SUN N' LAKE - As of Friday at 3 p.m., Sun n' Lake of Sebring had transitioned its fire protection to full-time coverage from the West Sebring Volunteer Fire Department.
Sun n' Lake of Sebring Improvement District decided earlier this year to disband its part-time fire department and replace the coverage with service from the volunteer fire department.
Michael Wright, general manager of the district, said West Sebring has been for some time providing coverage from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Now the coverage will be 24 hours, he said.
The change will result in Sun n' Lake's eight part-time firefighters losing their jobs.
Wright said the major reason for the change was the unreliability in response after the part-time firefighters finished their shifts.
On many occasions, mutual aid agreements with other departments were used to get the response, he said.
Transitioning to 24-hours coverage from West Sebring was moved up a little, he said, and that was still primarily because of the desire to get a predictable full-time response. But the impending county change in radio systems was a factor, he added.
Wright said the district did not make the change lightly. A study concluded the only other alternative was a full time fire department that would have cost more than $1 million annually.
The Highlands County Commission must still approve the change.