The Villages Public Safety Department will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a “push-in” ceremony and open house.
The event is scheduled for 9am Saturday, Oct. 26, at Station 47, located at 4856 S. Morse Blvd., south of State Road 44. The public is invited to the ceremony, which will be followed by an open house and refreshments. A push-in ceremony marks the arrival of a new fire engine, which will be named “Marty,” in memory of Marty Matthews. Marty was a fleet mechanic with the department for five years before he died earlier this year, according to a news release.
Established Oct. 1, 1999, The Villages Public Safety Department started with nine paramedic firefighters and one fire chief and responded out of one fire station, Station 41 next to the Sumter County Annex Building. The department served the community with two quick-response vehicles and one fire engine. In that first year, it responded to approximately 1,000 requests for service.
The department has grown along with the community, and now has nine fire stations and 144 personnel, including 120 firefighter/emergency medical technician/paramedics, six battalion chiefs and 14 administrative staff members. During the previous year, the department responded to more than 25,000 incidents within and outside the boundaries of The Villages, the release states.
Station 47 is a new facility that opened during the summer. The 11,000-square-foot building houses three fire apparatus, dorms for up to 10 firefighters and a district customer service center satellite office.