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Residents should speak up on possible fire station relocation

Dear Editor,

Whether you know it or not, your county commissioners are considering moving your fire station. Do you know what this would do to you? This would leave one of the largest areas of homes, in most every cost range uncovered with no fire protection!! This county fire station is the first to have been built in the county by volunteers in a community that saw a need and found a way to fill that need. Folks, nothing has changed. Other fire stations started springing up after 1969. No one told these volunteer firefighters were to place the stations because they knew where they wanted and needed them. The volunteers and the citizens in their area of the county decided to do something for they knew they had no fire protection. This process evolved over a number of years until six McDuffie County fire stations were built. Most of the material and all of the labor was provided by the community. Money was raised by turkey shoots and cake sales and barbeque chicken plate sales and donations. And yes, finally the county did donate some materials.

Today, Station 1, the busiest fire station in the entire county, is in danger of being moved because the City of Thomson believes it needs to be somewhere else. For one thing, what does the City of Thomson have to do with the McDuffie County Fire Service? I have yet to find a credible answer to that question. The area they plan on buying the property and placing it is mostly cross covered by three stations including the one they plan to move, South McDuffie, Station 1. So what is the problem? Do our Commissioners take their marching orders from the City of Thomson?

If McDuffie County Fire Station 1- South McDuffie is moved from its current planned location, a largely populated area will be without coverage. If you do not believe me, call your insurance agency. For instance, Maddox Creek residence; call your insurance agent and ask if Station 1- County is moved, what will happened to your insurance. Some will get the answer that you will have no coverage at all. Others will find that their cost for coverage with triple if not go even higher.

Station 1 - South McDuffie County is slated for demolition when the new bypass comes through next year. Knowing this, I talked to the county commissioners and asked if they would need a new location, so, at the corner of Salem Road and the new Eastern Bypass, I donated over 6 acres of property for the purpose of building a headquarters station with an emergency operations center for handling emergencies that can and will happen even in McDuffie County.

My fellow citizens, this fire station is your fire station. It is placed in a planned area to provide the most coverage to the most citizens possible when it was originally built. We had again studied the issues involved and know you need your fire station where you put it in the first place. The land donated for the new station is less than 3 blocks from where it is now. Call your County Commissioners and tell them, "I do not want my fire station moved from the current area to Boneville or elsewhere."

I have been a part of this Station 1 - South McDuffie since it started. I have been a public servant for 36 years! I have lived here all my life and want what is best for the citizens of the county that is my home. Don't let politics get in the way of your best interest!

Paul T. Watson

Asst. Station Chief



Web posted on Thursday, September 8, 2005











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