That's batty: Pasco fire station combats pesky bat problem

By Leah Masuda, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 4:28 PM EDT

A Pasco County fire station has been temporarily closed because of bats.

Firefighters were forced to leave Friday when their new roommates became too much.

  • Bats got inside Pasco fire station No. 39
  • County says fire service for residents not affected
  • Valves used to remove bats; firefighters hope to return soon

"These bats have been around for about five years, and they started out with a very small population. And they started to increase year after year," Chief Andrew Fossa said.

Crews have put up with the bats until recently, when they started getting inside.

"We've had crews who have gone to bed at night and woken up with bats in their room," Fossa said.

The bats got so comfortable that they made their way into the bathrooms and just about everywhere in Station 39's living quarters, making it a dangerous situation.

"Once they are inside of a living space, that increases the danger. They do carry rabies, so if you are bit, you do have to get rabies shots," said Chris Cole, owner of A-Team Trappers.

Because it is mating season, the county needed special permission to get the bats out of the firehouse. The county worked with the state to get an exclusion permit to remove the bats by using valves that allow for the bats to leave but not return.

Cole set them up Sunday.

"I don't see anything in here right now, which is a good sign because they had 16 in here yesterday," Cole said as he inspected Tuesday.

Cole plans to come back Wednesday, so hopefully he can give the go ahead for crews to move back in.

An auto-aid agreement with Hernando County Fire was activated once the station was closed. The county says service for residents has not been affected.