WAGENER, S.C. (WJBF) – A plan to merge two local fire departments is no more. The New Holland Volunteer Fire Department has withdrawn from the proposal to merge with Wagener’s fire department.
“Disappointed but I talked with Chief Jackson and they have their reasons that they withdrew and I understand basically why they withdrew. And there’s some underlying things I can’t disclose,” said Wagener Fire Department Interim Chief Gerald Taylor.
New Holland’s withdrawal comes just two months after the entire Wagener Fire Department was suspended in November. Since then, Gerald Taylor stepped up to be the interim chief.
He said, “There’s no hard feelings. They’re still going to support us the way they always have.”
But recently the nonprofit, Wagener Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Incorporated, was formed.
The organization’s president, Logan Musser explained, “We don’t feel that the fire coverage that is being offered is adequate. There’s a lot of mutual aid departments that are having to step in and fill the void and that is why as a board we decided to make a proposal to provide proper fire protection for the community.”
Right now there are eight volunteer firefighters in Wagener Fire Department, according to Taylor.
He said, “I agree that there is not the manpower or personnel that should be in a volunteer fire department but we are maintaining the services.”
Wagener Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Inc. is seeking to take over the lease for the Wagener Fire Department station. They’re requesting the fire department’s assets and equipment too.
“Running the fire department through that we feel like it offers more transparency to the community than we currently have,” said Musser.
Interim Chief Taylor added he would like to see unity and change discrepancies within.
Continue to stick with us as this story develops.