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Pine Island fire's mission returns to emergency response, community outreach

Special to WGCU/Matlacha/Pine Island Fire District
Crewmembers from the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire District help load water for Pine Island residents.

An update from the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District Saturday said work on the island has slowly transitioned from a search and rescue including emergency response mission back to emergency response and community outreach.

"We are running an average of 20 emergency calls a day at this point. We have an engine strike team on the island assisting us with emergency response so our crews can be in the community and help in any way they can," District Chief Benjamin Mickuleit said. "They have been out assisting residents in various ways such as moving a few things, providing water, tarps, information, and with anything else they might be able to do."

Special to WGCU/Matlacha/Pine Island Fire District
Portable showers and bathrooms were to be set up and ready for use at Matlacha Park by residents on Pine Island.

The chief also said district members have been working on arranging showers/bathrooms for Matlacha, Bokeelia, and St. James City.

"Furthermore, we are working on arranging Tide (laundry) stations at those same locations'" he said. "We have requested generators to run the lift stations and waste pick up to start operating, among numerous other requests."

The chief said anyone needing tarps, water or emergency food should stop by Station One at 5700 Pine Island Road in Bokeelia.

Other fire district information:

  • Evacuated over 1,000 community members via air or boat operation
  • Since landfall, crews have answered nearly 600 emergency calls
  • All four stations have been and will continue being operational (Station 1 has moderate damage)
  • The three stations on Pine Island (Bokeelia, St. James City, and the Center) continue to operate on generators.
Special to WGCU/ Matlacha/Pine Island Fire District
Matlacha/Pine Island Fire District crewmembers help fill gas cannisters for island residents.

Mickuleit praised the community on how they responded to the hurricane: "This disaster has highlighted our community’s strength and perseverance. It’s absolutely incredible. It’s very important to remember, your fire department was the FIRST emergency response team on Matlacha/Pine Island to provide emergency services. We have been working tirelessly since the days before the storm to protect and serve the community we love and call home. We’re all in this together."

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