BONHAM — To continue to fully provide the community with fire protection while part of S.C. 18 is closed the Bonham Fire Department will station a fire truck at its assistant chief’s home and receive assistance from the Monarch Fire Department and the City of Union Public Safety Department.
The Gonvauto South Carolina, LLC metal fabrication manufacturing facility currently under construction on a 24-acre site in the Bonham community will be linked the Norfolk & Southern Railroad line that runs along S.C. 18 by a spur that will be built across the highway. The spur is currently under construction but its completion will require the closing of a section of S.C. 18 to through traffic for three days beginning at 6 a.m. Thursday, March 7.
Construction is expected to be completed and the section of highway reopened at 6 a.m. Sunday, March 10, but until then through traffic will detoured along a route that will include Toney Road, U.S. 176, and Highpoint Road. Kelly Road, Pineland Road, and Pineview Road will remain open. Local traffic for residences and businesses will be maintained while the work is completed except in approximately 500 feet of the construction area.
While it will only be closed for three days, the closing of that section of S.C. 18 presents a challenge to the Bonham Fire Department’s ability to respond to fires on the south side of the construction area. The department’s fire station is located on Fire Station Road off S.C. 18 on the northern side of the construction area and Chief Scott Austin said that while firefighters will still be able to access the station, trucks and equipment, it will take longer for them to respond to a fire on the other end of the highway. He said this is why the department has reached out to and secured the assistance of Monarch and Union while the section of the highway near the station is closed.
“We will be able to access our station, it will just take us a little while longer to respond to anything on the south side of the connector,” Austin said Friday. “That’s why we’ve asked for assistance from the city and from Monarch.
“We have contacted Larry Robinson, the city fire commander, and they are going to give us some assistance,” he said. “We also contacted Dr. Flood, the chief of the Monarch Fire Department, and they are going to be providing us with a truck on on the initial alarm on that side if we need it.”
In addition to getting the assistance of Union and Monarch, Austin said the department is going to position one of its trucks at the home of its assistant chief on the other side of the construction area.
“We are going to move one of our trucks to the house of our assistant fire chief Ronnie Yount on Pineland Road,” Austin said. “We’re going to park a truck in his yard and, depending on the weather, if it is not freezing were going to leave it there twenty-four/seven until they get through. We’ve got some firefighters who live on that side of the connection and that’s why we’re parking the truck there.”
Austin thanked the Union and Monarch fire departments for their assistance, but expressed his hope that there will be no need for any of the departments to respond to a fire while the highway is closed. He said the arrangements with Union and Monarch and the positioning of a fire truck at the assistant chief’s home are designed to ensure that if there is a fire while the highway is closed it will be responded to quickly.
“We’d like the citizens to be aware and to know that we have a plan in place,” Austin said.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.