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Orange Rural Fire Department

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By Member Jeff Cabe
March 2, 2022

Did you know that the fire district is made up of 62 square miles in the central portions of Orange County? Did you also know that the department serves the Town of Hillsborough via a contract for service?
Operating from three fire stations with the fourth station now under construction, the department is striving to get every property within six miles of one of the stations. Being within six miles of the station for the fire district you are located in reduces the fire loss risks for the insurance companies and in return, the property owner gains savings in insurance premiums.
The district spans from New Hope Church Road south of Hillsborough to Carr Store Road north of Hillsborough. and from the Eno Rive on the west side to Palmer's Grove Church Road on the east side.
The main fire station is at 206 S. Churton Street in downtown Hillsborough. Though owned by the town, the fire department rents the building as part of the contract for providing fire protection to the town.
Station 2 is located at 835 Phelps Road, just north of Hillsborough. Changes in insurance requirements along with land development since the building was built in 1982 have created a need to relocate the station west and north of it's current location. The department owns land and are currently working with an architect to get a building design that will hopefully provide for the fire response needs for the community over the next few decades.
Station 3 is located at 2510 Walker Road, also north of Hillsborough. The station was built to help fill gaps in coverage that were created by insurance requirement changes and land development. Prior to the construction of Station 3, the entire north end of the fire district was covered from Station 2. Travel distances and longer response times resulted in higher risks for more fire loss so the Board of Directors bought land and built another station to improve coverage and service to the property owners.
Station 4 is currently under construction at 350 College Park Road in the Waterstone Subdivision in southern Hillsborough. This station will be the first of it's kind in the area in that it is a joint venture between the department, Orange County and the Town of Hillsborough. Once built, the station will house a fire truck and ambulance as well as provide a place for Hillsborough Police to work out, do reports and take breaks. By collaborating all three services into one structure, town and county tax payers aren't asked to build three seperate buildings. Operationally, it puts firefighers, medical professionals and law enforcement in the situation to work more closely together before a response is dispatched. Station 4 is also being built due to insurance requirements and land development in the southern portions of the fire district.
With four stations, the department is set to cover the current fire district equally throughtout the entire 62 square miles barring any new development that puts properties outside the six mile reach.
If you are thinking about buying a home or developing land, we urge you to look at how far buildings will be from the closest fire station as that impacts your ability to find affordable insurance.
Without dedicated and trained firefighters, stations or equipment are of little value. The department has volunteer and paid firefighters that respond to emergency and non-emergency dispatches. Firefighters do a lot of virtual classroom training and small group hands on practicals at the stations due to the lack of a training facility within the district. Each quarter, our paid firefighters come in on overtime and travel to Chapel Hill so the department can meet the minimum requirements for firefighter training. As part of the Station 2 relocation, the department hopes to construct a training facility on the same site. This will provide for better and more frequent training without forcing the department to pay overtime.
County wide, there are 10 different fire departments that exist in Orange County and two that respond into Orange County. All ten departments have at least two stations each. All twelve departments work closely together to fill gaps and provide services on a county wide basis. For example, a structure fire in the county will get four different fire departments responding to the scene and for water supply. There's a county wide Tanker Task Force that moves 16,000 gallons of water to a scene along with two fire crews for water supply with a single dispatch. With a second dispatch, there's another 12,000 gallons available for response without delay.
Fire departments exist to serve the community and we welcome everyone to come see our operations.

 

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206 South Churton St
Hillsborough, NC 27278
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