GFR Opens Its Newest Fire Station

Fire Station #1, located at 525 South Main Street has moved across SW 5th Avenue from its previous home. Built to meet the best response time, the facility has state of the art computer dispatching and station alerting equipment, and the tried-and-true brass fire pole that quickly delivers firefighters from the second floor dorms or fitness room to the apparatus bay in less than a second

“Response time is everything to firefighters who must receive an emergency alert from the 911 center, make their way to the station bay and be underway with just 60 seconds for medical calls, and 80 seconds for fire emergencies,” said Fire Chief Jeff Lane. “This time allows for firefighters to put on their protective gear, boots, pants, jacket and helmet.”

The health and safety of firefighters was also an important part of the design process with attention to safety, controlling contamination, enhancing firefighter training and encouraging physical fitness.  The Station also has the latest technology to clean firefighter gear and extract diesel exhaust from the vehicles.

As the City’s downtown is expected to continue to expand, adding larger and taller buildings in the coming years, there is room for two additional vehicles and for more firefighters to be added during the station’s expected 50-year lifespan.  The station was designed to meet the most stringent of environmental standards, including electric vehicle charging, and is expected to be awarded its Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) designation later in the year.

The Station represents a continuous legacy of service that dates back to the 1800s. The former Station #1 was built in 1965 and it replaced the City’s first brick station built in 1903, near the former federal building that now houses the Hippodrome Theater.  The dedication stone from the historic structure was recovered from a backyard in SE Gainesville several years ago and is now on display in the new fire station’s lobby.

The completion of the $10 million fire station is the result of over a decade of planning and a year of construction.  The two-story concrete block and steel building spans over 22,000 square feet, with most of this space given to apparatus bays designed to house existing fire response units and rapid opening doors to improve response times. The interior spaces includes a community and training room, dormitories, full kitchen and offices.

The new fire station houses 12 firefighters and 4 emergency response units, including a chief officer and is the City’s busiest Station.  GFR operates nine fire stations throughout the City, with 179 personnel and had over 24,000 responses last year.

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