City firefighters will be staying on East Broad Street in a temporary shelter while S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) reconstructs the intersection at Orange and Wells Street beginning January 2.
All City apparatus, including the most recently acquired Tower 1, will be relocated during this construction process. On-duty firefighters must remain with their vehicles and tools to stay at the ready for whatever emergency comes across the radio. All the fire trucks and 24-7 personnel will move to the old Cotton Gin Warehouse on East Broad Street. Crews will be housed in a rental trailer.
Fire service will not be negatively impacted, but rather be bolstered as East Broad Street location is more centrally located than the Orange Street station.
“We will be here to serve the citizens whether the trucks leave from East Broad Street or anywhere in our fire district. Period. Our City will continue to be protected,” Fire Chief Pat Cavanaugh said.
The firefighters are expected to be back home in early March, depending on the construction timeline and weather.
“In an emergency, call 911, and dispatch will send the appropriate first responders to your location. You should never attempt to knock on the fire house door before you call 911,” said Lisa Rock, public information officer for the City. “We want this information out there, so individuals won’t try to seek help at 301 Orange Street because it’s unlikely someone will be there to assist them.”
The chief, assistant chief, and secretary will be manning the station on Orange Street for administrative purposes only during regular business hours while construction is ongoing.
Mayor Curtis Boyd, who owns the block at the corner of Russell and East Broad will allow the Fire Department to use his warehouse for truck storage and property for the rental trailer.
“Thanks to Chief Pat Cavanaugh, Assistant Chief Charles Bailey, the Fire Department command staff, our dedicated employees, and volunteers in working to make this transition to the temporary home,” said City Manager Howard Garland. “Thanks to Mayor Boyd, Senator Gerald Malloy, Rep. Robert Williams, and SCDOT’s Kyle Berry in making the fix on Orange and Wells Street possible.”
The City has been in discussions with SCDOT to find a remedy for the intersection plagued by sinkholes caused by abandoned storm drain lines for at least five years. SCDOT begins the work the first week of January and expects to complete the job by March.