Fire departments prep for Toyota-Mazda worker influx

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - Along with the 4,000 jobs the Toyota-Mazda plant will be bringing to North Alabama are the workers' families and new properties. All of that has to be protected.

Huntsville Fire and Rescue officials say they have plans to build a new station near the future Toyota-Mazda plant, but those plans existed before the plant was ever announced.

Huntsville Fire will cover the plant since it'll be in a Huntsville-annexed part of Limestone County. But you can bet a lot of people may move to the growing area nearby with new housing signs all over the place: East Limestone County.

"We are slowly losing area but at the same time while we're losing area we're gaining people due to growth," said Kasey Brown, President of the Executive Board of East Limestone VFD.

He's talking about losing area due to annexation. It already makes things pretty confusing.

"Dispatchers have actually been known to ask people, 'Look at your trash can, do you have city garbage service or county garbage service?'" Brown said. "And that will determine pretty quickly whether it's the city or the county."

The city limits and annexation lines are all over the place. In one East Limestone neighborhood, the houses on one side of the street are in Athens City limits. Then further down the road they're in Limestone County. At the end of the road is Huntsville.

But someone will always come to your emergency call.

East Limestone VFD just opened their second station last fall and has been planning for more growth. They're working toward another station to cover the north part of their area.

They're hoping it won't be very hard to staff.

"I would hope that the increase in number of residents in the area will increase our membership," Brown said. "I mean there are people that are qualified firefighters that will move into the area that maybe decide that they wanna volunteer with the East Limestone Fire Department."

Brown said their plans for the north station also came before the plant announcement. They've been preparing for an influx of people, they just didn't know quite how many.

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