Florence County Council approves nearly $1 million in funding for two fire departments

Pee Dee

FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Florence County Council approved the use of nearly $1 million from its penny sales tax to go to two local fire departments.

Some of that money will go to replacing Olanta Rural Fire Department Station Two in Scranton. $25,000 was approved to purchase land for the location of a new fire station. Chief Jimmy Coker with Olanta Rural Fire said the station is not big enough to get the job done.

“You could say it’s a one car garage type carport,” Coker said. “This new station will house a pumper, tanker, brush truck and any other items that we need.”

Coker said it is important to be able to store more trucks because his crews often have to bring water with them to fight a fire.

“In that area where they don’t have hydrants, they’ll have more water supply and a quicker time frame,” Coker said.

He said the trucks planned to go to the new station will be able to hold 4,500 gallons of water.

The department has benefitted from the penny sales tax before. Coker is still awaiting the arrival of a new tanker truck. He recently received a brush truck, which is still under construction.

He hopes the improvements won’t just help residents in case of an emergency, but may also help their wallets.

“If we can’t meet the need and keep that water there, then we’d have a higher rating, and their insurance premium would go up,” Coker said.

Coker said he has wanted a new station for a while, but it was a matter of funding.

“This time we came up and we were approved for it, so we’re going to hope for the best and move forward,” Coker said.

Coker said he also hopes to build a training ground at the new station. Howe Springs Fire Department was approved for funding as well. That department will receive two tanker trucks and a rescue vehicle, totaling $959,000.

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