More fire protection and better insurance ratings: those are just a couple of the benefits for one small Wiregrass community.
One Dale County volunteer fire department has now expanded, giving some coverage to an area that's lacked its own station.
The Echo Volunteer Fire Department opened another branch in its neighboring Bertha community.
The station is equipped with all necessary facilities to operate in an emergency, including its own station, and two fully functional fire trucks.
"We had a fire about a year ago. After that, it sparked the community. And ever since then, the community has come together as a whole," says Echo Volunteer Fire Department Station Two Captain, Eric Blankenship.
With this station in place, it provides the eastern portion of Dale County with better fire protection, which not only provides more safety, but also saves some resident's money.
Before this station was built, the community had a high ISO rating, which increased the price on home insurance.
Fire officials say after all forms are complete, Bertha will get a rating of "7", which will cut some homeowner's insurance rates up to 50-percent.
"They feel safer just by having the fire trucks here. We're in the process of getting everything done on paper as far as ISO to also bring down their insurance rates. So they'll feel safer with their pocketbooks, also," says Blankenship.
The new station costs about $25,000 dollars.
Most of the money and labor to build came from donations within the community.
The Echo Volunteer Fire Department covers around a 90-square mile area and assists surrounding fire departments.
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