When it comes to fire protection in Union County, “no man’s land” no longer exists.
Union County Council voted Tuesday to approve resolutions expanding the coverage areas of the Carlisle, Jonesville, Cross Keys, Santuc, Philippi and Monarch fire districts. With the expansions there is no more “no man’s land,” areas of the county which were previously outside the boundaries of Union County’s 12 fire districts. The expansions, which were requested by the fire districts, cover the following areas:
• Cross Keys — The southwest corner of the county that includes part of Highway 56 and, on the other side of the district, an an area extending from just north of Bishop Road to the county line in the south.
• Jonesville — The northwest section of the county that includes Chapman Road, Kirby Drive, and the part of the Jerusalem Road it did not previously cover.
• Monarch — The area that stretches east from its previous eastern boundary to the county line and includes Neal Shoals Road and part of the River Road.
• Philippi — In the west, the quasi-triangular area between the Monarch, Bonham, and Kelly-Kelton fire districts and, in the southeast, the area that runs along the county line to the John Meador Road.
• Santuc — An area that, in the west, borders the eastern boundary of the Cross Keys district and, in the south, the county line, and that includes Delta Road, Hodges Road, and part of Hill Road.
• Carlisle — The southeastern corner of the county, an area that includes Maybinton Road, Glymph Road, and St Lukes Road.
The county’s other fire districts are Bonham, Buffalo, Kelly-Kelton, Lockhart, Southside and Union.
Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said the goals of the expansion process, which he said got underway more than two years ago, is to, first, extend fire coverage through organized fire districts to all areas of the county and, second, to begin the process of helping residents and businesses in those areas lower their insurance rates.
“Everybody in the county is now under an organized fire district, a process that got underway over two years ago when citizens living those areas petitioned to be included in the service areas of these fire districts,” Sinclair said. “This was the first goal of this process, to get everybody under an organized fire district.
“The second goal is to begin the process of helping citizens manage and reduce their property insurance premiums,” he said. “We’ve seen people who when they were living outside an organized fire district saw their insurance premiums go from $400 to $1,200 a year.”
While being in an organized fire district can help lower insurance rates for homeowners and businesses, Sinclair said it will not happen overnight.
“I want to emphasize that coming under a fire district won’t result in an immediate reduction in insurance premiums,” Sinclair said. “This is the beginning of the process, not the end, but if you’re not in a fire district the insurance rates will continue to rise. So what we’re doing is adding fire protection now and, in the end, helping reduce insurance premiums.”
Sinclair added that the inclusion of all areas of the county in organized fire districts is just a step in the process of providing the maximum possible fire protection for the residents and businesses of Union County.
“We also need to put in place the infrastructure necessary for fire protection such as water line and fire hydrants,” Sinclair said. “It’s going to be a long process, but you have to start.”