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October is Fire Prevention Month

Posted: September 27, 2018 5:38 p.m.
Updated: September 28, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Camden Fire Department Asst. Chief Eddie Gardner (front, left) accepts a copy of a proclamation designating October as Fire Prevention Month from Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford. Looking on in back are (from left) council members Deborah Davis, Stephen Smoak and Joanna Craig. In turn, Gardner presented a plaque to Drakeford thanking the city for its sponsorship of FireFest, which starts at 9 a.m. Saturday with a parade of fire trucks and emergency vehicles down Rutledge and Broad streets.

On a unanimous vote Tuesday -- minus Councilman Jeffrey Graham, who was absent -- Camden City Council proclaimed the month of October as Fire Prevention Month in Camden. The proclamation came just ahead of Saturday’s 23rd annual FireFest.

The proclamation noted that four out of five fire deaths occur in homes each year, and urged Camden residents to identify places in their homes where fires can start and eliminate those hazards. It also urged residents to install smoke detectors in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of a home or apartment.

The proclamation also recognized first responders as dedicated to reducing home fires and injuries through prevention and protection education. This year’s fire prevention theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware -- Fire Can Happen Anywhere.”

Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford presented a copy of the proclamation to Camden Fire Department (CFD) Asst. Chief Eddie Gardner, who said that prevention isn’t just what the CFD does, but “what everybody does.”

“We’re still losing in America about 3,000 people a year to fires,” Gardner said. “Last year, for us, it was a little (more than) 100 in South Carolina -- a bad year for us. Right now, we’re at about 57, so, hopefully, we’re going to be down this year.”

FireFest will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. with a parade of new and antique fire trucks and other emergency vehicles from Camden City Hall on Rutledge Street and then Broad Street to Camden City Arena at Bull Street. The parade will feature the CFD’s recently restored 1920 Seagrave pumper truck, the city’s first motorized fire truck.

Activities will include Junior Explorer competitions; firefighting demonstrations -- including a popular side-by-side burn demonstrations, featuring one “room” without sprinklers and one with sprinklers -- a giant kid’s zone; car cruise-in; local dance teams; and more than 70 vendors with crafts, services and food through 2 p.m.

After Drakeford presented Gardner with the proclamation, he turned the tables and presented her with a plaque of appreciation to the city for sponsoring the annual festival.

In other business Tuesday:

• Council passed second and final reading of an ordinance amending the part of the city code that governs the Camden Board of Construction Appeals, primarily relating to members’ terms of service. Later in the meeting, council unanimously appointed Kevin Flowers and Travis D. Kelly to the board and reappointed Joseph C. Munnerlyn and James P. Witkowski to their seats.

• Council passed second and final reading of an ordinance authorizing the execution and delivery of wholesale power purchase agreement with NTE Southeast Electric Company LLC, to begin Jan. 1, 2021, and terminating its existing agreement with Duke Energy on Dec. 31, 2020.

• Council passed second reading of an ordinance relating to the recovery of costs as part of the collection of delinquent debts; it later unanimously passed an ordinance authorizing the Municipal Association of South Carolina as the agency to collect those debts.

• Council passed first reading of an ordinance amending a portion of the city code regarding campers and recreational vehicles to reflect that they should not be used as residences.

• Council passed first reading of an ordinance that will rezone properties along the 700 block of West DeKalb Street from Limited Business District (LBD) to Central Business District (CBD).

“Most of the structures on the block are single-family residential structures,” City Planner Shawn Putnam explained to council, adding that when the area was first zoned LBD, those buildings were still being used as homes. “There were a couple being used for commercial purposes, and in the intervening 20 or 30 years, the whole block has transitioned over to commercial use.”

Putnam said there is one residential structure for sale on the 700 block of West DeKalb Street.

“But, since most of the block’s moved over to commercial use, and that area’s within the Main Street area, we thought it’d be better to have the zoning match the rest of downtown,” Putnam said.

He said CBD zoning will allow for more service- and retail-type uses and allow, for example, businesses to have a little bit larger signs than they would under LBD zoning. Putnam said during a Camden Planning Commission hearing, several people from Camden First United Methodist Church appeared and spoke in favor of the rezoning. Some people also called city hall about the proposed change; Putnam said once he explained the reasons behind the rezoning, they appeared to be in favor as well.


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