Sanibel Island rebuilding Fire Station 172 after Hurricane Ian

Reporter: Taylor Petras Writer: Carolina Guzman
Published: Updated:

Hurricane Ian wiped out one of Sanibel Island’s two fire stations, but there are now plans to build it back bigger and better.

The morning after Hurricane Ian, five to six feet of storm surge flooded Station 172 on Sanibel Captiva Road.

“We all came on a boat with our crews and the fire department crews. We saw the lighthouse was still standing,” said Sanibel Fire and Rescue District Chief Kevin Barbot. “I think for a short minute, before we got on the island, we put a smile back on our face and kind of that beacon of hope.”

That’s the inspiration behind their brand-new station.

“This is a little bit of a mix of our inspiration boards and some of the original sketches that we had,” said Nathalie White with Schenkelshultz Architecture, project manager for Station 172. “Bringing some hope to that community. Knowing that a lot has been torn down, it will be one of the first projects to be built again.”

With the lighthouse as their guide, the new fire station was designed with Sanibel in mind.

“We have to be above 11 feet, which is a 500-year flood plain. Our ground level is going to be 12 feet, four inches. We’re going to build a resilient station that is able to handle anything mother nature brings at us.” Said Barbot. 

The firefighters at station 172 have been working out of trailers since March.

It will take a while before they can move into their new station. The cheif said the project is expected to take at least two years.

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