Williamston Fire Chief recommends town plan for backup pumper and building expansion

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In a special called meeting Tuesday, Williamston Town Council approved a resolution to formally request that the Anderson County Transportation Committee (ACTC) allocate funding and provide assistance to pave several roads in the town.

Williamston Mayor Mack Durham said the request was placed on the agenda so that it could be sent in by the deadline, which was midnight Tuesday.
The request includes paving of College Street, Attaway Street, Minor Street, Prince Street, C Street, Dove Street, Lee Street, Sullivan Street and Mattison Drive.
Durham said the request is the first step in getting the projects on the paving list and if approved by the ACTC, the next step is getting cost estimates, approval by the town and ACTC, getting bids and letting of bid. The process may take up to a year, he said.
Durham said the town has two active applications the town with the ACTC. One paving list had already been approved and is currently in progress, another is in the process. This will be the third active application the town has, he said.

Council also heard a recommendation from Fire Chief Steve Ellison to begin looking into an expansion of the fire station.

The Williamston Fire Department has been working steadily to make the all volunteer fire department one of the best in the state. In 2014 they received a Class 3 ISO rating, the highest ever scored for an all volunteer department in the state at that time. They improved on their recent ISO audit score by adding a ladder truck and a paid position, however they just missed getting to a Class 2.

Ellison said the recent ISO audit showed that the fire department needs to have a back up pumper to meet requirements to increase their rating. But he said, “We have no place to put it.”
Chief Ellison request the council consider a new building “as an approved project and to seek funding for it.”
Ellison said he has a preliminary quote of approximately $68,000 for a 3000 sq. ft. metal building and recommended options for council to consider including using general fund reserves to either buy a pumper or add to the fire department, which he said would strengthen a later application for a USDA loan for a pumper.
The quote does not include garage doors or concrete, he said. He presented a photo of the Hopewell Fire Department and another by an engineer for possible designs for the new addition.
“The fire department has been neglected for so many years,” Ellison said. “We need to do a little catching up.”
He said the addition would be located directly behind the fire station and would have three doors on the front.
Chief Ellison said his recommendation is a long range plan, hopefully that could be in the next three years.
Some current funding for the fire department will become available soon. The department has four more payments on one truck and three more years of payments on the ladder truck, he said.
In addition for space for a new pumper truck, Ellison said the new edition would provide space to house an air trailer and the town’s historic 1936 fire engine.
“We need space and a place for a spare truck, which cost us on the ISO this time. There is no backup. If a pumper is down, it’s down until we get it fixed.”
Ellison said the town currently relies on a 1992 model and 1998 model pumpers. The ladder truck is a 2001 model.
The department also has a truck to pull the air trailer and the burn trailer when needed, he said.
Ellison said the department had made some improvements recently including new paint, new floors, two new TVs, replacement of HVAC on one side and a heater in the back.
The current building was constructed in 1980 and has seen little improvements since then.
The department has one person there every day except two days a month, Ellison said.

 

Chief Ellison said the department is applying for a Volunteer Safety Grant of $30,000, which he said if awarded to them, will be used to purchase a new attack hose. The ones currently being used were purchased in 1998.
He said the department was also able to secure some office furniture and file cabinets from the Ryobi building after Anderson County Council Representative Cindy Wilson let him know the items were available.