KNIGHTSVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) –A local fire station will soon be closing its doors. Old Fort Station number 4 off of Orangeburg road will discontinue service by January 2017.
It is a change that is happening as a result of Dorchester County’s decision to not renew the contract for district 209. The district will now be run by the Dorchester County Fire Department.
The county aims to increase resources at surrounding fire stations. Currently the three stations in district 209 operate with two firefighters per shift. Now, each station will have three to four firefighters per shift.
According to Dorchester County Chairman David Channis, closing the Knightsville station will allow the county to better serve residents of district 209. He says, “The numbers I’ve heard today is somewhere between eight and ten can show up at an Old Fort fire. We’re talking fifteen, sixteen, eighteen showing up when you start looking at these numbers.”
The area now covered by Station 4 will be taken over by Summerville Station 5, which is about a quarter of a mile away. The station will cooperate through an automatic response system. In other words, Summerville fire departments will be notified in all emergency situations.
The board of The Old Fort Fire Department does not agree with the plan. They say that the county handling operations for all of district 209 is unnecessary and that closing Station 4 will hurt the community. William Yarborough, the commissioner of the board, says, “We don’t see the need to have this replaced right now and go through all of this and also leave this station abandoned and leave the people right here without their own fire protection.”
The new plan will be presented to the Dorchester County Council for approval on Monday.