Weddington, N.C. (WJZY) -- After more than sixty years of fighting fires and answering medical calls, Providence Fire Department is moving out and a new one is moving in. The switch happens at midnight Tuesday.
The Town of Weddington says the transition will be seamless, but some who live there are afraid response times will go up with the new department. Neighbors say the Providence Fire Department has become something the community of Weddington has come to rely on.
“These firefighters knew exactly where to go, exactly the street number, how to find it, and helped save our daughter on numerous occasions during a severe asthma attack,” said Joe and Mary Ann DeSimone.
But when the clock strikes midnight Wednesday morning, Providence Fire Department will be without a home. The trucks and gear will go into storage and the volunteer fire fighters will try and find a place at neighboring fire departments.
“There’s going to be a lot of tears shed tonight while we’re here. It’s going to be hard to hear all the trucks check off the air for the final time. We’re all going to pick each other up through this,” said Providence Fire Department Chief Kenny Schott.
The Town of Weddington recently terminated its annual contract with Providence FD claiming the department asked for more money than the town could afford.
“This fiscal year, all the fire departments submitted flat budgets. Providence was requesting a 12 percent increase. The town couldn’t justify that kind of expenses,” said Weddington Mayor Bill Deter.
Now, the fire department of a neighboring town – Wesley Chapel – will take on the responsibility of responding to the entire town of Weddington as well as its own. Wesley Chapel is expected to bring in only half the resources Providence Fire Department had running out of this station. That, plus the fact the newcomers won’t know the area worries neighbors.
“We are afraid if a resident get a medical call that these guys will first have to first look at a map to find out where a particular street is,” said Mary Ann DeSimone.
This will be the third Wesley Chapel Fire Department station in the area. The town still owns the building, but is offering that Wesley Chapel FD buy it.