WARWICK, GA (WALB) - What sometimes takes years has happened in a matter of days, as Worth County moves with lightning speed to secure a fire station in Warwick, to serve citizens in the northern part of the huge county.
As of noon Wednesday, the Warwick Fire Department was open for business. Worth County commissioners decided to open, equip, and man the station without the go-ahead from Chairman Mike Cosby.
People who live in this area call this a monumental day. The fire station they fought for in Warwick is open, but not everyone was on board with opening it so soon.
"Two firefighters here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days," said Captain Tom Whittington.
It didn't open without some controversy. The fire department planned to open the station Monday, but County Commission Chairman Mike Cosby said it wasn't ready. He sent a letter on behalf of the board of commissioners ordering it not to open.
"Was sent out last week by the chairman saying to stop what we were doing, all the equipment is on the truck. Its been ready to go. We had volunteers up here and we would not had a truck up here that is not safe for volunteers," said Bettye Bozeman.
Commissioner Bozeman says it's time to move forward. "The station is already here, the truck and living quarters are already here. This is the first place we needed to start," said Bettye Bozeman.
Commissioner Cosby declined an on camera interview, but says he's 100% behind the opening of the Warwick Fire department. He says the truck needed maintenance and the necessary equipment, and he wanted to make sure staffing issues were worked out.
Regardless of the letter, supporters showed up to open Station 14. "He's not a dictator, he can't tell the commissioners what to do," said Bettye Bozeman.
In the last five days, fires destroyed two homes in the area as firefighters came from Sylvester.
"Now were going to be down to a 3 or 4 minute response time for most of the places around here" said Tom Hunt.
The Warwick Fire Department will serve a 5 mile area in the northern part of the county.
People in the community are also raising $30,000 to help pay for upgrades to the truck and maintenance.
In the past, fire engines had to make a nearly 20-mile run from Sylvester to fire calls in the Warwick area.