News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Wednesday, Oct. 30th, 2013
AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW) -- As South Augusta continues to grow, the Augusta Fire Department is working to keep up.
"When I was growing up it was 8 fire stations downtown and now we're 19 fire stations," said Sgt. Chris Thompson, who's been with the department for 17 years.
The newest stations are in South Augusta where Thompson has been for most of his career.
"It's unreal how much it's grown," he explained. "We used to ride down Willis Foreman Road and it was pasture and farmlands and now it's subdivisions."
With every passing day, more houses go up and that means more calls to the station.
"It's increased dramatically," said Thompson. "I would probably say double to triple the amount we ran 16 years ago."
"We need to adjust our resources," added Fire Chief Chris James. "Put more fire stations out in South Augusta. Put more fire apparatus and personnel out so we can have the adequate response time to assist our citizens."
This week Chief Chris James added the newest piece of equipment to Station 19, an aerial truck. This is the first time ever that one has been stationed outside Bobby Jones.
"There's areas out here that need a truck a little quicker than you can get a truck that is stationed on Richmond Hill Road,"said James.
Just one step to save precious time.
"If you don't adjust your resources then your response time will be delayed," explained James.
It could even save a life.
"You got industry out here," explained Thompson. "Sometimes you can't always get a hose in, but you can stick the ladder in and flow a lot of water."
It could even save you money. If you live within 5 miles of a fire station, your homeowners insurance is lower.
They are hoping to work a new station into the budget soon, potentially out Gordon Highway.
Some in south Augusta are actually closer to the Hephzibah fire station than the Augusta one. In order to keep their insurance down the cities are working out an Automatic Aid agreement. That will be heading to the Augusta Commission soon.