Abernant residents faced with threat of losing fire protection services

ABERNANT, Ala. (WIAT) — Hundreds of residents in Tuscaloosa County could soon be losing fire protection services. By January 31st the small town of Abernant could face that problem.

Homeowner Diane Carden is concerned about the possibility of not having fire protection for her neighborhood. She says it is a serious problem.

“It is a safety issue and it is a financial issue for property values. If these woods were on fire how could we get out of here. If we can’t call somebody and know they are going to respond that’s a problem,” Carden said.

Two years ago, the Abernant Fire Department dissolved and Lakeview and Brookwood Fire Departments began answering those emergency response calls. But effective January 31st, Lakeview won’t respond any longer to calls in Abernant unless it’s a confirmed fire or serious medical issue like a heart attack or stroke. The cuts would affect 500 residents.

The Tuscaloosa County Commission is looking into the situation. Commissioner Jerry Tingle tells WIAT if the commission can help, they will do want they can.

“What we’ve been looking at here at the county for the past year is there any way to reverse this, closing the fire department down and dissolving it. Is there any legal way to do that, and the county attorney has been working on that,” Tingle said.

Lakeview Fire Chief Brandon Jones says all the calls to Abernant are causing problems that impact his budget. Wear and tear on vehicles is another issue.

“Of course the fuel expense is expensive, most fire engines only get eight miles to the gallon. So you are looking at the expense and maintenance there,” Jones said.

Diane Carden is hoping the problem can be solved so her homeowner’s insurance will not increase.

“We deserve the coverage just like anybody else does,” Carden said.

Copyright 2016 WIAT 42 News

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