Dorchester County has reached an informal agreement to merge the Old Fort Fire Department into Dorchester County Fire-Rescue.
According to a spokesperson, the change in service moves the county closer to a county-wide fire service.
The merger is also expected to improve emergency services and lower costs.
Dorchester County Council will vote on a preliminary Memorandum of Understanding on June 5. The memorandum will then be sent to the Old Fort Fire Department for its approval.
The merger is expected to be complete by the end of the year. According to a news release, all Old Fort Fire Department employees will have the opportunity to transfer to Dorchester County Fire-Rescue.
Dorchester County Council Chairman Jay Byars released the following joint statement with Steve Burke, Board Chairman for the Old Fort Fire Department:
“While this is an emotional and difficult decision for many, we are all proud of the fantastic job that Old Fort Fire has done for over forty years protecting our community. Our county is changing rapidly and the time has come that we boldly embrace a new future for fire protection in our area that will enhance our efforts, working together for a safer community. We are proud of our firemen and women and also of the efforts of our members to work together in good faith for the best decision for our citizens and our employees. While change is sometimes difficult to embrace, it also presents opportunity for a new and better future and that is our shared goal and commitment.”