Voters in Lehigh opt for a new way to pay for fire district

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Lehigh Acres Fire Rescue (Facebook page)

When a fire breaks out, seconds are crucial. Getting to the scene and putting it out becomes the number one priority.

A few years back we had a 400-acre brushfire and unfortunately, we lost four houses in that fire,” said Lehigh Acres Fire Chief Robert DiLallo.

DiLallo said thanks to the voters, he and his fire crews may be able to get to scenes more quickly.

Those in the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District approved a $162 per year fire fee.

“We’re very excited, I think it’s going to be a great morale booster but you know again most of our firefighters, we’re here to help the citizens,” DiLallo added.

Lehigh Acres is 142 square miles. People are moving here every day. Adding more housing developments and residents means more ground to cover for the fire department.

Starting this fall, homeowners will also pay a less than $1 per $1,000 on the value of improvements.

Chief DiLallo says it’s going to help them so much. “That’s going to help with our equipment. We’re going to increase the staffing levels which will also help us to provide a better level of service to the district,” he said.

Most importantly, construction will begin on Station Number Six before the end of 2020.

“This fire station is being put in a location where a lot of growth has happened up in the north area,” explained DiLallo.

The response time for areas on the north side, such as North Sunshine Boulevard and West 17th Street is currently between 15 and 20 minutes. The new station will cut that to less than nine minutes.

DiLallo cannot contain his excitement about being able to better help the community. “We’re very excited that this passed,” he said.

10 years ago Lehigh ACres was mostly land and only 88,000 people. Now, there are upwards of 119,000 people living in Lehigh Acres and it continues to grow.

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