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      First step taken to consolidate Florence County fire districts

      Florence County Council passed first reading on an ordinance Thursday to consolidate the county's six fire districts.

      The departments would remain intact, but essentially under the control of Florence County.

      County leaders believe merging the districts into one has a number of advantages, including better management and financial accountability.

      "That will also help in the administration of the auditing of the monies, because there will be just one board instead of six or seven boards trying to keep track of it, " said Florence County Council Chairman James Schofield.

      Council will hold a workshop and public hearing on the ordinance in March.