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      Horry County Fire Rescue now in same class as FDNY

      Horry County Fire Rescue is celebrating after the department was accepted into the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, according to Brian VanAernem with Horry County Fire Rescue.

      VanAernem said the section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs is reserved for the largest systems in the U.S.

      He said Horry County Fire Rescue is now "considered to be in the same class of departments as FDNY, L.A., Atlanta and Phoenix."

      Fire Chief Fred Crosby said Horry County Fire Rescue will now have a voice in large issues that effect firefighters nationwide.

      "We don't have to worry about being run over by the bus, we can be part of driving the bus," said Crosby.

      Horry County Fire Rescue was approved because of the number of employees they have, 362 , as well as the high number of calls they answer; 60,000 fire and EMS calls per year, and the size of the population they serve.

      VanAernem said the number of calls Horry County Fire Rescue answers is "crazy."

      "I really don't know why. It's crazy, it's absolutely crazy. I think there's a big thing with vehicle accidents. Tourists play a big part in it," said VanAernem.

      VanAernem said grants will also be easier to request.

      "This is a big honor and we hope to grow and develop a strong reputation for above excellence service to our citizens and visitors of the county," said VanAernem.