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April 15, 2024

VIFEMS Breaks Ground on the Charles “Tappy” Seales Fire Station and Multipurpose Center

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands — On April 12, 2024, the Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency Medical Services (VIFEMS) marked the start of construction on the Charles “Tappy” Seales Fire Station and Multipurpose Center with a groundbreaking ceremony. Governor Albert Bryan Jr., Senate President Novelle Francis, cabinet members, representatives from Delegate Stacey Plaskett’s Office and FEMA, and family members of the late Charles Seales attended Friday’s event, turning the dirt and taking one step closer to reconstructing this critical facility.

This is the first of five fire stations to be rebuilt with funding from FEMA’s disaster recovery grant programs and is funded by a multi-million-dollar grant award from the agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

The new station will be located at the same site in Estate Grove Place as its predecessor, but it will be larger and will include space for a VIPD officer, and a multi-purpose saferoom, where fire and EMS personnel can shelter during a storm.

Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien, Director of the Office of Disaster Recovery, thanked FEMA for the over $53 million they have obligated to replace fire stations territory-wide, including the $6.8 million in hazard mitigation grant funding just for this facility alone.

During the ceremony, VIFEMS acknowledged the efforts of other stakeholders in moving the project forward, thanking the Office of Disaster Recovery, Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency, Virgin Islands Police Department, Department of Public Works, Department of Property and Procurement, and contractors Jaredian Design Group, LLC, Marco St. Croix, and Persons Services Corp.
In his remarks, VIFEMS Director Designee Antonio Stevens also expressed his thanks to agency personnel, stating, “To the men and women of the Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency Medical Services, thank you for your dedication and your patience while we work to provide you with the station you deserve.”

Five months after his untimely passing, VIFEMS Director Daryl A. George Sr. was remembered fondly by the ceremony’s speakers, who spoke of his commitment to the project and his vision for the station and VIFEMS.

Senate President Novelle E. Francis noted in his comments that this will be the first fire station built to accommodate the merger of fire and emergency medical services since the passing of Act 8545, which created the VIEFMS in April 2022.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to see this project progress, utilizing federal disaster recovery funds to rebuild and fortify our infrastructure,” Governor Bryan said. “Providing the VIFEMS with this new and improved fire station will not only allow our community to benefit from purposeful planning but will also save lives in the process. That’s a win-win situation in my book.”

Construction is expected to be complete in the Fall of 2025.