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Volunteers needed for new station

POSTED: May 27, 2009 4:00 a.m.
Photo/Michele Hester/

Earl Payne, a private contractor, frames the walls for offices and a training area at the new fire station on Burnt Mountain, near the Dawson and Pickens county line.

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With the engines in place and the new station almost complete, there’s still one thing preventing a higher level of fire protection on Burnt Mountain in west Dawson County.

  

“What we’re doing right now is looking for volunteers to man the station,” said Dawson County Emergency Services Assistant Chief Robbie Hughey. “Without the volunteers, all we really have is a building.”

  

A collaboration of Dawson and Pickens counties, the new fire station has one of the most beautiful views in either county, high atop Burnt Mountain.

  

Community members began looking into increased fire protection for the area several years ago and last year were able to facilitate an agreement between Dawson and Pickens counties.

  

Dawson County will provide the engines and train the volunteer staff, while Pickens County built the two-bay station on leased property.

  

While the station would serve residents in both Dawson and Pickens counties, its leadership would fall under Dawson County Emergency Services.

  

“We can’t wait to get the volunteers trained in this station, so it will be up and running, and we can have better fire protection on top of the mountain,” said Dawson County Chief of Emergency Services Lanier Swafford.

  

The area on and around Burnt Mountain, known as the Wildcat Community, is one of only two areas in the county that received an ISO rating of 10 last year, when examiners evaluated fire services in Dawson County. The higher an ISO rating, the more homeowners pay for insurance.

  

The new station on Burnt Mountain would bring most of Dawson County, aside from an area between Hwy. 183 and Sweetwater Juno Road, to a level five ISO rating, said Dawson County Manager Kevin Tanner.

  

Additionally, members of the Wildcat Community are trying to raise $30,000 to address the financial needs of setting up and running the station beyond what Dawson and Pickens counties are able to provide.

  

“We have members of the Wildcat Community ready to volunteer, and they’re out talking to others,” Swafford said.

  

The fire station collaboration is an extension of a mutual aid agreement developed between Dawson and Pickens counties several years ago to provide increased protection on Burnt Mountain.

  

“We’ve always worked well together for the benefit of our citizens,” said Pickens County Sole Commissioner Robert Jones. “This is a good way to help citizens on both sides to give them a better quality of life and more protection. That is what we are all trying to achieve.”

  

“We’re just waiting now for the citizens to put their names in the hat and volunteer,” Jones said.

  

A community event is planned for June 29 to celebrate the completion of the building. Swafford said his hope is to begin a volunteer training class soon after.

  

E-mail Michele Hester at michele@dawsonnews.com.

 

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