Jacksonville Beach Fire Department is gone

  • County firefighters are now in charge of fire protection efforts in Jacksonville Beach. (photo by David Bailey)
    County firefighters are now in charge of fire protection efforts in Jacksonville Beach. (photo by David Bailey)

The city of Jacksonville took over fire protection duties for the city of Jacksonville Beach Nov. 23 and there have been a few changes.
The front door of the station, normally unlocked during the day, is now locked as there is no receptionist up front any longer, according to staff.
The fire department’s non-emergency number, 904-247-6201, is no longer answered by fire staff. Instead, the call will be answered in the Jacksonville Beach Planning Department where Fire Marshall Steve Sciotto has been relocated. He is remaining a Jacksonville Beach city employee and answers to Deputy City Manager Karen Nelson. He will continue to provide fire safety reviews for businesses and perform related functions. He noted that he does not even know the fire station numbers now as Jacksonville’s fire department keeps its phone lines unlisted.
Sciotto said many of the department’s regular firefighters are now at the county training academy. With the transfer to county protection, all Jacksonville Beach fire captains were demoted to engineers and are driving trucks.
He acknowledged things are being operated differently and there has been some “culture shock,” but said the county has assigned many nice people to the Beach stations. In addition, the fire station in South Jacksonville Beach has a new rescue unit assigned to it.
Jacksonville Beach city council voted 4-3 in May to shutter its fire department to save money.

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