Volunteer Fire Department in St. Clair County becomes its own fire district
One St. Clair County Fire Department is making the transition from a volunteer fire department, to a paid fire district.
In Davis Lake, a community just outside of Springville, the department was strictly volunteer for 18 years.
Assistant Fire Chief Dale Trottier has been there since year one.
“There was a vacuum in the area surrounding Springville that we had to fill to help our neighbors,” he explained.
Trottier says as the area grew, so did the demand. This year, the community voted to initiate a mandatory fee and transition into a fire district.
“As a fire district, we now have paid firefighters who work here and the calls will be ran,” he explained. “So if there’s a house fire, or a heart attack at 2:00 in the morning, as a fire district you are guaranteed someone will be there from Davis Lake Fire Department to help you.”
The Davis Lake Fire District includes about 800 houses and beginning this year, each livable dwelling will be charged $150 for the entire year.
Firefighters say that revenue will make a big difference.
“Fire trucks have become more expensive,” said Trottier. “Medicines are more expensive. We couldn’t rely on the maybes of people donating. A guaranteed form of income was to go as a fire district.”
Linda McGuffie and her husband rely on the service. She's happy to pay the fee.
“Because that’s necessary this day in time,” said McGuffie. “There’s so many emergencies and things that happen everyday. Like us, for instance, we call them every time we need them and I feel very comfortable in doing that.”
Republican Senator Jim McClendon (R- Springville) sponsored the bill in the legislature to allow the Davis Lake community to vote on the change.
Now, he says another volunteer fire department is considering using Davis Lake, as a model to change.