Volunteer firefighters forced to cut back - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Volunteer firefighters forced to cut back

Volunteer fire departments throughout Kentuckiana are cutting back because of rising gas prices.

McCulloch Fire Department says a truck gets only nine miles per gallon. So what goes into the gas tank is draining their budget now more than ever before

"If it rises much more, we're going to have to start shifting funds around and rebudget more money for fuel," said Capt. Greg Linker, McCulloch Fire Department.

McCulloch Fire Department is running on diesel fuel, which is running up their gas costs.

"That's what we're concerned, is that it's just going to keep going up," said Linker.

And the fire department is running on a budget given to them in January before gas prices rose above four dollars a gallon.

So volunteer firefighters, like Zach Woodard, are now more selective about which calls, to drive to the station or to respond to, and leaving the rest to the paid firefighters.

"I try to make as many as I can, but you can't make all of them," said Woodard.

Right now, McCulloch firefighters leave their engines running on all scenes, but if gas prices continue to go up, they say they may have to turn their engine off if they're not using it.

McMahan Fire Department in East Louisville has already been turning off their engines when they can.

They can only hope for relief from some Pennsylvania lawmakers who are trying to pass a federal grant  to reimburse volunteer fire departments for part of their increased fuel costs.

One McCulloch volunteer firefighter has already transferred to another department closer to home. It was too expensive to drive so far.

But three more people have applied to volunteer, knowing they won't get paid.

"But it's a good time. I have to admit, it's a good time. I enjoy it," said Woodard.

In another part of Southern Indiana, the Sellersburg Volunteer Fire Department is also combining errands into one trip, instead of taking separate trips so they can save money on fuel.

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