Duplin to open two new rescue stations
By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on October 21, 2005 1:48 PM
KENANSVILLE -- A shortage of volunteers has caused another rescue squad to close in Duplin County, and county commissioners have agreed to open two new rescue stations.
The new ambulance stations will be at Rose Hill and Kenansville, bringing the number of county-operated stations to eight.
Volunteers who were responding to emergencies nights and weekends in Rose Hill notified county officials recently that they will not be able to continue answering calls. The ambulance that used to be stationed at Kenansville was moved to Warsaw, where the volunteers stopped operating last year. Kenansville residents have complained about slow response time ever since.
Rose Hill Fire Chief Clay Herring told commissioners that membership and morale have dropped among the volunteers. The volunteer squad has only six active members left.
"It's a sad time," he said. "We were once of the first and we were the best in the county."
He warned commissioners they will be facing the same problem with firefighters over the next few years.
Emergency Medical Services Director Curtis Brock told commissioners that volunteerism is at an all-time low.
He said it will take at least two months to get the two new stations up and running.
"Due to the number of resources we have lost in the county, we had to do something," he said. "There is a lot of work ahead, as much paperwork as anything, but we are up for the challenge."
He said the volunteers from Rose Hill have demonstrated a great deal of dedication, despite being short-staffed.
"It is impossible for any squad to continue to function with this number of personnel," he said. "I personally do not know how they were able to maintain as long as they did under these conditions, and I applaud them and their dedication."
County Manager Fred Eldridge said the two stations could go on line in December at a cost of $416,000. He estimated the cost to get each one up and running from December through June would be about $208,000.
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