Lehigh Acres firefighters still working out of trailers since Hurricane Irma


Nearly seven months after Hurricane Irma, firefighters from three different Lehigh Acres stations are working out of temporary headquarters.

Station 101 off of Joel Boulevard, Station 102 off of Homestead Boulevard South and Station 105 off of Alexander Graham Bell Boulevard and Milwaukee Boulevard have all been closed due to Hurricane Irma damages.

“It (Hurricane Irma) made that jog into Lehigh, and we literally took the center of the eye,” said Lehigh Acres Fire Chief Robert Dilallo. “We did not expect that much damage.”

For Lieutenant Brooke Ricciardi, she calls the fire station a home away from home.

“Most of us who have been here for a very, very long time, this has been a part of our lives,” Ricciardi said.

But getting the stations back to normal is taking a lot more time than imaginable. The first step is mitigation.

The Lehigh Acres Fire District had a company come through and remove all the damaged interior and mold. But the repairs have been on hold until officials can find a contractor to finish the job.

“Now we need to find out what our costs are to put it back together and make sure that we make the best decision,” Dilallo said.

The firefighters who used the damaged stations during their shifts are now using 2,000 square foot trailers, sitting just a few feet away from the stations.

“The important thing is for citizens of Lehigh to know they are protected,” Dillao said. “Their level of service is the same prior to the storm.”

The final repair costs for the stations are unknown. The Lee County District says insurance and FEMA will cover part of the cost and the rest will fall on taxpayers.

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