Florence Fire Chief Charlie Cochran wants to add another fire engine company to a growing district of the city.
Shopping may come to mind when residents think of the Cox Creek Parkway corridor in Florence, but the area also supports its share of residential and industrial development.
A new Publix grocery store anchors one section of retail growth while a planned Wal-Mart will be the centerpiece of the newest retail development. A few houses are going up on the northern perimeter of the corridor as is a new plant for TASUS Corp., in the Florence Industrial Park.
With the growth — and rapid growth in the case of retail — it is a good time for the city to reassess its services.
Fire Chief Charlie Cochran is urging the mayor and City Council to add another engine company to the station at Cox Creek Parkway. He said it would enhance the firefighting capability throughout the city and possibly lower insurance rates.
Florence has an Insurance Services Organization rating of 4, which is considered good. But Cochran said it might be possible to improve that rating to a 3 by adding another fire engine and three firefighters.
Cochran presented his proposal to the council’s Public Safety Committee recently and will bring it to the Finance Committee soon. He said a fire engine would cost about $425,000-$450,000. He said he didn’t have an estimate yet for the salaries and benefits of additional firefighters.
Council President Dick Jordan said the city will weigh the costs against the potential savings.
City officials are wise to consider the fire chief’s proposal. In addition to the costs vs. savings, the council should examine whether the present firefighting ability is adequate to serve the growing corridor.