Charleston Fire Department hoping for multimillion-dollar grant to fund more staffing on Johns Island

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston Fire Department is planning to apply for a grant to fund new positions on Johns Island.

On Tuesday, Charleston City Council approved the department’s request to submit an application for the 2021 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant.

The $4.5 million grant would fund 15 firefighter positions every year for three years at a new ladder company on Johns Island.

According to Charleston fire officials, the city is working on a second fire station on Johns Island. Construction is set to begin soon at the Maybank Highway location.

“There will be two apparatus, an engine company and a ladder company that will go in that station. By getting this grant, it will help us offset those costs for three years to be able to hopefully, more quickly put both units in service versus phasing them in,” said Jason Krusen, Charleston’s Deputy Fire Chief.

This comes as Johns Island and surrounding populations continue to grow.

Charleston Fire and St. Johns Fire District both respond to calls on Johns Island.

“As Johns Island keeps expanding, in several different areas, we will keep an eye on where our stations are strategically placed so that we can serve our customers the best based on response times, location and then what assets or equipment we need,” said Ryan Kunitzer, the Fire Chief at St. Johns Fire District.

According to Krusen, St. Johns is planning to move one of their fire engines from their station on Maybank to meet the needs of the growing Kiawah and Seabrook Islands.

“Because that would leave a very large hole in our response area, they’re leaving it there until we get at least another unit,” explained Krusen.

Krusen said if awarded, the grants will begin to go out this summer.