NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) -- It was bad news for some volunteer fire fighters.
"We want to serve, but we want to as we do now," said Wrightsboro Volunteer Fire Department's Chief Mike Rose. "We want some say-so in the way that service is heading. Now, we're going to have to follow what county fire dictates the way it's going to be. Before we could hold their feet to the fire because we had our fire districts."
New Hanover County commissioners unanimously voted to consolidate the county's fire districts into two districts - north and south.
"It was a done deal," said Rose. "We knew it was going to happen since July 1st. We were trying to work this thing out. They had their mind made up to being with."
Some volunteers still do not see eye-to-eye on the decision saying the county is trying to take control of every aspect of the service and are doing it at tax payers' expense.
"Regardless of whether or not we do this consolidation, it's going to be more expensive in the future to provide fire protection so yes they're assumption of it's going to cost more is true," said Fire Chief Donnie Hall of New Hanover County. "It will cost more but this consolidation is not going to in effect make the price of providing fire protection more expensive."
Some volunteers also say the consolidation will ruin the deep rooted tradition in our county. They say something you can't put a price on.
The county insists this decision puts everything on the same page, while maintaining tradition.
"Obviously, with a consolidated fire system we will be able to focus on a countywide fire service from a consistency level," said Hall. "Countywide that's not taking anything away from the tradition or heritage, that's been provided here for many, many years."