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County okays design funds for Roberta Dr. fire headquarters

The Lamar County commission voted unanimously tonight to build a new fire headquarters on Roberta Drive on land it already owns. The commission okayed hiring architect Todd Albritton to design the building at a cost of $41,800. Scanlon Engineering will be retained to do site planning, erosion and sediment control, etc. at a cost of $11,000. Commissioner Nancy Thrash, who pitched the plan, said Albritton was committed to hiring local people to work on the project. She noted a pilot plan to man stations by allowing young volunteer firefighters to live in them rent free has worked well at the Piedmont station and will be used elsewhere in the future. “This commission is committed to planning for the future of the county,” Thrash said. Lamar citizens voted to use SPLOST funds for just such a station, Thrash added. Chief Steve Andrews said, once the new station is built, all Lamar residents will be within five road miles of a station, dropping all ISO ratings to at least 7. That saves homeowners on insurance premiums. He noted the engine and ambulance now in Milner will be moved to the new station. Those at the Parker Branch Road station will then move to Milner, freeing up the Parker Branch station for occupation by volunteers to live there under the rent free plan. Andrews said the county has 50 firefighters, of whom only three are paid. Barnesville’s department has a staff of 33. ”The county and city firefighters work side by side. We have a wonderful thing going right now. We all work together. We are proud of what we do and we are going to keep doing it,” the chief concluded. Firefighters and EMTs can no longer live in the old Grove Street station due to a mold infestation

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