SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — After more than 46 years on the job, a Pender County F
fire department finds itself at a crossroads.
Members of the Surf City Volunteer Fire Department say they found out last week the county plans to end its contract for their service, giving members a tough decision to make.
The members of the Surf City Volunteer Fire Department met Monday evening to vote on the department’s future. A future that is still unclear.
For the men and women of Fire Station 1200 saving lives is their way of life.
“This is a family. We are dedicated to one another. We are fireman. We run into fires, not away from fires and you have to depend on your brother. You don’t have a choice but to depend on your brother. We have a strong brotherhood here and we are bound together,” said David Garten.
Monday evening 53 members of the department came together to discuss their future.
“I think we are going to try and merge with Pender EMS. As a group we decided that tonight, but we are hoping to get something a little better from the county officials and see what is going to happen from there,” said Paul Werkmeister.
Both Garten and Werkmeister are members of the volunteer fire department.
Several options on the table included merging with Pender EMS, merging with the Town of Surf City Fire Department or even shutting their doors for good.
“We want the citizens here in this district to know what’s going on. Don’t keep it a secret from them. Let them know. We want the county commissioners to come here and meet with us. Let’s all be honest with one another,” said Garten.
Rep. Mike McIntyre presented the department with a federal grant Monday, which would let them buy much needed equipment.
If the department merges with Pender EMS all the departments equipment maybe sold to cover more than $400,000 in outstanding debt.