Thanks WWAY for covering this story, but know there is much more to this than the town manager or Chief Grimes is talking about. The station was planned for and approved by the Town of Leland officials, but let it first be known; Chief John Grimes isn't a town employee. In fact, the Leland Fire Department isn't a town-owned or town-administered fire department. The department is a combination fire-rescue-ems department consisting of mostly volunteers and some paid-personnel, which includes Chief Grimes. The Town of Leland augments their budget, but the department and it's staff are wholly commanded and administered by Chief Grimes. The majority of the apparatus (or the fire trucks)were purchased by the town, as were the ambulances used by their emergency medical division. The new fire stations (yes there is another new station, although it wasn't discussed in the news story) were built and paid for by loans secured by the Town of Leland, making them town-owned facilities. The station in your story is on Highway 133 and the other station in located on Lanvale Road off of Highway 17 South near Brunswick Forest. That station isn't staffed either. Ask Town Manager Farris and Chief Grimes about that station and see the answers you get. The main things you need to ask; How did the town qualify for a reduced insurance rating from the North Carolina Department of Insurance - Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) when their stations aren't staffed 24-hours a day? What are the response times to the areas served by those stations? Are there qualified volunteers living close by to staff those stations or does the primary fire, rescue, and emergency medical responses for those areas come from the main station located on Village Drive (north of Highway 17)?
The town does have a responsibility to provide services to annexed areas, but are they providing EQUAL services that are being provided to other areas of town? The answer is a clear and resounding NO! Ask Mr. Farris if there are plans for the town to take over the day-to-day administration of the fire department as a town-administered department so they can better manage this department and it's personnel? Where did all the tax-monies go to build the stations, buy the apparatus, and run the department? It is a large amount of money to be spent on personnel, but what is the price of protecting the taxpayers, and VOTERS? The citizens of Leland and the surrounding service-area deserve better from their town administration and their fire department. What they really deserve right now is the truth and they didn't get that portrayed in this story. Tell the truth and make the necessary changes before someone is needlessly and seriously injured, property is needlessly lost, or God forbid, someone looses their life.
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