HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A record number of calls for Horry County Fire Rescue (HCFR) as the summer tourist season comes to an end on the Grand Strand.
HCFR spokesperson Tony Casey said the Labor Day weekend was very busy for them, like they’d expected. However, with the numbers up throughout the entire county, he said it’s unprecedented.
“A couple years ago we hit 55,000 calls for the entire year and we’re probably going to hit that very soon,” Casey said.
This past week, HCFR crews ran an average of 238 calls per day. Casey said they’ve run more than 51,000 calls so far this year, making it a record year for them.
“2020 was the busiest year we’ve ever seen, but 2021 — I don’t know if it was a bottleneck of people getting out there and being more busy, hence us having more calls to run, or the county’s just growing that quickly,” Casey said.
HCFR just hired more first responders to combat the growth. There are also plans to build a new fire station near Highway 90.
“This is something that’s been in the works,” Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught said. “We’ve been planning, it’s been on our calendar for three years now to do it. We just brought it up to the top of our capital improvements list. When we opened up international drive, it opened up Highway 90 to so much development so we sort of had to move things up a bit.”
Vaught said the new fire station would be near Red Bluff Road and Highway 22. He said it’s much needed in that area.
“The last count I saw was that Highway 90 was about 85% of 90% capacity, so that just gives you an indication of what’s happened out on Highway 90 and how intense the growth has been out there,” he said.
Casey said it is still in final negotiations, to his knowledge, and hopes that something can be announced soon.
Vaught said the new station would give them access up and down Highway 22 and Highway 90. He said it’s in the planning process and that a signed contract is settled, they’re just doing due diligence now.