INDIAN LAND, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The calls for assistance in Indian land are increasing as the area’s population continues to explode. 

Indian Land Fire Chief Chris Miller’s radio went off a few times during Queen City News’ interview Tuesday highlighting the need to make sure the department is fully staffed to handle calls.  

“It’s transitioned from the rural county into the urban environment, which is what we are today, volunteers,” Miller said. “Same thing. We’ve started out as a volunteer station and have transitioned into a combination and station, leading us to where we’re today.” 

Miller says there is an Insurance Services Office (ISO) requirement to have more or larger fire departments as the population grows in a service area. Indian Trail Fire Rescue is near the Sun City development, while Pleasant Valley is closer to the state line on Possum Hollow Road. 

In October 2022, the council received requests from the Indian Land Fire District and the Pleasant Valley Fire District fee boards to merge. Lancaster County approved the request in August. 

The merge will start some time in September. 

“Everything was going fine, it’s just that we were growing and needed that staff,” Miller said. “And as time went forward, it progressed to the staffing model was going to be a merger of the two districts in order to achieve the staffing model that we were trying to accomplish.” 

The county voted to merge the two departments for several reasons. They requested the merger, including adding paid staff 24/7 to provide coverage for the district, retaining existing firefighters and improving responsiveness and fire service to taxpayers.   

“Pleasant Valley is roughly about eight miles up the road,” Miller explained. “The coverage really doesn’t change the citizens, other than you’re going to see more manpower, which allows us to add more manpower to scenes and be able to handle emergencies in a different way.”

He says the merge does help cut down on response times.  

As the departments unify, it will have four engines, two tankers, and two rescue trucks and officials have ordered two more ladder trucks to add to the one on hand already.  

“Currently before it merged those two stations. There’s a third being planned now –there’s a substation currently on Harrisburg Road. So as we expand out into the future, we hope to build up into the five-station market,” Miller explained.  

Indian Land Fire currently has 14 full-time firefighters. Miller says about 12 of them work the equivalent of a 24/7 shift and then they have roughly 22 volunteers that help supplement that staff.  

Pleasant Valley Fire has a four-man engine company and volunteers to help supplement that as well.