TAMPA, Fla. — One of the country's busiest fire stations is on its way to getting some much-needed help. Tampa's Fire Station 13 answers about one in every seven calls in the city. Roughly 85% of those calls are medical, not fire-related.
Construction is now underway at Station 25 to help alleviate the high call volume Station 13 receives.
In September, Tampa City Council approved a $3.4 million renovation project for Station 25, transforming it into a rescue station with two new rescue cars and four additional personnel.
"It will be staffed with 24-hour paramedics, as well as the opportunity for additional staffing of a squad car," Chief Barbara Tripp said.
Tripp said not only was this decision made based on data but also to help firefighters at Station 13 feeling overworked and burned out.
"It was definitely needed," she said." And when I say definitely needed, I look out for the community but look out for the men and women on the job. Their health and well-being are very important."
This will be a fire station without fire trucks. The reason? Tampa has full coverage for fire service. With about 85% of their calls being medical calls, the renovated station will help lessen the load for surrounding stations.
Tampa City Councilor Luis Viera advocated for the funding. He even spent a 12-hour shift with Station 13 firefighters.
"This is all about making sure our neighborhoods have access to the best public safety the United States can offer," Viera said. "Quick public safety, efficient public safety, and responsive public safety."
Along with lessening the call load at Station 13, Station 25 aims to shorten response times for medical calls.
"Our response time runs anywhere between six to seven minutes, we're trying to get that down to four minutes," Tripp said.
Construction is expected to be completed by the start of 2022.