Cane Bay residents push for new fire station, worry about lack of protection

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Folks living in one of Berkeley County's biggest communities are sounding an alarm tonight over a lack of fire protection.

Land has been set aside for a new fire station in Cane Bay in Summerville, however, the first shovel of dirt has yet to be turned.

Officials want to ask homeowners to help pay to build it.

The sign on a plot of land in Cane Bay says 'future home of the Whitesville Fire Department.'

Folks living in the community say the future should be now.

"The build out is going to be thirty thousand residents and we don't have a fire house within here," Del Webb resident Shirley Berardo said.

Whitesville Rural Fire Department Chief Tim Stephenson says the fire station can't be built yet because his department doesn't have the money in the budget. He says the cost is three million dollars. Stephenson has applied for a loan from the US Department of Agriculture.

Residents and officials are fed up and are running out of patience.

"I'm beside myself," resident Linda Pincus said.

Pincus was shocked to learn there was no fire station in Cane Bay when she moved into Del Webb last December. Pincus narrowly escaped death when her house blew up in back in 1992.

"I went through this. I know what it's like, I know what it is to lose everything," Pincus said.

"We're sitting on an explosive keg right now," Del Webb resident David Berns said. "This is just a dangerous situation for everybody in the community."

Right now, the closest fire station to Cane Bay is on Gants Road. It's about nine miles away. Residents at Cane Bay fear the distance from here to there may soon result in a death.

"I don't want anybody to die, especially children," Berardo said.

Stephenson plans to ask homeowners if they are willing to see their fire protection fees increase from $75 to $175 a year to help pay back the loan.

"I don't mind, that's nothing for a life, that's the way I look at it," Berardo said.

Berkeley County Council is scheduled to discuss the status of the fire station at a meeting on September 25.

Copyright 2017 WCSC. All rights reserved.