Vandiver voters say yes to fire district

Vandiver area voters approved by a healthy margin on Tuesday the formation of a fire district to support the Vandiver Fire and Emergency Services Department.

Proponents of the fire district cast 392 yes votes to opponents 277 no votes at the American Legion in Sterrett.

The approval of the fire district means residents within it will be assessed $50 per year per dwelling to support the operation of the department and continue its services.

Fewer than 300 Vandiver area residents had been paying the voluntary $50 dues to support the department.

Vandiver Fire Chief Dennis Brasher and a group of about 50 fire department volunteers and their supporters waited patiently for the 27 minutes it took to get the votes tallied from the time the polls closed at 7 p.m.

A small group of about five opponents to the fire district, led by Thomas E. Elie of Sterrett, waited across the parking lot from the fire department supporters.

Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies were on hand to deliver the ballots back to the courthouse in Columbiana and to insure order when results were announced.

As soon as election officials opened the door to the American Legion building and posted the results, about 20 or so rushed to the door and crowded on the small porch.

One supporter quickly shouted, “It passed!” Cheers erupted.

Brasher, who had hung back from the crowd, gave an audible sigh of relief.

“I’m happy. Very happy,” he said.

Earlier in the evening, just before the polls closed, Brasher said, “I’m a nervous wreck,” Brasher said, just two minutes voting ended. “This has been 32 years of my life.”

Brasher, 48, is a lifelong resident of the area.