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Jacksonville, FL (September 12, 2019) – It’s finally official! Councilman Becton and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Chief Keith Powers invited the media to the JFRD Headquarters for a Press conference to share exciting and momentous news that District 11 residents have long waited for; the commencement of temporary Fire Station #63!

The press conference was held on September 12th and cameras started rolling promptly at 3:00 p.m. as Chief Powers thanked the various news crews and journalists for attending. Chief Power shared a few words regarding the timeline and progress of Fire Station #63 in District 11 then introduced Councilman Becton to the podium to the reveal the rest of the announcement and his key role in the project.

Councilman Becton expressed his excitement for that moment in a speech, which read:

“Today, I am excited to be here with Chief Powers in having this opportunity to announce the opening of Temporary Fire Station #63 within the Baymeadows East area on Gate Parkway.

Public Safety is Priority number one. In that regard, as a result of years of growth in the Southside Area, our first responders of fire and medical services became stretched way to thin in delivering the response times and service that our communities deserve.

Neighborhoods in the area, like Hampton Park, will no longer be Rated ‘ISO 10’, BAD. In a few months, thousands of dollars can be saved by these homeowners, now being in the ‘Best Rated Category’ for which these services are provided.

 As I look back at the many partners who have helped get us to this accomplishment, I want to first thank Mayor Lenny Curry and everyone in his administration, along with the many team members within JFRD who were involved with this project, and Ash Properties who fit us into their development plans for which this property was made available.

Also, I would like to say ‘Thank You’ to my past fellow Council Members who passed Bill 2018-459 last year, approving the funding.

Our next and final step is to get underway the permanent facility for which Station #63 will reside.

Again, for this long overdue but big accomplishment for which will save lives and property, I am excited to announce that temporary Fire Station #63 is now operational! Thank you.”

The official first day in operation was Monday, September 16th. The facility is located at 6530 Gate Parkway and will service at least 30 apartment complexes and 153 businesses in the fast-growing Southside area. According to News4Jax, “an I-TEAM investigation three years ago found that response times were at a point of concern on the Southside. The I-TEAM plotted Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department engine response times to nearly 23,000 calls made to 911 during a six-week period in 2016 on a map and discovered that engine companies took longer to respond to 911 calls on the Southside of Jacksonville. More than 50% of the time, it took longer than six minutes for paramedics at Fire stations 44 and 50 to get to an emergency, the I-TEAM discovered.”

Station #63 temporary site consists of an extra-large mobile home for living quarters and a butler building type structure for the engine company and rescue crew. Councilman Becton visited and toured the temporary station and spend time with the six-member crew on duty on October 11th. The exterior may not look like a typical station, but the inside of the temporary home is a lot more spacious than what appears.

“It was obvious during our visit that Station #63’s JFRD crew is as excited as anyone for this new station and the opportunity to serve,” said Councilman Becton. “The men and woman of Station #63 are equally thrilled to know that their proximity within the Baymeadows East area will now allow them to respond to this area’s needs without the past possibility of delays because of traffic and distance.” 

The living quarters sleep up to six on-the-clock fire fighters and rescue team for each shift, consisting of working 24 hours on and 24 hours off. There are two bathrooms and the three bedrooms each have closet areas with lockers. The open floorplan of the mobile home allows for enough space for the crew to work as well as lounge in the kitchen, dining and living room areas.

Several very tragic events over the past several years put a high priority on this need for fire services in this area when the second of two home fires within the Hampton Park neighborhood dating back to March 2018, devastated the home and its residents. Even though, JFRD happened to be in the area and responded timely, the event highlighted the fact that these unfortunately events can and do occur whereby the ability to respond to these emergencies should not be overlooked.

“For the residents within this area, this station is way overdue,” said Councilman Becton. “The hot real estate market in this area did make finding this location challenging and expense.” “It is for this reason I have already begun the search and work to find the next Fire Station location for a new Station #74 that needs to cover the new neighborhoods being built in the southern part of the District.”

Now with the new fire Station #63 open, homeowners who were in the ISO 10 rating area can contact their property insurance companies and update their policies. This will result in these homeowners saving money with the new fire protection service rating that is currently being provided.

There are around 40 houses in the back of Hampton Glen who previously rated ISO 10, but since the temporary station opened, JFRD has yet to receive any calls or emails from these residents regarding this rating improvement. Councilman Becton urges residents who live in one of these 40 or so houses to contact JFRD and their insurance companies to update their information, which will likely lower their premiums, saving dollars.

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