Local volunteer fire stations need more volunteers

By Holley Nees - bio | email

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Bobby Cranford is a firefighter at Fuller Springs Volunteer Fire Department. "We started doing it because we felt like somebody needed the help and something we felt like we ought to do, and I guess since we started, we just haven't found a way to quit."

Cranford can't quit because there's no volunteers coming in to replace him.

"Last several years it's just gotten to where people are so busy and wrapped up in what they [have] got going on that they don't feel like the fire department is worth their time," Cranford said.

He's been fighting fires for 20 years and he said this year is probably the lowest participation he's seen.  He's not the only one who's noticed the trend.

"You can go from several members to none, which is where most of the fire departments in this area are right now," said Huntington volunteer firefighter Kimberly Clark.

"A lot of people think they can't help.  They can't volunteer or they don't know anything about fighting fire.  We didn't either when we showed up," Cranford said.

Clark said people should just give it a try.

"Once you get into it, it's really hard to quit," Clark said.

Volunteer fire departments like the one in Huntington said they need more volunteers that way they can speed up their response time.

"It really affects the community more than anyone else,"Clark said.

Cranford said the economy may have some impact, but it's not the only problem.

"The next generation we have just really are so busy about themselves and what they have going on, they don't care about helping their neighbor," said Cranford.

He said the hardest part about being shorthanded is, "Knowing that when you get there, there's only so much you can do by yourself or with a couple of people."

Why does Clark do it?

"If we don't who is?" he said.

Cranford said they need help with more than just fighting fires.   They need people who can do paper work, help maintain the trucks, and they welcome monetary donations.   If you are interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter, contact your local volunteer fire department.