North Brandon Fire Station Chief Robert J. Etten, left,  is joined by members of the day shift crew Taylor McDaniel, Josh Arturi, Michelle Gould and Nate Storey. Station No. 18, is located at 3096 Kingsway Road, in Seffner

It’s been three years since Hillsborough County Commissioners, county administration and staff were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony of the County’s Seffner-Mango Fire Station No. 18, located at 3096 Kingsway Rd. in Seffner.

The 7,300-sq.-ft. facility replaced the original 1,300-sq.-ft. home, which has served the area for years and has been used by a dedicated group of volunteers, who are members of the Seffner-Mango Volunteer Fire Rescue Association.

“As the area grows, so does the call volume,” said Hillsborough County Section Chief for Research, Planning and Specifications James Olsen, adding, that the station is a great addition for these guys and will no doubt benefit local residents.”

The smooth operation of the station in behalf of the community doesn’t come free and is largely funded by the generous donations of the community.

Fire Chief Robert J. Van Etten, who oversees the currently 22-member station, emphasized that while Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners supplies the new station with the all the necessary fire apparatus, equipment, fire fighting supplies and gear, there are numerous other operating expenses left for the station to finance.

“We are struggling,” Van Etten said. “To meet our expenses, we must ask for donations from our neighbors. With their support we can continue to recruit the certified, trained personnel necessary to staff the station twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.”

The station currently has two engines, one tanker truck, a brush truck as well as the chief’s vehicle, all of which is used to respond to the more than 200 calls per month, most of which are medical emergencies. 

Besides the community’s financial support, Van Etten emphasized the need for continued volunteer spirit as the department is hurting for captains and drivers.

“It is a lot of commitment, which we greatly appreciate,” he said. “Our volunteers must be motivated for the right reasons, recognizing that it is not just a job, but serving the community.”

For information, stop in to the station or call 744-5614.

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