Lexington, S.C. - County of Lexington officials celebrated the opening of the Lexington County Emergency Service Complex East Region Headquarters with a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony Friday morning.
The complex, which is located in a high-commercial traffic area near the Lexington County Industrial park, will serve as the region headquarters for the southeastern part of Lexington County. It will provide primary fire and EMS response operations for the industrial park on Highway 321 and the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park, as well as nearby municipalities and residential communities. It also will provide fire and EMS response assets along I-26 and I-77.
“As the County continues to grow, so does the demand for fast and high-quality emergency response services,” Lexington County Council Chairman Scott Whetstone said. “This station allows our emergency response personnel to provide their services quickly and efficiently for our residents and businesses in this part of the County, and we are very excited for this project’s completion.”
The complex was constructed over a 2 ½-year period at a total cost of just over $5 million. It was designed and constructed to house both fire service and EMS personnel, who work 24-hour and 12-hour shifts, respectively. It will house one ladder truck, staffed with one captain, one engineer and two firefighters, and serve as the office for the South Region battalion chief. It will also be the base of operations for two ambulances and EMS region lieutenants.
Lexington County Administrator Joe Mergo said the building was paid for without a tax increase. "We did just what your family might do," Mergo said. "We saved our money over time and made this a reality without a tax hike." Mergo also pointed out that the County Council and Lexington County employees were key to this project and the safety of the County's citizens. He thanked everyone who had a hand in making the center a reality and all those who will serve out of it.
The facility is built to accommodate growth in the region and is large enough to house additional fire and EMS units in the future. This station could also improve ISO ratings for properties that were once not in a 5-mile radius of a fire station, which may result in reduced insurance rates. The facility will cover 2,452 properties and 17.33-square miles within its primary coverage area.
The 11,000-square-foot facility includes training rooms, kitchens and a gym facility, with the offices and living areas separated by the vehicle bays. It is also equipped with a decontamination zone for personnel returning from an emergency call.
“This facility and its additional resources augment staffing and reduce response times to this fast-growing area of Lexington County,” Director of Emergency Services David Kerr said. “This facility will positively impact fire suppression and emergency medical response operations in this area. Opening this facility for service is a milestone achievement for this County.”