SALUDA COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — On Friday afternoon, the Saluda County Fire Service not only was celebrating the groundbreaking of a new fire station but the culmination of a county partnership years in the making. 

According to Luke Downing, Fire Coordinator for the Saluda County Fire Service, the new station will replace the current station in the Old Town community, which is more than 40 years old. 

Firefighters, their families, local elected officials, county department heads, and the public were present next door to the current station at 1409 Newberry Highway in Saluda to commemorate the start of construction on the station, the first fire station in Saluda County to be funded by the Saluda County Council. 

“This new station will honor the history of extraordinary service by the volunteers of the Old Town Fire Department, while also showing our commitment to providing enhanced services as our county continues to grow,” said Saluda County Council Chairman Jim Moore.

The Old Town Fire Department was formed in 1976 and the current station was built more than 40 years ago.

Chief of the Old Town Fire Department Daniel Patterson told those gathering this was the happiest day ever for their fire department, a project Old Town Fire Department, county leadership, and members of the community have been working on for a decade.

An expansion of coverage and the hiring of new members were next on Chief Patterson’s list of “hopes and prayers” for the fire station. Afterword, he joined others across the county who broke ground for the next station a few feet from the current Old Town Fire Department.

According to Fire Coordinator Downing, it is anticipated that the new station will open in the summer of 2023.