Dignitaries from the City of Marathon and the Middle Keys gather for the official ribbon cutting of Station No. 15 on Grassy Key. The 5,000-square-foot-facility cost $1.6 million.

It’s done.

The City of Marathon has finished construction of its fire station on Grassy Key. The entire project cost $1.6 million and 13 months to complete, but the project has been in the works ever since Marathon incorporated, according to Marathon Fire Chief John Johnson.

“We needed to decrease the response time for residences and businesses in the Grassy Key area,” Johnson said.

Before the new station opened, the firefighters were operating out of a temporary apartment at Jolly Rogers RV park, with the “trucks” parked out in the open. Now the ambulance and fire engine occupy a two-bay garage and the firefighters have bunkrooms, an office, kitchen and living room. The 5,000-square-foot station will be staffed around the clock with two on-duty firefighter and emergency medical service professionals. The building features a sturdy construction of concrete and foam walls, said to be able to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Green features range from energy efficient lighting, to high-tech climate control and a special washing machine.

The permanent station also lowers the city’s ISO rating, a measurement used by insurance actuaries to determine risk to property. That translates into lower homeowners insurance costs for Grassy Key residents.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was also a chance to acknowledge everyone who moved the project forward. Johnson, City Manager Roger Hernstadt and Councilman Dick Ramsay thanked the architect, engineers, construction company and government officials that worked on the project and those that dedicate their careers to service.

“This is more than a building,” said outgoing Mayor Mike Ciqnue, “this is a place where firefighters and EMS professionals will be working to make our community better.”

The firehouse features a special monument to the firefighters that lost their lives at the World Trade Center on 9/11. The twin structures are topped by a piece of the building’s debris recovered from the site and transported to the Keys. Marathon Fire Chief John Johnson, left, Mayor Mike Cinque and City Manager Roger Hernstadt examine the memorial.



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