ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — The biggest fire station in St. Johns County is nearly complete.
It will combine two fire stations into one.
St. Johns County Fire Chief Jeff Prevatt walked through the new fire station, which is still under construction, Thursday with First Coast News.
He pointed out a commercial size kitchen, the large garage for the trucks and the sleeping quarters.
At nearly 23,000 square feet, "it'll be the biggest fire station in the county," Prevatt said.
This new building located at 3370 U.S. 1 South will also house a new southeast command center for the St. Johns County Sheriffs Office.
The new fire station combines the station in the St. Augustine South neighborhood and the fire station in the St. Augustine Shores neighborhood. They were built as volunteer fire stations, so they are now too small for the current crews.
"They were never designed for career crews," Prevatt said.
They're also showing their age.
"We have to replace both stations and instead of building two," which Prevatt said would be more expensive, "we decided to build one."
The chief said the land and building cost a little more than $7 million.
With four bay doors, this place will hold six fire vehicles. And 13 fire personnel will be here around the clock.
But will this new station affect fire-rescue response times? Certainly, the houses next to the current stations may see a difference, but the chief said response times should not change for the most part.
"It's two of the busiest zones we have," Prevatt said. "The trucks answer a lot of calls. So they're not normally coming from the station anyway. So I don't think it will have that big of an impact. It didn't change anyone from being within five miles of a station."
Being on U.S. 1 may help too, instead of being tucked a mile into a neighborhood like one in the Shores neighborhood.
"We were careful when we picked this spot," Prevatt said.
When construction is complete, the new station could open in April.