FALL CREEK, WI (WEAU) Firefighters in the Chippewa Valley and across the country say they’re struggling to get the help they need to put out fires.
WEAU 13 News spoke to several firefighters from the Fall Creek Fire Department as they were conducting a training exercise on Saturday.
The firefighters ignited an old barn on Mathwig Road outside Fall Creek and extinguished it for practice.
Fall Creek Fire Chief Bob Dewitz said fire departments nationwide are suffering from a lack of volunteer firefighters because of low pay and massive cuts to public safety.
“The economy has a lot to do with it. People are working two jobs,” Chief Dewitz said.
Understaffed by a dozen firefighters, Chief Dewitz said it will affect the safety of the community.
“We don’t have the people to take care of a lot of the jobs so we end up calling in a lot of mutual aid. We have to rely on other communities to help us out,” Chief Dewitz said.
Tom Williamson, a Fall Creek volunteer firefighters with 11 years of experience said serving the community is what drives him to help out.
“We’re not here for the money. We’re here to serve the community when we can. Someday it might be my house going down or my neighbor’s,” Williamson said.
Jeremy Childers of Augusta observed the training.
Childers said he’s considering volunteering with the department.
“It looks like it would be fun. It’s a good way to give back to the community,” Childers said.
Chief Dewitz said those interested in volunteering can call their local fire department and set up a meeting.