• 46°

A dream deferred: New Millers Ferry fire station built 40 years after land donation

In the early 1970s, J.I. Palmer made a donation of land to the Millers Ferry Fire Department so that it could expand its fire coverage. On Saturday, the community gathered at 4590 Long Ferry Road at the new fire station to see that dream finally come to fruition.

The station was about 45 years in the making said Palmer’s grandson, James Potts.

“I’m almost positive he would’ve been satisfied with a shed with two fire trucks and a great big cow bell out front for you to ring. I’m glad that didn’t happen cause now we’ve got this Donald Trump mansion here,” Potts joked of his grandfather and the station.

He said he lived just a few short miles from the station and was tickled to death that it was built. Also in attendance were two other grandchildren of J.I. Palmer — Sue Palmer Fisher and Mackie Ann Palmer Honeycutt.

The station is the second for Millers Ferry and just 2.5 miles from its first station at 2650 Long Ferry Road. The original station was located at what was Ron’s Body Shop. During those days there was an 8-mile response, said Fire Chief Bobby Fox.

He said the original plans were to expand from the original location to where the new station was located, but the older station was built first in 1989.

The project started with grading in September 2012, with construction beginning August 2013. The walls were erected around January 21, 2014 following a groundbreaking ceremony later in the month. Wesley Stokes of Speck Builders was the general contractor while Cozart Lumber & Supply provided the building materials.

Paul Lorenz with Lorenz Architecture did the design work. The Concord company also designed the Liberty Fire station. S.E. Collins Consulting and Engineering also worked on the project.

In order to be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the two-story station had to include an elevator.

The new station cost $830,000 with money that was built into the budget and re-appropriated after the fire department paid off two fire trucks.

“I think it’s very user friendly and was built economically. It was well overdue and it needed to be here a long time ago,” said Firefighter Chet Hedrick.

Firefighter Ashley Overcash, who will spend her time at the new station, said the station is very beneficial to the community.

When the department began looking at coverage, officials realized some homes were not covered within the Millers Ferry fire district, although they were less than 10 miles from the station. The need for another station also was dictated by the Insurance Service Office (ISO), which provides the minimum level of fire protection and qualifies homeowners to be eligible to receive reduced insurance premium rates.

Overcash spoke of the mutual aid Millers Ferry has with Union, the only closest fire department near the station. Although Millers Ferry receives mutual aid, unlike others throughout the county, it is farther away from the nearest fire station.

The second station just opens the fire district up to more coverage, she said.

“We had to become self-sufficient. We don’t ever want to say we could do that alone because Union Fire Department is extremely helpful,” she said.

Reggie Gobble, who joined with Millers Ferry at age 16 and has been with the station for 53 years, remembers the original station being very small.

“It was tight and we started out with two bays,” he said.

After moving from the original station, station 64 was built and “that was a very nice station and still is, but we were outgrowing station 64 and saw the need for this,” Gobble said.

He said the station was going to be a great asset to the community and the majority of the people he’s encountered are appreciative of the station being there.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

Comments

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Nation/World

California population declines for first time

News

GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending

News

Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week