WEST LAKE, Fla. — Palm Beach County Fire Rescue broke ground on a brand new fire station in the city of West Lake Wednesday. That's around the Acreage area.
It's the future home for Station 22, a station now currently in a shopping center.
Station 22 has been the subject of multiple contact 5 investigations concerning response times and staffing in the past.
This construction has been 15 years in the making, going through a recession, budgets and other obstacles.
Many at the groundbreaking Wednesday afternoon say it’s finally the station and the staffing the men and women of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue deserve.
For more than a decade, Michelle Demone had been sounding the alarm about the need for more resources and personnel in western Palm Beach County.
"We needed a fully staffed fully equipped fire station," said Demone.
She feels the county listened.
"Station 22 is here, it’s a glorious day for the western community," said Demone.
Until Wednesday, Station 22 was considered a temporary station, housed in a Winn Dixie Plaza since 2002.
"It was a medical office. It was a doctor’s office, never meant to be a fire station. If you’re a taxpayer in Palm Beach County and you’ve paid for this multi million dollar equipment, it’s not meant to sit in the sun. There is no garage there for it," said Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay.
The new station will be 12,000 plus square feet, cost $4.9 million and house 7 firefighters per shift.
Contact 5 first reported in September there were only three firefighters at Station 22, and their average response time was higher than many other stations in the county.
A day after our investigation, the county added 6 new firefighters to the station.
Now, there's a place for them all to fit and better serve this growing community.
"This just shows that we care and we want to make sure our men and women are in our suitable fire station," said Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Michael Mackey.
Station 22 will be the main station for the city of West Lake where 4,500 additional homes were built.
"I feel a little more secure sleeping tonight knowing this developing and my community is a lot more safe than it was a year ago and 12 years ago and 15 years ago," said Demone.
The station will be completed in the winter of 2019.