SENECA, S.C. (WSPA) – The Seneca Fire Department has seen demands and expenses increase throughout the years, but their budget has stayed the same.
Now they’re asking for more funding.
Not only are their firefighters going to emergencies within city limits, but through a contract with Oconee County, they also go to calls in unincorporated communities across Oconee County, because of lack of resources in those areas.
“Just as of today, we’ve already turned 2,585 calls,” said Seneca Fire Chief Richie Caudill.
Since agreeing to give fire services county-wide, the city said call volume has jumped way up.
“Over 50% of the calls we respond to are in unincorporated, contracted areas,” said city administrator Scott Moulder.
In addition, Caudill said everything is way more expensive.
“Just a set of gear is $3,000. A set of tools to extricate people from car wrecks is going to run $25,000 to $30,000,” Caudill said.
Caudill said it has been tough on their wallet and their crew, but the city said they’re hoping to get some relief soon.
“We feel like, in order to continue to provide services in the county territory, there needs to be some additional funding,” Moulder said.
The city is now asking the county for a new contract that would include more money for the department to expand.
“We’ve looked at the opportunity to build a second station, somewhere near the [U.S. Highway] 123 corridor,” Caudill said. “We can buy the stuff we need and not have to nickel and dime some days to try and get it purchased and buy. I think the funding will absolutely provide better protection for everybody involved.”
The city said there’s six months left in the old contract and they do expect the county to approve the new one.