SC fire dept. gets new headquarters after flooding
The fire department building was severely damaged in floods in October; the new building will be more centrally located and will be a hub for the county's fire and EMS departments
By Christina Cleveland
NEW HOLLAND, S.C. — The New Holland Volunteer Fire Department now has a new home after its headquarters was flooded during South Carolina’s historic rainfall in October.
The volunteer fire department – which serves the New Holland community and surrounding area within a 80-square-mile district – announced this month it has purchased the Aiken County Board of Education Area 4 office building, 2243 Old 96 Indian Trail, for its new headquarters.
Due to “severe structural damage,” the department’s board decided not to refurbish the building as a headquarters and had since been searching for a new location, according to a news release sent from the fire department.
The fire department had quotes as high as $70,000 to repair the flood damage and bring the building up to code, said Catherine Lee, the department’s secretary and treasurer.
“These quotes did not include some structural issues or having to mitigate the chances of future flooding due to being in a low-lying area,” she said.
The board stated in the release, the plan is to make its new headquarters a “hub for the county in East Aiken through partnerships” with Aiken County Emergency Management Services, Aiken County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
There also are plans to erect a building with bays for fire trucks and other equipment on the new property, Lee said.
“We plan on having everything ready in time for our annual open house in October,” she said.
The department’s community expansion first includes New Holland’s headquarters, which it states will provide 97 percent of all District 18 residents’ coverage within 5 miles of a fire station.
Other parts of its expanded services include a radio repeater for emergency services as back up for Aiken County dispatch and South Carolina’s Amateur Radio Emergency Services, a community classroom for training, and smoke detector distribution in partnership with the Aiken County chapter of the American Red Cross.
Services also include being a rest station for emergency personnel at the east end of the county, a county and state distribution and response center during emergencies, a rabies vaccination site for east Aiken County in partnership with Aiken County Animal Control, and an election poll location.
The board said the services “will aid in making this rural section of Aiken County a safer and better place to live and work,” thanking the community along with Aiken County Council member Kathy Rawls, District 1; Council Chairman Ronnie Young; state Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken; Emergency Management Division Director Paul Matthews; Sheriff Michael Hunt; and the Aiken County Board of Education for their support.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you,” said Chief Dennis Jackson. “This new headquarters will allow us to provide a lot more needed services to the area.”
Rawls also recognized Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford and the School Board for allowing the department to buy the building.
“Dr. Alford was very kind to allow the NHFD to use this building at no charge following the ‘flood’ in October when the NHFD’s building was ruined by the standing waters,” Rawls said in statement. “This purchase also helps NHFD be more centrally located in their fire coverage area.”
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