Residents of Cane Bay have been concerned about a lack of quick fire protection for a number of years.
Paul Neal lives in Cane Bay. “It’s something that is desperately needed and the time is now.”
Neal put his money where his mouth is today, presenting a $500 check to Chief Timothy Stephenson of the Whitesville Rural Volunteer Fire Department.
The ISO rating organization says a fire station needs to be within a 5 mile driving distance of a home for the home to be given the lowest insurance rating. In the Cane Bay community, their station at Whitesville is nearly 7 miles away. Chief Stephenson said, “Their insurance rates have almost tripled over the past two or three years.”
Neal is a realtor with Infinity realty, and his former client is Barbara Bond. They both live in Del Webb in Cane Bay. “When he sold my condo, he said he was going to donate to the fire department. I said, ‘Well that sounds great. I think I’ll match that.’ and I want to match it in memory of my husband. He was very involved with helping the firemen.” She presented her check for $500 today as well.
A $2.4 million federal grant is in the works to build a new fire station in Cane Bay. Once open, residents could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year on insurance, but more importantly, they would have better response times.
Chief Stephenson says the difference is significant. Right now “those response times are anywhere between 11 and 16 minutes.” After the new station opens, “you’re looking at 4 to 8 minute response times.”
Which Neal says could be the difference between life and death. “These guys were at my neighbors house and what they were doing is they were taking care of him but he died en route to the hospital. It’s no fault of the fire department, but had they been there sooner, he may still be alive.”
The new fire department in Cane Bay is expected to open sometime next year.