Volunteer Firefighter Ranks Depleting

Imagine you dial 911 because your home is on fire, and nobody comes to put out the blaze. If changes aren't made for volunteer fire departments, it could happen in the not-so-distant future. Across Eastern Carolina and the nation, counties rely on volunteer firefighters, but their numbers have decreased significantly in past years. Wilson County Emergency Management director Gordon Deno says many volunteers have full-time jobs and families in addition to their volunteer hours, and some employers won't allow volunteers to leave work shifts to fight a blaze. Deno says the solution is to make the county positions paid positions, but he admits that's easier said than done for the fifteen volunteer stations in Wilson County. He says the expense would be about four-million dollars a year.