New fire station for Pahokee leaves one more vacant landmark on main street

Another Pahokee landmark becomes vacant

PAHOKEE, Fla. - Pahokee firefighters are getting used to a new home.

For the first time in more than 50 years crews are in a nice new station 72.

The new energy efficient station holds more trucks than the old one, to better serve the community as it serves more than 1,500 calls a year.

Since the 1960's they've responded to calls from what's now an out of date, out of code fire station.

For the past 40 years, Chief Gary Burrough's has worked at that station.

Tuesday he had his wife take his final photos in front of the only Pahokee fire station he's ever known growing up in the town.

"That was home for me. That was a third of my life right there," Burroughs said. "People needed me I was right there. When hurricanes were coming and weather was coming that was where you stayed. That was it."

Now a new fire house is built on Lake Avenue.

"The guys I'm sure feel much safer now than they did at the old station even though it survived several storms," Chief Burroughs said.

Even though this new station is built, the old fire station now sits vacant like many other buildings on main street in the town.

"It's just been hard to watch it go down," Chief Burroughs said.

Drive down main street and you'll see the chief's high school is abandoned and boarded up.

The city's water treatment plant, police station, city hall and even the old town movie theater are closed now too.

"That's sad because the first date I ever went to in my life was at the old prince movie theater in downtown Pahokee," the chief said.

Now his old fire station is added to that list of once vibrant landmarks.

Pahokee leaders say tough times have hit their main drag just like the rest of their city.

"We've been no different than other cities, we've been trying to gradually turn things around,"  Pahokee manager Derrek Moore said.

It just hasn't happened yet.

"What's going to revive it? I don't know," Chief Burroughs said. "I don't know what's going to revive it."

Chief Burroughs just hopes he's alive when city leaders have an answer to that question.

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