Dorchester County takes action on concerns about emergency gate
ST. GEORGE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester County Council voted Monday night to move an emergency gate connecting two neighborhoods into the county’s jurisdiction.
Residents of Carrington Chase at Lakes of Summerville and Greenhurst say the gate, which connects the two communities, is supposed to allow first responders into either community by using their siren.
But Charles Tomasello, a Carrington Chase resident, says the gate has held some first responders up in the past.
“We also had a house fire,” Tomasello said. “And we do know for a fact that the fire department came to the gate and couldn’t get the gate to open. And they had to turn around, get back up on Miles Jamison, cut through the Lakes of Summerville and come down. In the meantime, the house pretty much, half of it burnt down.”
David Williams, who lives in Greenhurst, says he has seen this gate work for first responders. He says he does not want the gate to be removed due to the potential for increased traffic.
“It’s worked great for our emergency services: fire, EMS and police,” Williams said. “But as far as being left open all the time and taken down, that would be very detrimental to our neighborhood and the other side as well.”
Although this issue was not even on Monday night’s agenda, enough people were concerned to bring it forward. After hearing from both sides, Dorchester County Council went into executive session and made the decision to take the gate out of Summerville’s jurisdiction and move it 10 to 15 feet over outside of the city limits, relocating it to Dorchester County’s jurisdiction.
Councilman David Chinnis says the county will now maintain and operate this gate to make sure it is working properly and that all Dorchester County first responders will know how to use it.
“It provides a level of public safety,” Chinnis said. “I think overarching public safety. So, it does more than what a lot of folks say and it seems to have worked. The folks that live at the gate all told me that it works. So, I’m, it’s allowed us to, again, provide a level of public safety in these neighborhoods that sometimes don’t have it.”
When asked about his response to the gate apparently not working, Chinnis says the problem could be resulting from lack of proper response time. However, he says he promises that all first responders will be made aware of how to use this gate properly in the future.
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