Local News

Kerr Lake Area to Get Much-Needed Fire Department

Vance County is getting a new fire department for the Kerr Lake area. The firefighters will be responsible for over 30 square miles previously covered by fire departments as far away as 15 minutes.

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VANCE — Vance County is getting a new fire department for the Kerr Lake area. The volunteer fire station has not been constructed yet, but it will eventually house equipment for 26 firefighters.

The fire department will be the primary responder for over 30 square miles that now are covered by firefighters who need to drive as long as 15 minutes to reach a call.

“Minutes are hours. So, you know, if you can cut your response time down by even two or three minutes, that could be somebody's life," Mark Minish, Kerr Lake fire chief, said.

Minish has been asking business owners for donations. The fire department has a fire truck, but needs $150,000 worth of additional equipment.

Minish said there is no shortage of people wanting to join the volunteer fire department.

“We've got them from waiters to waitresses, up to business owners,” Minish said.

Even the community and economic development director for the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments wants to help.

“I'm working on getting the certification as best as I can. My wife tells me she will kill me if I'm up on a ladder with a big hose,” Richard Seekins said.

Once the fire department has more equipment, the state Department of Insurance will be able to certify it. After that, firefighters without previous experience will get state training.

According to the N.C. Fire Marshal's Office, usually only one new fire department is added yearly. This year, however, there are three new fire departments planned throughout the state.

The Kerr Lake Fire Department hopes to be operational by early next year.


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