Iraan Mayor: "Crisis" Over Volunteer Firefighters

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

IRAAN - They have the equipment and resources for fighting fires in Iraan. They're just missing one critical component: Volunteer firefighters.

"We are in a situation that we consider a crisis situation," Iraan Mayor, Dana St. Clair said on Wednesday.

"I think a lot of people get a false sense of security. They see this nice fire station, and this good equipment, and they feel confident that we can take care of them, and we can't always do that," Assistant Fire Chief, Alan Harris, said.

It's no secret the Iraan Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department needs help. They have all the pieces. They have nice fire trucks, they're renovating their building, and they have the support of Pecos County and lots of nearby towns. However, Harris told NewsWest 9 all of it's useless without the volunteers.

"Well, it's tough. It's a common problem all over the state, all over the United States. Volunteers are getting fewer, and fewer people are interested in helping their community. It's a lot of work," Harris explained.

The Department has 12 members. Half of those are support staff and the other half are either not fully trained or aren't around all the time. Now the city is trying to get the word out that they need volunteers.

"When I became Mayor, I realized more and more of that responsibility is the safety for this community, and it does scare me," St. Clair said.

She said she will ask local businesses, including some of the biggest employers, what they can do to help. If the number of volunteers continue to decline like over the past few years, officials agree there are lots of consequences. They said they want to make sure the fire station stays open.

"[If] we don't have a fire department, we can't help if your child is trapped in the house, or let's say you have a vehicle rollover, and you need to be extricated from that vehicle. We can't respond and help you there, so it's very important to the surrounding community and the area," Harris said.

If you are interested in learning more about Volunteering or about the application process, contact the City of Iraan.