Fire protection in Pensacola is going up a notch, with the opening of a new fire station on Summit Boulevard. Three years in the planning, the project was funded with $3 million from the local option sales tax.
No ribbons were cut in the opening of the station. Instead, fire hoses were uncoupled at the entrance of the building, that replaces a 50-year-old facility which was closed temporarily because of mold in 2016.
“Just like in your homes, relationships are forged here – and in your businesses,” said Fire Chief Ginny Cranor. “People of different ranks and responsibilities come together to achieve a bigger goal. Here, that goal is service.”
Cranor told the gathering it’s her wish that the new fire house provide everyone — community members and firefighters — with a sense of safety and comfort.
“Inside this station, firefighters will work to live up to the values of the Pensacola firefighters who opened the last station down the road in 1969,” Cranor said. “Those values of dedication, honor, professionalism, and compassion.”
For Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson, the new fire station is personal, having grown up in what’s now the new facility’s service area. He also touched on his recent opportunity to train with firefighters.
“Chief Cranor, I just want to say thank you for your leadership; what you’ve done,” said the Mayor. “You and your team have welcomed me in warmly, and I really appreciate the opportunity to serve with you guys.”
“Assistant Chief Brock Jester – call the order,” said Craton, as she and personnel staffing Fire Station-3 took part in a fire service tradition – a “Push-In” ceremony dating back to the 19th century when fire departments used hand-drawn pumpers and horse-drawn equipment.
Upon returning to the station after a fire call, the horses could not easily back the equipment into the station. So they were disconnected from the fire equipment and firefighters would push the equipment back into the bays themselves.
“Now it goes without saying, firefighters face the possibility of risk every minute of every day, and they wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Cranor. “Every one of us, regardless of rank, is a firefighter. And we are proud to work for all of you.”
The discovery of two endangered gopher tortoises on the property in 2017 forced a delay in construction. But after tying up some final loose ends, Fire Station #3 is expected to be operational in about two weeks.