Volunteer firefighters needed in West Baton Rouge Parish
BRUSLY – Lynn Thomas was home when a fire broke out at his home on Lukeville Lane in Brusly. And while he and his brother tried to put the fire out, the house was completely destroyed.
Neighbors said only two or three firefighters responded to the fire when the call came through. And they say the first unit on the scene was from Addis, the next town away.
Three other departments also responded, including a crew from Plaquemine in Iberville Parish.
West Baton Rouge Parish council member Naomi Fair says there is a shortage of firefighters in the parish.
“What are you going to do? You can’t make people take on a job like this if that’s not what they are interested in doing,” Fair said.
Several years ago, all the towns in the parish consolidated their fire departments. Even then, Fire Chief Kenny Hunt says he still can’t get enough people to sign up as volunteer firefighters.
“New kids coming out of high school, they’re not too much about volunteering for the job that we do which is a very dangerous job that requires a lot of training,” Hunt said.
Hunt says mid-afternoons are the worst because a lot of volunteers are at work and cannot respond to a call.
“Sometimes we get a couple, maybe two or three. Sometimes we get six or eight,” Hunt said. “Most of the time our coverage is excellent at night when the volunteers are at home.”
Hunt says the parish has about 80-85 volunteers and he needs that number to be into the hundreds.