Firefighter support group says IOP is understaffed to fight a fire at new hotel

VIDEO: Firefighter support group says IOP is understaffed to fight a fire at new hotel

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Plans for a new hotel at Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms have gotten the attention of a firefighter support organization.

The Professional Firefighters Association of South Carolina says the city’s fire department is understaffed to handle a call at the new hotel and worry someone could get hurt or killed.

The hotel is scheduled to open in 2021. It will have 153 rooms and cover four acres.

Bill Pesature is a former Isle of Palms firefighter and is currently the vice president of the Professional Firefighters Association of South Carolina.

He says the fire department has a big problem right now, not enough firefighters. He says that could be a huge problem If there’s a fire at the new hotel.

“When that hotel opens are they gonna hire more staff to come take care of that hotel or are they gonna bring them from Boardwalk Inn? They’re gonna bring them more staff so that’s what the department has to do,” Pesature said.

He’s concerned about the safety for firefighters and hotel guests.

“We understand there are risks in what we do. But we want to be taken care if in performing our risks. We want to know that we have the right amount of people behind us in the event something happens, that they’re there to take care of us,” Pesature said.

Pesature says the fire department assigns only two firefighters to each truck and that many other departments have four firefighters per truck.

Isle of Palms City Administrator Desiree Fragoso says there are enough firefighters to respond to a fire at the hotel. Fragoso says ten firefighters are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week and that the department has an automatic mutual aid agreement with several departments.

Pesature insists more firefighters are needed.

“You got the vehicles there which have a lot of empty seats," he said. "They put six seats in a vehicle for a reason. Let’s start filling them up and start putting people in those seats.”

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