Fire department banking on federal grant


JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) – The Charleston Fire Department hopes to build a new fire station on Johns Island and is hoping a multi-million-dollar grant will help them staff it.

The new Station 23 will be at the intersection of Maybank Highway and Wildts Battery Boulevard. Plans call for the new station to have two units: an engine company and a ladder company.

“In that city geographic area, there’s a pretty substantial gap where the city lacks some fire protection, so we have plans to grow that area and make sure those areas are covered,” said Deputy Fire Chief Jason Krusen.

Krusen says that creates a substantial cost between the construction and personnel. The city of Charleston applied to FEMA for approximately $4.5 million in funding through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant program.

Krusen says the new station is necessary because there is currently only one Charleston Fire station on Johns Island. That station is located on Bohicket Road.

“Johns Island is literally an island. When we separate them, those resources are very limited to be able to provide a considerable amount of protection to the residents,” Krusen said. “The more resources we can keep there, or staged in that geographic region, it’s going to make it much safer.”

Krusen says he wants people to know that resources are adequate now with their other fire partners but they’re looking ahead and preparing for future development…so they don’t have to play catch up when the time comes.

“That’s really what our effort is, is to try to plan for these, so when those call volumes become excessive, we already have the resources there to address them,” he says.

Even if the department doesn’t receive the funding, the station will still be built. But Krusen says the funds would get those resources in place sooner.

“We can actually get the crew in place and the apparatus in place before the new fire station comes online,” Charleston City Councilmember Karl Brady of District Five said. “So that there’s actually an actual apparatus that’s staffed on Johns Island that can begin providing the additional protection that we identified, and we know we need on Johns Island.”

Brady says that grant could take one to two years to get approved.

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