Station issue under fire

By: By Chase Jordan -

By Chase Jordan

The Garland Board of Commissioners discuss topics during a Tuesday meeting. Garland Board of Commissioners discuss topics during a Tuesday meeting.

GARLAND — The town’s firefighters have a vision to build a new station and are seeking a little help from the commissioners to make it happen.

Following a presentation to build a new water line for a new facility, Chief Thomas Norris discussed the project and how it can benefit Garland.

“The fire department is out here doing this by ourselves,” Norris said. “This is not a town deal.”

Ray Potts spoke on behalf of Jackson Builders and the Garland Fire and Rescue Department. During his presentation, he requested that the town assist with installing a water line to take care of plumbing and other needs. The estimated cost of the work is more than $11,000. Some of the commissioners thought the price was a little steep.

One of the needs for the building is a sprinkler system, a mandate from local fire marshal officials.

“We have to apply with the county,” Norris said.

Mayor Winifred Murphy mentioned how the budget was already approved for the year and a certain amount is set aside each year for the department. Murphy said they would like to have a complete picture of everything needed, since there were some discrepancies with details.

Norris said the best thing for the town is for the commissioners to approve $11,000 for the water line project.

“We’ll work together anyway we can, but people need to realize that we’re only volunteers and the way we get our money is taxes that people pay,” Norris said.

While addressing the board, Norris said that $5,000 is placed in an account each year and benefits the town. He believes the new location can benefit Garland as well by making sure everyone gets a tax or insurance break.

“By putting it (there), we will be able to expand on out,” he said about providing more service.

The tax district is 6 miles from the department’s current location on Church Avenue. That means the area from Greensbridge Golf Course to the river bridge will receive fire protection from the department.

“By building the station, we’ll be able to move on up the road a little bit to take in ‘No man’s land,’” the chief noted.

Jackson Builders and fire department officials hope to be finished sometime in December. If constructed, the new facility may decrease homeowners policies as well. Certain residents receive breaks if they live closer to certain locations.

“As we get better, it reduces our insurance,” Norris said. “When we reduce the insurance, sure we have to pay a little more money for fire protection. But who do we want to give our money to? Do we want to give it to an insurance company or keep it here in Garland where you have a nice fire station.”

He continued and mentioned how the building can benefit future generations and indicated the importance of saving money.

“Anyway we can save money … that’s my responsibility,” Norris said.

Limited details were released, but according to building permits, the plans call for 10,800-square-foot building on West Second Street. Norris said the change will allow the department to place every vehicle in the building.

“You drive up here and you see our fire trucks sitting in the woods or up under a shelter,” Norris said about the existing facility and vehicles damaged from being outside. “We want to look good like other fire departments. We want to grow, we don’t want to move backwards.”

Murphy said everyone is excited about the construction.

“I’m looking forward to it,” the mayor said.

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.