Local Volunteer Firefighters Getting Much Needed Break

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

They've been to countless fires and risk their lives every time and they do it without being told. Now local volunteer fire departments are enjoying some down time.

"I think it has a lot to do with the citizens of the area that are actually taking extra precautions," Chief Mat McClure with the Northeast Midland County Volunteers, said.

"The beginning of the season took a pretty good toll on everyone, we were worn out and tired," Andrews Fire Chief, Joe Harper, said.

Chief McClure said his crew is finally getting caught up.

"It's nice for a change, we're able to work on some of our equipment, getting it back in shape to where it needs to be," he said. "It gives us some time to get the trucks back up and running."

Chief Harper said there are no more rookies on his crew.

"We do have a lot of new firefighters that got a pretty good lesson on how to fight fires so they're experts on it now," he said. "They've slowed down and got a lot of rest that they needed so we're doing a lot better now."

Firefighter Patrick Parker said the huge number of fires was, at times, stressful.

"We were just missing a lot of work," he said. "At the same time, it's good we're not seeing a lot of houses or property destroyed."

Now Mother Nature is cooperating, at least somewhat, for fire crews.

"We're still responding to a lot of fires, way above average than what we normally fight, but with the winds calming down, we're able to jump on them and get them contained," Chief Harper said.

"The humidity level has come back up some and that's helped out quite a bit," Chief McClure said. "If we can get some rain, that'd help out alot more."

Although the fire danger is still critical, these everyday heroes said they couldn't have made it this far without the community's support.

"They have been a tremendous blessing to us," Chief Harper said. "Since it slowed down, they're still there. You're still seeing them pour out and helping us."

Fire crews want to remind everyone that we are still under a burn ban and to continue taking extra precautions when grilling. Also, they said to always tie up any dragging chains and never throw a cigarette butt out the window.