The Former Florida State Fire College is located at:
1501 West Silver Springs Boulevard Ocala, FL 34475
Firefighting training was performed at this facility starting in 1939 before being relocated to its current location in Reddick, Florida. While at this Ocala address, the college held approximately six classes per year. The north and central portions of the site were used for firefighting exercises. The east central portion of the site contained a large warehouse building. North of the warehouse was a concrete block structure used as a target for fire appliance testing and practice, and a double pit system. Water from the appliances was aimed at a target and deflected by a concrete block structure into an initial pit. Water flowed from this pit into a second adjacent pit. The second pit was drained by a buried line that flowed to a drafting sump attached to the warehouse. There were seven burn pits located on site ranging in size from 8 to 25 feet square in surface area and 8 to 12 inches in depth. At least two of the pits were concrete-lined. During site operations, approximately 150 gallons of diesel fuel were poured on hay or wooden pallets located in the burn pits. The fuel was ignited and extinguished for firefighting exercises. Two separate burn buildings were located in the west-central area of the site. The buildings, a four-story structure and a two-story structure, served as practice for fire control exercises. Clean wooden pallets were ignited inside the buildings and then extinguished during fire control exercises. South of the two-story burn building was a former tank trailer. The trailer was outfitted with propane burners and had previously been used for numerous firefighting exercises. Although the site is relatively flat, there appeared to be off-site drainage to the northeast. In addition, a drainage ditch extended from the two-story burn building and tank trailer burn area to a storm sewer located at the west central site boundary. During the performance of environmental assessment activities in the early 1990s for hydrocarbon contamination, several spent drums labeled firefighting foam were observed on site.
Presently the location is occupied by the Hampton Center which houses a satellite campus for the College of Central Florida. Immediately north and east of the site is the City of Ocala Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreational Center.
Preliminary site assessment activities for PFAS contamination were completed in October 2020. Analytical results indicate that concentrations of perfluorooctanoate acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in groundwater are above the Health Advisory Level (HAL); concentrations of PFOA and PFOS in some of the soil samples are above provisional soil cleanup target levels. Results were sent to the Florida Department of Health who was requested to conduct a nearby potable supply well sample event. A workplan to further define the extent of contamination on and near the site is being drafted.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.