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Commissioners updated on fire truck, boat

By Staff | Feb 18, 2020

The Sanibel Fire and Rescue District’s commission heard about the new fire truck, old fire boat and annual open house at its recent meeting, as well as were introduced to a new part-time employee who will eventually replace the current fire marshal.

On Feb. 12, Fire Chief Matt Scott reported that the new Sutphen S3 model pump truck was in service and on the road as of Feb. 10. Designed to be a companion apparatus to the Sutphen SL75 Aerial Ladder truck acquired in 2018 for Station 171, this truck is housed at Station 172.

“It’s in service,” Deputy Fire Chief William Briscoe added of the pumper.

A date has not been set yet for its housing ceremony, a tradition held for new fire apparatus.

Also at the meeting, Briscoe reported that the new vessel to replace existing Marine 171 is continuing to be built. The 26-foot MetalCraft Interceptor, with a twin outboard engine, was purchased through a combination of district funds allocated in the budget and grant money.

The West Coast Inland Navigation District awarded the grant, which totals $150,000.

Briscoe added that the district anticipates having the new boat in service by July.

As for Marine 171, Scott told the commissioners that he was approached by the area’s Florida Forest Service about whether the district might be interested in donating the old vessel. He added that the agency would use the boat to respond to fires on the outer barrier islands, like Useppa.

“They don’t have a boat to transport their equipment,” Scott said.

He noted that the district has a good relationship with the agency. Sanibel received its brush truck from it, and the agency pulled out an island truck when it got struck during training.

“We’ve worked with them in the past,” Scott said.

Scott also reported that another agency approached Briscoe about the old vessel.

“We have a very interested party,” Briscoe added. “No offer yet.”

Also during the meeting, Scott reported that the district has scheduled its Annual Open House for the community for March 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Station 171, at 2351 Palm Ridge Road.

At the meeting, Division Chief of Prevention Rick Tassoni introduced new employee Larry Williams to the commission. He explained that Williams is working part-time for the district as he gets Williams up to speed, then Williams will take over as fire marshal and he will retire.

“When I’m comfortable that he can take over, that’s when I’ll leave,” Tassoni said.

“He wanted to come out here and work,” he added.

According to Tassoni, Williams most recently served as a line officer at the South Trail Fire Protection and Rescue Service District, which he retired from after 28 years. Williams has the background and experience, plus has worked with the Sanibel district over the years.

“We’ve all worked with Larry on and off over the 20-plus years,” Division Chief of Training Tim Barrett added.

Tassoni estimated “maybe June” as when Williams would come on board full-time.

“Sounds like we have a win-win solution,” Commissioner Jerry Muench said.


– Tassoni reported that the renovations at the Bait Box have run into some problems. He explained that the new architectural plans do not appear to line up with some additional plans.

– Tassoni reported that two churches, St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church and Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, have submitted plans for their proposed projects.

He explained that St. Michael is looking at demolishing and then rebuilding a structure, including reconfiguring the parking lot and providing for more office space. Meanwhile, the SCUCC is looking at elevating its chapel structure to address issues related to storm and watershed flooding.

– Barrett reported that recent staff training has covered pediatrics for medical, pump operations for fire, and boat for special operations. The district is also continuing to host CPR training.

“We usually do two or three classes a month,” he said.

– The district responded to 156 calls for service in January, compared to 164 calls during the same month last year. It responded to 1,618 calls in 2019, compared to 1,659 calls in 2018.