Baker Co. residents celebrate new fire department

Baker Co. residents celebrate new fire department
Johnny Long (Source: WALB)
Johnny Long (Source: WALB)
Baker County Manager Sherry Bailey (Source: WALB)
Baker County Manager Sherry Bailey (Source: WALB)
Charles Parker (Source: WALB)
Charles Parker (Source: WALB)

BAKER CO., GA (WALB) - A new fire department is coming to Hawkinstown.

On Thursday, residents in Baker County celebrated the completion of the structure.

County officials said the Baker Fire Department would not have been possible without the support and donations from the community.

"We really needed a fire department because the area is growing and if a fire broke out we had to wait for Newton to come," said Willie B. Carter with the Thankful Baptist Church.

Members of Thankful Baptist Church went to the County Commission and proposed the idea.

In 2014 the commission voted to use SPLOST money for the project.

"But, we had nowhere to put it," said Hawkinstown resident Johnny Long.

So the Thankful Baptist Church did some research.

"This land was for sale and we knew it was a good spot so we said, yeah we will go ahead and purchase it," explained Carter.

County commissioners said that they are thankful for what the church did.

"It would not have happened without the people you see in this room," said Baker County Manager Sherry Bailey.

Bailey said that additional donations and money from SPLOST in 2015 helped build the station.

"Am I happy? Goodness yes. Everyone in the community put a hand into this," said Long.

Charles Parker will be the chief of the fire department. He said having a department in Hawkinstown will drastically decrease response times.

"Five minutes in a mobile home fire is the difference between life and death," explained Parker.

Parker already has 20 volunteers guaranteed to work out of this department.

Now he's looking forward to better serving the community's needs.

"As you can see the entire community and the support does enough alone to let us know we are doing something that makes a difference to them and that makes us feel good," said Parker.

There is still a lot to be done before the fire department officially opens.

City leaders said they hope to get the department up and running by the beginning of the new year.

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