but from today on we will have two firefighters and an engine on duty 24/7 at Station #4.”
The station was contracted to be completed by May 14, 2019, but went nearly 5 months past that deadline. The county issued the Certificate of Occupancy on Oct. 8, 2019.
The station will serve everywhere from the Yucatan Restaurant, all of Matlacha, plus Royal Tee and Saddlewood in Cape Coral.
“A couple of weeks ago we had a brush fire about a block from Station #4 that Station #1 responded to in 10 or 11 minutes,” Mickuleit said. “Just think if this station was operational. Instead of a 10 or 11-minute response time we would have been there in a minute. The fire would have been much smaller, taken less time to put out and less dangerous to the community. Response time is even more important in a cardiac arrest situation.”
The department requested an ambulance be permanently stationed at Station #4 but the county rejected the request.
“Whether there is an ambulance here is up to the county,” Mickuleit said. “The station has the extra bay and extra bunk rooms for ambulance personnel. When the county is ready, we’re ready. In the mean time, all firefighters are trained EMTs.”
The new station has four enclosed sleeping quarters, three bathrooms, two fire apparatus bays, a kitchen, storage room, exercise rooms and a contamination room. The finished building is 6,142 square feet.
“We included a classroom that is available to the community,” Mickuleit said. “I’m very excited that this station is open. It’s been a long time coming and now we can finally provide the service the people in this eastern section of the district deserve.”
There are no cost overruns for Station #4, however due to the contractor exceeding the completion deadline of May 14, the Fire Commission has the option to pursue litigation against Vantage Construction. Penalties could be as high as $500 per day a potential total penalty of $72,500.
The Matlacha station property was purchased in 2008 and the building was scheduled to be built the following year. When the economy crashed, the project was put on hold.
An open house for the new building will be announced in the coming weeks.