CARRBORO – The White Cross Volunteer Fire Department is expanding to better provide safety to the houses in its district.

Currently White Cross plans to renovate its current facility on Old Greensboro Rd. and build a new station on Neville Road.

White Cross Board of Directors president, Tony Blake explains the reason for the expansion.

“We’re out of space and we needed to expand our building, now, we realized that years ago and decided to take advantage of USDA funds at a very low rate” Blake commented.

Blake says White Cross plans to use U.S. Department of Agriculture loans only to renovate their current station, and will use the amount the county allots for building the new station on Neville Road.

On June 4, White Cross had a meeting with the CountyCommissioners to discuss the plans to build the new fire station and hear concerns from people in the area.

“Yes, we believe that it falls within the budget, and that was what we went to talk with the County Commissioners, and showed them our figures; but we believe that there is a good value for the residents here” Blake said.

Some people have expressed concerns over building the new fire station in a residential area. Blake says the White Cross Fire Department heard several of these concerns at the Commissioners’ meeting and responded to the people and commissioners with a letter answering many questions.

He says White Cross plans to hold a community meeting when time permits to address any additional concerns.

The location for the new building took a couple years to find, and Blake says will have positive benefits for more than 500 houses in the White Cross district.

“We looked at several parcels of lands over two years and none of them met the criteria, and so the Neville Road location was by far the best location we could find” Blake said.

One of the benefits for 500 houses in the White Cross district is a lower insurance rating. In North Carolina, houses receive insurance ratings based on how far they are from a fire station, and more than five miles away receives a much higher rate. By building the new station on Neville Road, several houses in the eastern region of their district will now be within five miles and get lower insurance rates.

The new station will hold a tanker that the fire station does not currently have and will allow for its staff to better protect the area.  The current White Cross facility uses an outdoor shed to store some vehicles in winter, making it difficult to use them in an emergency. Also, after building the new facility, White Cross wants to hire two more paid staff members to assist the current single paid staff member for the station.

White Cross is always looking for volunteers to help its cause and assist in any way.  Not all volunteers need to be firefighters; Blake says the station has a need for volunteers with any professional or support services like bookkeeping, electricians, plumbers, legal, and web page maintenance.

“Who ever would like to help us ad contribute, that’s what keeps the cost low and makes it work” Blake says.

For more information, you can visit the White Cross website by clicking here.

The letter that White Cross sent to the Commissioners answers questions that people asked during the meeting is also available click here to view.