Local News

Growth Strains Volunteer Firefighting in Wake Forest, Garner

Posted January 23, 2007
Updated January 24, 2007

Fire departments in Wake Forest and Garner may be facing the fate that has overtaken small-town departments in many places as their districts grow—replacing a volunteer department with a paid town department.

The Garner Volunteer Fire Dept., Inc., and the Wake Forest Fire Department, Inc., are independent entities that contract with their respective towns to provide service. Both have some paid personnel, but they depend on volunteers, and their rolls have not grown along with the property they have to protect.

Some say taking the departments under the towns’ jurisdictions could make communication better, especially during a major disaster.

“We've come to a point where we need three additional fire stations,” Wake Forest Chief Jerry Swift said Tuesday. The town has grown so much, he said, that he needs more firefighters, more money and more equipment.

In southern Wake County, the story is similar.

“It's not a volunteer community anymore,” said Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams.

“Eventually the town can do better by operating its own fire department,” Williams said.

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  • What The Deuce Jan 24, 2007

    Wasn’t there a story last week about the lack of black firefighters and how we are all a bunch of racists for not hiring black firefighters… Well, here you go, JOIN UP!

  • beachboater Jan 24, 2007

    It's sad, but this is being discussed in a lot of communities. It's harder and harder to find volunteers willing to spend the time required to train, and it's not easy to leave your job on a moments notice to answer a fire alarm. In an area with a large coverage area and a high number of calls, it really strains the volunteer's ability to handle it.

  • diwanicki Jan 24, 2007

    This needs some more thought. Isn't there a way to work together?.