Orange County officially opened Fire Station 44 Tuesday, April 30, in the Horizon West community.
The temporary station, located at the corner of Avalon and Porter roads, is housed in a manufactured building on the 74-acre campus of the recently constructed Orlando Health Emergency Room and Medical Pavilion.
The building costs the county $500,000 to construct and will serve the surrounding community until the permanent site is built and opened in fiscal year 2022-23. The permanent site will be located on Reams Road, south of Summerlake Park Boulevard.
At the station’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, Orange County District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey thanked Orange County Fire Rescue’s staff for supporting her mission to open the temporary fire station ahead of its original schedule.
“This is one of those really wonderful days when we get to take a victory lap when we’ve done an awful lot of hard work to make something happen way ahead of schedule,” VanderLey said. “About a year and a half ago, it was brought to my attention that this area was underserved in terms of fire and that the response times were slower than we’d like them to be. And so after working very hard with the chief and the staff of Orange County Fire (Rescue), we were able to move this station up five years ahead of schedule. That is extremely significant.”
According to Orange County, a 2015 Fire Station Location Study determined a new station was needed in the Horizon West area to service the rapidly growing population and development.
Currently, there are 42 Orange County Fire Rescue stations within Orange County. The nearest fire stations to the temporary site for Fire Station 44 are Fire Station 34 at 4000 S. State Road 535, and Fire Station 35, located at 7435 Winter Garden Vineland Road.
Since October, Rescue Ambulance 44 has been located at the Orlando Health campus in Horizon West from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., to reduce response times to the Horizon West community. The current travel time ranges between seven to nine minutes, but Orange County Fire Rescue expects the new temporary station will reduce travel times by about 50%.
“Fire Station 44 is now a community asset, and it will house an advanced life-support engine company, and an advanced life-support transport rescue,” said Orange County Deputy Chief Jim Fitzgerald. “What that simply means is, anytime that you see this fire truck behind me roll up, there will be a paramedic on it and also a paramedic in the rescue truck.”
That’s critical, because when you call for a rescue, if the engine happens to be closer, they’re going to respond and that engine is carrying all of the equipment, with the exception of a stretcher that that rescue is carrying. So rest assured, if you need medical attention, and that engine shows up, you’re in very good hands.”
Fire Station 44 will benefit property owners in the area paying residential or commercial insurance because proximity to a fire station influences insurance premiums. Any property located more than five miles from a fire station is provided with an ISO score of 10, which is typically classified as no protection and can significantly increase property insurance premiums.
However, residential and commercial properties located within a five-mile radius of the new temporary station will be classified as ISO 1, the highest score. As such, property owners are encouraged to contact their insurance companies to provide notice of the temporary station’s location and request a premium discount.