Collier County residents know it takes up to 20 minutes for a fire truck to arrive. In an area prone to fires, like Golden Gate Estates, minutes can mean devastation.
”We lost two sheds, we lost a bass boat,” said Evelyn Mootispaw. She saw the over 8,000-acre fire that raged through the Estates in May.
“We almost lost a second house,” Mootispaw said. “We lost quite a bit. I can’t blame the fire department because they were fighting everything they could possibly fight.”
The Greater Naples Fire Rescue District is trying to tackle its response times, the biggest battle in that rural area.
“Every thirty seconds it doubles the danger for the occupancy, and if you can’t get there in that four to six minutes, the chance for rescuing that person diminishes greatly,” said Fire Chief Kingman Schuldt.
Greater Naples is teaming up with Collier Emergency Medical Services to open up two new buildings in the county. The move-in goal for the one being constructed on Lord’s Way is sometime in October. The other building, near Golden Gate and Desoto Blvd., is in the early planning phases.
“It’s a very, very unique situation and it really allows us to maximize our resources, but most importantly, it maximizes the taxpayers’ dollars,” Schuldt said.
Some hope it will keep up Collier’s population, too.
“I’ve been here since ’67,” Mootispaw said. “Now it’s all turned into a concrete jungle and it’s doing the same thing out this way.”
Collier EMS expects that the two buildings’ completion will be able to reduce response times by as much as 15 minutes.