Zebulon Fire Department entering contract with Johnston County

amoody@newsobserver.comApril 15, 2014 

The Zebulon Fire Department assists the Corinth Holders Fire Department at a brush fire on Buck Road in Johnston County in March.

COURTESY OF JASON THOMPSON

— A new arrangement between Johnston County and the Zebulon Fire Department will result in better home insurance rates for some residents in the Corinth Holders area starting May 1.

The Zebulon department since 2001 has assisted the Corinth Holders Fire Department in serving the Belle Aire Acres subdivision off Perry Curtis Road, south of Zebulon.

But the subdivision is only accessible from Wake County. And while it is more than five miles from the Corinth Holders department, it is less than three miles from the Zebulon station.

Insurance ratings factor in the distance between a home and a fire station.

“If you’re greater than five miles and less than six miles from a fire station, the best insurance rate you can get is a Class 9 rating,” said Zebulon Fire Chief Chris Perry. “If you’re within that five miles, you are eligible for a lower rating if you are close enough to a fire hydrant.

“How much is saved depends on the value on the home. In some cases it can be several hundred dollars a year.”

Perry stressed that the lower rating would only apply to those whose homes are located within 1,000 feet of a hydrant.

“It doesn’t help everybody, but it helps the vast majority of the people in that service area,” he said.

As part of the new contract, Zebulon will also act as primary service provider for Rice Road, a dead-end road just past the Johnston County line heading south on N.C. 96. That area is just south of the Belle Aire Acres neighborhood and will also benefit from the close proximity of the Zebulon station.

Corinth Holders has compensated the Zebulon department about $3,100 annually for its assistance off Perry Curtis Road since 2001. Johnston County will pay Zebulon $7,300 per year.

The increased payout reflects the addition of Rice Road. The amount the Zebulon department is paid is a function of the value of the property it will serve.

“As the property value of the service area we cover increases, so does the amount the Zebulon fire is paid annually by Johnston County,” Perry said.

Before the Zebulon town board approved the contract at its April 7 meeting, Commissioner Don Bumgarner questioned what effect the added coverage in Johnston County might have on fire service in Zebulon.

“This certainly will affect your response time, but is that going to be detrimental to the town of Zebulon?” Bumgarner asked.

Perry said any time the department has a unit out on a call, it back-loads the station to be ready in the event another call comes in.

“The same would apply whether we were out on Pearces Road, or anywhere,” Perry said.

Perry also noted the agreement with Johnston County acknowledges the Zebulon department will serve its home turf as a priority.

“I think that’s a good provision to help protect what we’re here for and what we were intended for,” he said.

Zebulon has responded to the Johnston County area about six times per year since 2001, Perry told the board.

Moody: 919-829-4806; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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