Beaufort News

Beaufort, Port Royal consider joint fire department headquarters

Beaufort and Port Royal plan to explore the possibility of a new, joint fire station in Mossy Oaks that could serve as the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department's central headquarters.

The councils of both municipalities discussed the idea Monday during a joint meeting after a presentation from fire Chief Sammy Negron.

The department's current headquarters sits on Ribaut Road near the intersection of Boundary Street.

"Ideally we would like to move the central headquarters to a mid-location between the city and town," Negron said. "It's a priority for us. ... It will definitely strengthen our relationship operating as one fire department."

The city has $1.5 million budgeted for a new station, with funds coming largely from general obligation bonds issued for the city's new municipal complex and upgrades to the fire department's existing headquarters, Negron said.

Beaufort City Councilman Mike Sutton said the city and town could look at joint grant opportunities as well.

"We need to keep thinking about how we can partner," Sutton said. "When you have two municipalities working for the same thing, you're more likely to get heard."

The idea still "needs a lot of study," said Port Royal Town Councilman Vernon DeLoach.

City manager Scott Dadson suggested a committee of both city and town representatives look at possible locations for a new headquarters.

The department has been scouting the area, Negron said, although he said he didn't have any specific locations yet.

The city's existing station on Mossy Oaks Road is nearing the end of its lifespan, Negron said.

Beaufort awarded Servpro a $2,500 contract to fix the structure's leaking roof while it decides if it wants to build a new headquarters in the area, Negron said.

Servpro also will perform about $42,200 worth of repairs at the central headquarters on Ribaut Road, Negron said.

Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services, currently located at the end of Depot Road, has said it would be interested in moving into the Ribaut Road fire station if the city vacated, Negron said.

The city then could consider a new, smaller station in downtown Beaufort, Negron said.