Orlando Fire Department opens new fire station designed to promote diversity

New fire station could serve as an example for other fire departments, chief says

Orlando, Fla. – The city of Orlando opened a brand-new fire station in the Rosemont community on Monday. Station 9, known as “Outpost Nine,” is the new home to 30 firefighters on Center Loop off of Shader Road.

The 12,000-foot building has private bunk rooms and restrooms for crews and it even includes a secure room for female firefighters.

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“We have a room here where a female is nursing at the time, you go in and do her lactation in privacy and not have to worry about anyone looking at her or anything in that nature. We have a refrigerator in there as well,” Chief Benjamin Barksdale said.

Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale said the fire station was designed to promote diversity within the fire department as part of the “Inclusivity and Equity Action Plan.”

The plan came after the department was sued by the assistant fire chief for discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace which led to the resignation of former Chief Roderick Williams in 2019.

“The old-style fire station was what we call our community sleeping area and it provided no privacy at all and it was very challenging for women and other genders as well,” Barksdale said.

The chief said the new fire station could serve as an example for other fire departments in the future.

“We have had three other departments that have come in and toured the station and looking to do the same thing...absolutely,” he said.

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About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!