Two N.C. Fire Departments Set for Closing

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. --

Two Mecklenburg County Volunteer Fire Departments are closing at the end of this month.

They have more than $1 million in trucks and gear.

Mallard Creek firefighters are giving all of it to the Huntersville Volunteer Fire Department.

The items consist of a brush fire truck, a small medical vehicle, two fire engines and a tanker. Firefighters said engines alone cost more than $500,000 new and the ones in the case may be worth $200,000 to $300,000 each.

Huntersville has already put some of its decals on the trucks.

One firefighter told Channel 9’s Jason Stoogenke that it’s a $1 million gift.

Huntersville resident Whitney Allder said her neighbor just had a fire this week at her home, so the donation hits close to home.

“Big houses, lot of houses, lots of things could happen. It’s so nice to have them here in case anything does happen and exciting that we do get this exciting free stuff,” Allder said.

Meanwhile, the Newell Volunteer Fire Department also plans to donate its four fire engines to a local fire department, but hasn’t said which one yet.

“Even after we’re gone, our legacy’s going to be there. These trucks will still be helping people somewhere, somehow after we’re gone, and that’s important to us,” said Newell Fire Chief Matt Westbrook.

Stoogenke asked Westbrook is taxpayers paid for the fire engines and he said, “No.”

Newell receives $11,000 tax dollars per month that firefighters spend on fuel, power bills, insurance, maintenance and some paid staff.

Westbrook said Newell bought the vehicles, gear and equipment with other money that they have received to help them in the past and they are now just returning the favor.

Stoogenke learned that state law prohibits volunteer fire departments from selling their equipment. There are required to donate it.

The county is trying to figure out who will protect residents when Mallard Creek and Newell close.

One possibility is to pay the Charlotte Fire Department to cover those areas.

The city will discuss the request on June 27.

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