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LELAND, NC (WWAY) — A shiny new fire station sits on NC 133 in Leland. It actually opened as a fire-police-rescue station nearly four years ago, but there is not much going on there.

“The station is not manned from a police or fire standpoint, either one, and a lot of that has to do with the economy being what it is,” Leland Fire Chief John Grimes said.

Grimes admits the fire station is relatively empty. That was not the plan when it opened in February 2008.

“It is set up that whatever point the economy comes back around and the funding comes back enough to we can place career personnel in that station,” Grimes said.

Grimes says the department gets money from fire fees homeowners pay annually. New construction adds to that fund, but without new homes being built the money just isn’t there. So why build it in the first place?

“The town did some annexation and determined they needed to provide some additional fire protection,” Leland Town Manager Bill Farris said.

Chief Grimes says the fire station was necessary to improve Leland’s fire rating from a seven to a six.

The land was donated, but even so, there’s a $2.2 million fire station with two engines not being used that often.

“It’s very easy to justify,” Grimes said. “I can speak personally for myself, the change from a seven to a six was $200 for me. If you looked at how many homes are in the Leland area that was covered by that station, I can guarantee you that those monies, in one year, would come really close to paying that station and those engines, and we’re talking three years now. It’s already paid for itself in savings to the taxpayers.”

It’s estimated it would cost about $450,000 a year to fully staff the fire station. The fire department says it does not have that kind of cash, and unless the town pays it, it looks like the station will remain empty at least until the economy turns back around.

Chief Grimes says his department does use the fire station to run its junior programs. Plus, it was staffed with paramedics and firefighters during Hurricane Irene, which is the plan during times of natural disasters.

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24 Comments on "ONLY ON 3: $2M Leland fire station sits empty, seldom used"

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2016 years 2 months ago

1. This fire station is not the station that lowered the rates to a six it was the station located at Lanvale and highway17.
2. The land was donated by the Westport developer he got a big tax break while the town got a piece of property for free, (NOT) there are 110 piles holding up the foundation, why because management never checked with BI to determine if the site was feasible for construction before committing thousands of tax payers dollars to the project.
3. Bill Farris and his crew worked for months on the Lanvale site and proposed to the council… Read more »

John Grimes
2016 years 2 months ago

My name is John Grimes and I am the Chief of Leland Volunteer Fire/Rescue Department, Inc.

My phone number is 910-371-2727
My email address is john.grimes@lelandfirerescue.com
Our website is http://www.lelandfirerescue.com

I am available to answer any question that I can legally answer during the hours of 9a-5p Mon-Fri. If the story did not answer your questions then please feel free to call the station and ask. There is no need to hide behind “alias”, “guest”, or “anonymous”. You are a tax payer and are entitled to the truth. No spin No manipulation just the facts. Call me or email… Read more »

2016 years 2 months ago

I have always wondered why the station was built so far from Leland. Did someone have some property they needed to unload at a huge price, or a big writeoff? Did they have a buddy connected with Leland who received a kickback? I guess the Leland Police could do some paintball practice inside if they don’t use it for anything else.

2016 years 2 months ago

So what your telling me is that the fire rating for insurance went down a point for a station that is not even manned 24/7. Wonder if the state knows about this and well if they did not Im sure they will now.
As a residence of Leland, I’m a lil pissed frankly. Now might cost might go up and thats a problem in this economy. That and we might not have adequite fire cover if my house catchs on fire.

Now I heard rumor of volunteers so is there? If so why did WWAY… Read more »

Just the Facts
2016 years 2 months ago

First off I would like to say that I am not a member of the Leland Fire Department, however, I do have a strong knowledge of this particular situation. I have read this story and all the comments, and there is alot more to this story than what has been said. First off Mr. Farris is not going to say anything that is going to portray the Town of Leland in a bad way, and Chief Grimes can make factual statements (which he has) but has to be cautious of creating an adversarial relationship between the Town and… Read more »

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