Go Fight A Fire or Go To Work

BONO (KAIT)  The price of fuel affects everyone. But what if your local fire department had to pay for it's own fuel?  For volunteer firefighters who use their own vehicles to respond to disaster it is something they have to consider.

Around nine thirty Friday morning, the Bono Fire department was called to the Adcock house on County road 340 off Hasbrook road.

Chief Jeff Oleson "My first engine on the scene, Engine 31 gave me a size up that it was well involved when they got there."

The Bono Fire Department has over 20 volunteers that operate 10 pieces of apparatus from 3 stations.

Within moments a tanker was brought in to provide additional water support for the engine as the flames spread rapidly through the house.

The owners could only stand and watch as their home was eaten away by the blaze. As the fire progressed more and more firefighters joined the battle.

It took about 20 volunteer firefighters to extinguish the fire. Most of them arriving by personal vehicle. Since they have to pay for their own gas, are volunteer firefighters debating whether to go to a fire or go to work."

The Bono fire coverage area is quite large.

Oleson, "We go to the Greene county line, to the Cache river which is Lawrence county then we shoot down past Coal Hill to Bishop Cemetery road then we follow Big Creek around."

That doesn't include assistance to other fire departments in the area. Oleson says sometimes he can go 12 to 15 miles one way to respond to a fire. Again most volunteers must respond in their own vehicles.

At this time in Bono there is no compensation to firefighters for their gas but Chief Oleson says that is going to be addressed in the future.

"I'm going before the board to talk to them possibly when we go out of district on mutual aid reimbursing them for gas."

But in the long run these volunteers see service more important than their gas gauges.

Whitney Edwards, Firefighter. "When we can go to a scene and do our best to save a house, or go to an accident and are able to extract a victim from the wreck. And provide a service for these people. The service that we provide kinda puts aside the fuel mileage and fuel economy and that's kinda why were here."

The fuel for the fire engines for the volunteer companies is paid out of taxes and other source of state and federal funds.