Surfside Beach Fire Rescue to go back to larger response area

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – In June, the Surfside Beach Town Council voted to change an agreement with Horry County Fire Rescue. Council asked Surfside Beach Fire Chief, Kevin Otte, to stop crews from automatically responding to areas outside of town limits.

“Town Council has asked that we try to keep our vehicles in town,” said Otte back in June. “The county fire chief and myself came together, looked at the response areas and decided these areas we’ve swapped out will work out best for everyone.”

In the past, Surfside Beach and Horry County Fire Rescue would both automatically respond to areas right outside of Surfside Beach, which are technically in Horry County Fire Rescue’s jurisdiction. Those areas include the Deefield and Caropines neighborhoods.

However, in August, some Horry County Council members said this new agreement could put some Horry County residents in danger if a fire occurs in their neighborhood.

“The agreement says we’ll help them but they won’t help us,” said Horry County Councilman Gary Loftus at a Public Safety Committee meeting on August 9. “Now, that doesn’t sound like much of an agreement to me.”

On Tuesday night, Chief Otte told Surfside Beach Town Council members, after more discussion with Horry County Fire Rescue officials, they would be changing the agreement back.

“[We] would be answering structure fire calls of any kind in those two areas we had pulled them out of,” said Otte, referring to Deerfield and Caropines. ” So we will go back to again answering fire calls and alarms.” However, HCFR will automatically answer medical calls.

You can see a map of the communities affected by clicking here.