Surfside Beach Fire looks to end mutual aid to Horry County

Surfside Beach Fire looks to end mutual aid to Horry County
Source: Erin Edwards
Source: Erin Edwards

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - People who live in some Surfside Beach area communities are concerned about a possible change between Horry County Fire Rescue and the Surfside Beach Fire Department.

Surfside Beach Town Council is considering a measure that would keep the town's emergency vehicles in town limits. That means Horry County emergency responders would be responsible for the Deerfield and Caropines communities.

HCFR officials explained the possible change during a public safety committee meeting Wednesday morning.

That concerned Councilman Gary Loftus, a Deerfield community resident who said Surfside Beach Fire is much closer to his home.

"My main concern is obviously response times," Loftus said.

If Surfside Beach's agreement to keep emergency vehicles within city limits passes, HCFR would be responsible for any emergencies in Deerfield.

Loftus called the proposal "concerning" because those firefighters are further away. The closest HCFR station, he said, is about 15 minutes from his home.

The Surfside Beach station is only five minutes down the street.

In the agreement, Surfside Beach Fire officials said they will still respond to calls at the nearby campgrounds outside of town limits.

"I can understand why they're going to Preswick and the campgrounds because those are beyond our station and the ISO rating requires to be within five miles and that I can understand," Loftus said.

However, he doesn't understand why those same firefighters would not respond to a fire at his home.

"Why drive by me to fight a fire behind me when you won't stop at me? It doesn't make any sense," Loftus said.

This agreement passed a vote by Surfside Beach Town Council back in June, but no changes will be made until Horry County Council is able to vote.

Loftus is hoping the two sides will come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

An attempt to reach out to Surfside Beach Fire officials was unsuccessful.

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