01/08/10 364 W - + 17 - 13 Scotts Hill Fire Department

Another old department near Wilmington is the Scotts Hill Fire Department in Pender County. They incorporated on Oct. 3, 1977, and were housed in a rented, former antique shop on Highway 17, at the Poplar Grove Plantation. The Star-News reported on March 3, 1989, that the owner was relucant to renew the lease, as they had other plans for the building. SHFD had known since 1986 that they needed to move, the article added. The building was insufficent. Now they faced a deadline of January 1990.

In January 1989, three months earlier, the department told some 50 residents that they needed to move. And they needed land on which to build a station. And they needed money to build a building. SHFD was funded through donations, fundraisers, and a county fire tax that generated some $14,000 annual income. The department's expenses, however, totaled about $25,000 each year.

Their lease was apparently extended, as the Star-News on December 10, 1991 reported a new deadline for their leaving: Februrary 1, 1992. The department had four trucks at that time. Their rent was $1 per year. The building  was described in poor condition, and was hindering the development and landscaping plans for the plantation. Though the Federal Home Mortgage Association had approved financing for the fire department to build a new station, they still hadn't found any affordable land. And their prospects, said a firefighter, were almost zero.

The department had hoped to build on land owned by the plantation on Scotts Hill Road near Scotts Hill Baptist Church. But the two parties couldn't agree on the 20-year lease. And if no shelter were found for their apparatus, the state insurance office would revoke their certification. What happened next? It appears that no station was built, and the department ceased operation. Their fire district was subsequently covered by Ogden and Hampstead Fire Departments.

Postscript. In December, residents of Scotts Hill met and agreed to petition the county for better fire protection. Specifically, they want their own fire station, and support for construction of same. Since they're over five miles from other fire stations, they pay higher insurance costs. Read that story in this Star-News article.

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