By Chris Fish
PALM BAY -- The city of Palm Bay and Brevard County Fire Rescue announced the opening of a jointly operated rescue station, in order to better serve the needs of those in the southwestern part of the city.
The newest fire rescue station is located in Southwest Palm Bay on Degroodt Road, next to Bayside High School, and is part of a joint partnership between the Palm Bay Fire Rescue and Brevard County Fire Rescue.
"Arriving at the scene of a fire or medical emergency in the shortest amount of time is critical to the outcome of the event," said Scott Lunden, battalion chief with Palm Bay Fire Rescue. "Station 6 allows us to greatly improve our response time in the southwestern part of the city."
Battalion Chief Lunden said that this sixth fire station has been in the planning stages for many years, due to the growth in population in the city's southwestern area.
However, Battalion Chief Lunden said that the opportunity for the city to partner with the county arose last year, when the county needed to relocate its ambulance facility.
"The location of the new station on Degroodt was consistent with the city's planning for a new station, so this worked out very well," he said. "We were able to deploy these services much sooner than anticipated."
Last year, Brevard County Fire Rescue Stations 84 and 85 left Harris Corporation property when construction began for the company's new technology center.
During the summer, the county's crew from Station 85 moved to a temporary location at Station 88, which is located at Palm Bay Hospital.
Crews from the county's Station 84 moved to shared space at the Palm Bay Fire Rescue's Station 1 on Port Malabar Boulevard.
"The agreement benefits the citizens of both communities and meets Brevard County Fire Rescue's mission to provide the best possible customer service, first and foremost," said Brevard County Fire Rescue Chief Larry Collins in a press statement. "It's also an efficient and effective use of government resources for the public good."
In a press statement, Palm Bay Fire Chief Jim Stables echoed his excitement for the agreement.
"This is a win for everyone," he said. "Our need for a sixth station to serve the citizens of southwest Palm Bay was critical, and this is the best and most efficient way to deliver that service."
Once all Station 6 crews are moved into the jointly operated facility, the county will relocate its Rescue 85 crew to a shared space at the Palm Bay Fire Rescue's Station 2.
"We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Brevard County to bring improved emergency medical and fire suppression services to this area of the city," Battalion Chief Lunden said.
Sue Hann, Palm Bay city manager, said that the partnership with the county has also "improved services throughout south Brevard County."
"We are working to deploy resources more efficiently to better serve the community," she said.
Battalion Chief Lunden said that residents within five miles of the station and within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant could be eligible for a decrease in their fire insurance premium.