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Volunteer firefighters oppose Franklin County Fire-EMS Station

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:58 PM EDT
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Glade Hill, Va. (WDBJ) - The Franklin County Board of Supervisors is planning to review construction bids for a new multi-million dollar Fire and EMS station in Glade Hill this week.

However, most of the firefighters don’t want it.

Plans for the station have been in the works since 2018, but firefighters are not happy with the building’s cost or size and want members of the board to vote it down.

Members of the Glade Hill Volunteer Fire Department drew up plans for a new firehouse years ago, but say Franklin County’s current proposal for a combined public safety building is not what they asked for.

“We thought at first that it was going to be to our benefit, but we have learned since then that it’s not,” says volunteer firefighter Lt. Scott Smith. “This has taken a long long time to get where we’re at now just to be railroaded.”

The county has already purchased land at the intersection of Turtle Hill Road and Old Franklin Turnpike for the project, estimated to cost $5.2 million.

Meanwhile, volunteers say the building estimate for the station they proposed was roughly $560k.

“Spending $5.2 million is a waste of taxpayers’ money, 80 percent of us volunteers do not support this building,” says Lt. Smith. “We need the community’s support to get this stopped. We need a no vote tomorrow.”

Members say they have outgrown the current firehouse, needing more space for trucks, equipment, and meetings to be held inside.

Ideally, the firefighters would like to operate out of both stations, keeping trucks at two locations to better serve the public.

“We can do it better, we can do it cheaper, and we can do it in our best interest for our volunteers and for our community,” adds Lt. Smith.

The Franklin County board of supervisors is planning to meet Tuesday afternoon to approve or deny a construction bid for the proposed new station.

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