Wake County closing fire stations

WAKE COUNTY The first of perhaps as many as five rural county fire stations closed Tuesday in Cary.

After three decades, Western Wake Station #2 sits silent.

The rural fire house is closed, now surrounded by city.

"So we kind of got lost in the times," Wake County resident Dave Hathaway said.

Hathaway lives in Old Glossen Estates, one of the county islands within the growing cities of Raleigh and Cary.

Volunteers and part-time crews out of Western Wake #2 were his emergency responders.

"If it volunteers and people have to come from their job and quit what they're doing and come from God knows where, then I guess the answer to that is I'd rather have the city," Hathaway said.

Many originally rural Wake County fire stations are now surrounded by growing cities which have full time professional fire departments.

To save money, Wake County is thinking of closing as many as four of the other remaining county stations.

Emergency officials say they promise not to sacrifice response time and safety to save thousands of dollars.

"If it doesn't make sense to do it, we're not going to close a fire station just to close a fire station," Wake County Fire Director Ray Echevarria said.

Wake County says the closed station answered only 50 calls last year. That's about one per week.

The station did serve about 900 homes outside the Town of Cary. And now Cary will be responsible for emergency calls at about 150 of those homes.

But six miles away, another county fire station will serve the others. But there's early talk of closing that station as well."

Many residents will now get faster emergency response from Cary.

But some, like Hathaway, will get the same rural service, but from farther away.

Western Wake # 2 closed after two years of service.

If other rural stations shut down, it will not happen overnight.

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