PENDER COUNTY -- Yesterday we told you about how recent growth in Pender County has stretched emergency services thin. Now some residents are concerned for their safety and their wallets. Jodi Fucili of Rocky Point says her home insurance rates don't add up. "We assume that we would have a good homeowner's insurance rating for fire because we have a fire hydrant at the end of our driveway," she said. On top of that she's within shouting distance from the Cape Fear River, an infinite water source. Still, she and her neighbors pay close to the highest possible rate for fire insurance. Fucili said, "You were a bit angry knowing that you built your home thinking that, you know, there's going to be a decent rating, home owners insurance rating and there's not." Burgaw Fire Administrator Bill George says it takes more than a hydrant to put out a fire. Especially outside places like Burgaw, where the water system is new and not built for fire fighting George said, "The hydrant system is for filling purposes only, which means we cannot hook a fire engine to that fire plug and spray water." Instead of spraying directly from a hydrant, the water is pumped through a truck, which takes manpower, something many Pender departments outside Burgaw lack. George says all departments are constantly working to make improvements. "We're citizens and we pay taxes just like the citizens do," George said. Still, residents like Fucili are still concerned. She said, "You build your home by a fire hydrant and think that you're going to be safe if something were ever needed and three years later, you're not able to use that fire hydrant if something were to happen." Pender Emergency Services Manager Eddie King says the fire departments are working hard to improve their insurance ratings.
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