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New fire stations plan moving forward

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The planning continues for two new fire stations in Wilmington.

The Wilmington City council listened to a presentation from the Wilmington Fire Chief Buddy Martinette on station reconfiguration Tuesday night.

The plan includes building two new fire stations and demolishing four old ones. The two new stations will go on Cinema Drive and Shipyard Boulevard. Martinette said the lowest bid for the Cinema Drive station came in at more than $3 million. That's higher than expected. So, the City Council must review the proposal again at its Aug. 5 meeting, and award bids then.

The plan comes with some controversy. Donald Ragavage, the 4th District Vice President with the Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics of North Carolina, said it will increase response times and decrease safety.

"The safety issue is the firefighters are going to get on the scenes later with EMS calls. It's crucial that we get in there within four to six minutes," Ragavage said.

Martinette said the department will work hard to continue to keep response times low with the station changes. He added that there won't be a staff reduction. However, some firefighters will move to other stations.

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