Bluffton Hires 26 Firefighters - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Bluffton Hires 26 Firefighters

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BLUFFTON, S.C. -

There are twenty-six new firefighters at the Bluffton Township Fire District.  The mass-hiring is a first there.  In fact, it's rare for them to have a single opening at all, but changes in two local neighborhoods called for it and Beaufort County Council approved it.

 

"The Colleton River and Palmetto Bluff communities recently saw an insurance rate change from a class three to a class ten which tremendously changes the rates they pay for home insurance premiums,” Deputy Fire Chief John Thompson said.  “The reason was there were not fire stations in those communities.  This will lower the rating and lower the insurance premiums,” he said.

 

Some come from other departments across the country, others it's their first time as a firefighter.

Eric Ligeikis feels lucky, making the cut from more than 300 applicants.  He's comes from a department in Illinois but has to learn some of the different equipment Bluffton uses.

 

"Kinda like riding a bike, you get back on it and start learning some things,” Ligeikis said.

 

While response times at the two communities are already good-having firefighters within the gates will make them better.  Plus, times like Monday night when storms put firefighters to work, they'll need the extra hands across the district.

 

"This is going to add two stations and two apparatus’ that will be able to pick up some of that work load,” Captain Randy Hunter said.

 

After this second week of orientation, the group goes to Columbia for eight weeks at the South Carolina Fire Academy.  After that they go to EMT training then officially start work in Bluffton.

 

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