JALAPA — Those in the I-26 and Jalapa Road area will get quicker fire service with the addition of a new station.
The Bush River substation is now equipped to provide the area with service.
Bush River Fire Chief Blair Long said the area between Bush River and Whitmire did not have a fire station in the area.
Long and other firefighters in the community would have to drive over three miles to the Bush River Fire Station for equipment and then head back to the scene.
“There was a big gap in the coverage and now we can speed up our response times by over 10 minutes,” said Long.
Long adds that 50 percent of the department’s calls are in the I-26 and Jalapa Road area.
A substation in the Sumter National Forest would have been ideal and have provided a wider coverage area but Long said getting the property to build the station on was not possible.
The new station also gives many residents in the area a better fire rating on their homes and property. Before the station was up and running the area had a fire rating of 10, which equals no fire service and now they have a better rating of a seven.
Long said the better rating will lower in the property insurance premiums for some residents in the area. But he adds the ratings will vary by insurance company.
Local residents Sue and Ernie Counts donated the land for the station, which is now named after the family. In addition they have two sons and a grandson as members of the Bush River Fire Department.
The new station is equipped with a new fire truck that was recently purchase by Newberry County and another older truck.
Long said he hopes to also recruit other members of the community to be involved in the department as volunteers, drivers and for support.
Anyone who is interested in donating money or time to the local fire departments and rescue squads can do so by calling 321-2135, said Long.