Opposes volunteer fire service for rural area

| June 9, 2020 1:14 PM

I am completely opposed to a volunteer fire service in our area.

Some years ago when we first moved to the Northwoods area, we were coming home from dinner to see fire trucks racing up Northwoods Drive and smoke and flames coming from a Highland Drive home. The Whitefish Fire Department responded quickly, though the house was severely damaged. No one was hurt and neighbors cared for the family until they could make housing plans. It is a terrible shock. The family had raised their children in that home, loved the neighborhood and were and still are valuable members of our Whitefish community.

Not long after that the house on the other side of the street caught fire. Again the Whitefish firefighters were on the job. Professionals in every way. I understand that before we moved to the area another fire was extinguished by the Whitefish Fire Department.

This area is surrounded by forest. We are extremely vulnerable here on the mountain. There is only one road out and we are all careful in dry seasons and pray that we will escape destruction. The Hodgson Road Rural Fire Station is at least 30 minutes from us. That does not account for the time it takes volunteers to arrive at the station. This is an unworkable and dangerous arrangement.

I will not rely on volunteers for a service that protects our homes. The Olney Volunteer Department is a good lesson for all of us. The former chief stole money from the department, they do not have enough volunteers and are constantly at odds with the town. In addition, they rely on surrounding fire departments for help and are constantly short of volunteers.

We need people who are trained professionals to protect us. We deserve it and are willing to pay the increase in costs to the City of Whitefish to protect our property.

Ina Albert, Whitefish