July 15, 2005 - Posted at 4:30 PM CDT
Bono, AR - House fires don’t choose where they burn. W hen a fire happens in a rural community, it’s up to volunteer firefighters to take action.
A house fire in Cash on Wednesday night was blazing when firefighters from Cash, Bono and Valley View arrived.
The residents lost everything.
After the cinders subside, a volunteer fire fighter's job isn’t done. Volunteers of rural fire departments also work full time jobs.
Ron Kelley has worked with the Bono Fire Department for more than 20 years. When he’s not managing fires, he’s managing his grocery store, that’s how he makes a living.
Kelley works as many as 80 hours a week, but when he gets a call to respond to a fire, that’s his top priority.
“The biggest challenge is balancing your personal life along with your business and fighting fires. It never fails if you have something planned. Your pager is going to go off, and you’re going to have to fight a fire,” says Kelley.
Kelley says there are no disadvantages to responding to a fire in a rural area.
“Just a couple of minutes, and people are at the station responding. So, it’s not that big of a disadvantage. We have all the other fire departments around for mutual aid. If we have a large fire, all we do is send out the call, and we have everyone coming,” says Kelley.
Bono resident Randy Johnson lives right across from the volunteer fire department, which usually looks like a quiet, empty building.
Johnson says he’ll always have confidence in his town’s department.