Thomas County fire service plan approved -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomas County fire service plan approved

February 13, 2007

Thomasville--  The possible switch has been a hot topic in Thomas county lately, but details of the plan were finally approved by the county commission this afternoon.

A fire consultant the county hired says they already have the equipment needed to take over protection, and they're in the process of building a new station. The commission also approved a budget to double their number of firefighters by the end of the summer.

For decades, Matthews Farms has been a fixture in Thomas County.   "We've been in business forty years. In this location, probably twenty-five years," said Matthews 

And all that time, Thomas county has contracted the fire service in that area, fire districts one and two, to the city fire department.  Now that the county has decided to take over protection in those areas, some home and business owners have expressed concerns.

But Matthews feels it may be time for a change.  "The city and the county is growing so fast, there's not harm in enlarging the fire department, and spreading the workload," he said

The county's fire chief Chris Jones says that for people who live in the county, not much will change.  "What were providing is the same equipment, the same number of personnel that are currently being serviced to that area," said Jones.

Tuesday the county commission approved the hiring of eighteen additional firefighters, giving them thirty-six total.  "Our primary goal there is to maintain the current ISO rating that is currently there," said Jones.

If they can maintain that rating, insurance rates will stay the same for people in the county.  The county's also about to begin construction on a Northside fire station, on the Thomasville bypass.

Jones says a key thing they're focused on is keeping the public informed.  "We may have some bumps in the road but we don't for see anything, and we're looking forward to expanding our services," said Jones.

The county has already held one meeting to address the public's concerns last night and are planning more for the future.

The contract between Thomas County and the city of Thomasville ended at the beginning of the year, after the two parties failed to agree on the cost of the coverage. The county commission chairman says he felt the city's price was "extravagant."