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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsGroundbreaking Ceremony for New Fire Station in Grove Place

Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Fire Station in Grove Place

The groundbreaking for the Charles "Tappy" Seales Fire Station and Multi-purpose Complex was held Friday. (Source photo by Diana Dias)
The groundbreaking for the Charles “Tappy” Seales Fire Station and Multi-purpose Complex was held Friday. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

Officials placed “shovels to dirt” at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Charles “Tappy” Seales Fire Station and Multi-purpose Complex Friday in Grove Place.

The new facility replaces the previous Grove Place fire station which was excavated and demolished in 2023 after it sustained significant damage from Hurricane Maria. The fire station handles about 35 to 40 percent of service calls on St. Croix.

Senate President of the 35th Legislature, Novelle E. Francis, said this will be the first fire station constructed since Act 8545, a law passed in 2022 that consolidated the Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency services.

Emergency Services vehicles at the construction site for the Charles "Tappy" Seales Fire Station and Multi-purpose Complex. (Source photo by Diana Dias)
Emergency Services vehicles at the construction site for the Charles “Tappy” Seales Fire Station and Multi-purpose Complex. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

“It intentionally allows for the operational needs for an integrated fire and emergency services as well as the needs of…Grove Place and surrounding communities,” Francis said.

The new facility with its expanded footprint and safe room will provide personnel with a safe space to shelter during storms and protect equipment and vehicles. It will house operations in a stronger physical structure and will enable the staff to better serve the community. In addition, the facility will be shared with the V.I. Police Department in their operations.

Director of the Office of Disaster Recovery, Adrienne Williams Octalien, said “this fire station has a special place. My uncle, my brother worked at this fire station.”

Williams-Octalien also shared that $53 million of funding that has been obligated between the public assistance and the hazard mitigation grant program went toward fire stations alone.  Four of those stations on St. Croix, three on St. Thomas and one on St. John.

Seales’ family members, including his daughter Sandra Seales-Russel, attended the ceremony. Seales-Russel, a retired nurse of 13 years gave brief remarks and said her father, who passed away in 2008, was a good father and expressed her excitement for the new building.

Gov. Albert Bryan, Jr. who acknowledged the Seales family and their importance in being there said, “it’s about honoring family names and family members. The first thing is to remember where we came from.”

About 60 attendees witnessed the event that was organized by the V.I. Fire and Emergency Medical Services and the Office of Disaster Recovery.

To see the groundbreaking ceremony in its entirety, click here.

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