N.C. Firefighters Seek Funds For Overnight Staff

WEDDINGTON, N.C. --

A tight budget could mean delayed response times for a local Union County town.

Dozens of residents Sunday night discussed funding for a volunteer fire department that works in the town of Weddington.

The fire department is asking for more money so they can keep firefighters at the station overnight. If they don't get the money, crews would have to go to the fire station before they go to an emergency scene, firefighters are arguing.

According to Deputy Chief Steve Carow, the town of Weddington has been funding the fire department's staffing since 2005, but now the Providence Volunteer Fire Department wants an additional $450,000 to upgrade the building so it meets current codes to allow firefighters to stay overnight in the station.

Weddington's town council verbally approved the request in April, Carow said, but then in a June 13 meeting, they withdrew their support and voted not to provide funding. At the same time, the fire department's funding was cut from $293,000 to about $235,000, he said.

Carow said the fire department would still have volunteers to respond to fires and other emergencies, but responses are delayed because firefighters have to travel from their homes to the fire station and then to the emergency.

At Sunday night's Board of Directors meeting, all of the board members were present as well as nearly 40 members of the public. Ultimately, public support will be the determining factor in whether the fire department moves to round-the-clock coverage.

The Weddington Town Council is expected to vote on the issue Monday night.

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