Due to lack of volunteer firemen in parts of parish, police jury may have to close volunteer fire stations
Volunteer firemen not only put out house fires, they also tend to auto accidents throughout the parish.
There are 14 volunteer fire departments in Vermilion Parish. Because of the decline of volunteer firemen in certain parts of the parish, volunteer fire stations may close in the future.
During budget meetings by the police jury last week, the police jury was looking at ways to trim finances.
One thing brought up was doing away with the police jury purchasing a fire truck each year for one of the volunteer departments in the parish. There is rural tax that residents pay designated to help the volunteer fire departments. The police jury uses that fund each year to purchase a fire truck for one volunteer fire department. The fire truck costs an average of $275,000.
The police jury rotates which department, including Abbeville, gets a truck each year.
While that fund is healthy with money to purchase the trucks, the police jury is having trouble finding volunteers to ride on the trucks.
Police Juror Mark Poché gave the example of the Henry Fire Department. He said the police jury purchased a new truck not long ago for Henry, but it sits unused because there are hardly any volunteer firemen in Henry. He wants to make sure this is not a common practice.
He recommended that the parish’s Fire Association Committee look into how many volunteer fire fighters are at each station.
After the count is turned in to the police jury, Poché recommended that if there are hardly any volunteers manning the station, consolidate the station with another in station close proximity.
He gave the example of when the police jury closed the volunteer fire department in Intracoastal City and combined it with Forked Island.
By closing some volunteer fire departments it will save the police jury money.