Property owners in the Memphis and Greentop areas likely recently received correspondence from the Downing Fire Department regarding changes in the boundaries for the fire protection coverage offered by the volunteer department.

According to the Downing Fire Department Board of Directors, the boundary lines changed late in 2018. The organization filed the necessary paperwork with both the Scotland and Schuyler County courthouses as well as the State of Missouri to be able to begin to offer coverage in the new regions.

“Our district now goes from West of Highway B (the Crawford blacktop) that runs north to the Iowa line; south to the Knox County line per the Scotland County map,” said board Secretary and Treasurer Katelyn Stauffer. “Per the Schuyler County map, the area is now the entire Fabius Township; approximately half of the Independence Township; line 2,400 at the Iowa border to Newland Rd in Schuyler County then to HWY E at Yearns DR, then back East to A.”

Letters were mailed following the June meeting of the Downing Fire Department Board to property owners in these newly expanded areas offering the potential to secure coverage through the Downing Fire Department.

However some letter recipients misunderstood the mailings and mistakenly believed that they were no longer eligible for protection from their previous providers.

Downing Fire Chief Brett Hayden explained that is not the case.

“Our by-laws state that you can pay for either district, or you can pay for both, that way all your property is covered by fire dues,” said Hayden.

Bryan Whitney, public relations officer for the Scotland County Fire Department, which serves the Scotland County Rural Fire Corporation confirmed that the expanded boundaries for the Downing Fire Department in no way impacted coverage being provided by the Memphis based department to its existing customers.

“Nothing has changed on our end,” he said. “The boundary changes the Downing Department has implemented has simply led to an overlap in coverage areas. Members of the Scotland County Fire Corporation are welcome to be members with multiple coverage providers.”

As  dues-driven fire protection coverage area, Hayden noted that residents of the his department’s coverage area, who have not paid their annual dues, are subject to financial assessment if a fire occurs.

“If you do not pay your fire dues, you are subject to the cost of supplies, firefighters, and time spent eliminating the fire on your property,” said Hayden. “The cost for non-payers is $500 for the initial response with an additional $100 per hour served until the fire is extinguished.  

Dues for the Downing Fire Department are $40 per initial property and $10 for each additional property. There is a drop box on the outside of the fire house or dues may be mailed to 224 W. Prime St., Downing, Mo. 63536. 

“Again, this is 100% voluntary,” said Hayden. “You can pay either fire department, or both. We as an association are obligated to notify all residents within our district, if the Downing Fire Department is called out first and you have not paid a membership then you are subject to the bill.”