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County plans repairs, possible new Stilson, Eldora fire station
Bulloch County firefighters Brian Mcree and Mitchell Sikes check in at Station 6 in Stilson. A cratered parking surface is one of the issues at the station.
Bulloch County firefighters Brian Mcree and Mitchell Sikes check in at Station 6 in Stilson. A cratered parking surface is one of the issues at the station. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT/staff

While county leaders recently approved repairs and changes to the Stilson Fire Department Station 6 building, they are considering the need for a new facility closer to a faster-growing community. 

Bulloch County commissioners agreed last week to give Chairman Roy Thompson “the go-ahead" to County Manager Tom Couch for organizing a plan to repair the current Stilson Station 6 at Flat Ford Road and Georgia 119 Spur. 

Firefighters have documented the station’s deterioration for some time, Thompson said during the meeting. However, COVID and other pressing issues delayed attention to the condition of the building, he said. 

“It needs a new floor and has structural damage,” Couch told the Statesboro Herald. “It is unsafe,” and there is barely room for the new, larger engines “to squeeze in.” 

Expansion of the current building, however, is not possible.

“There is a fiber optic line on the property” that would prevent adding on to the facility, he said. 

If the county does decide to build a new facility, they would still repair and use the current one for an annex or storage, Couch said.

“We are going to fix it, but do we take the next step and build a new fire station near the Eldora community?” 

Eldora, about eight miles from Stilson on Highway 80, is close to the Bryan County line and the Ellabell community. The residential neighborhood has bloomed with new subdivisions over the past few years as the population has increased. 

In order to serve a wider area and safely and comfortably accommodate larger, more modern fire engines, “Special Projects Manager Randy Newman recommended a new building.” Couch said. 

“The slab (of the Stilson station) is busted and cracked up, caving in,” Newman said. “We are basically looking at repairs.”

But with the increasing population just down the road, simply fixing what is broken may not fill the need.

“Eldora is building up pretty good,” Newman said. 

Interim Bulloch County Fire Chief Ben Tapley said a new facility closer to Eldora would still provide Stilson with fire protection, but at the same time improve the quality of fire protection for the Eldora area. 

“Station 6 does have some issues, but the county, especially Randy Newman, has a plan that we are working on together,” Tapley said. 

Newman said the project is in its preliminary stages and his office, commissioners, Couch and firefighters will continue to discuss the needs of the community and the steps toward repair and possible land acquisition for a potential new station. 

 

Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 243-7815.

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