Oct 13, 2013 11:37 AM
A shortage of volunteers has left one of the fastest growing cities in Louisiana searching for firefighters. Youngsville Fire Chief Tim Barbier told The Advertiser the city has applied for two grants that would help it add two paid firefighting positions to the five paid firefighters and 30 volunteers it already has.
Youngsville officials said the upscale professionals who have been moving into the area are not signing up in sufficient numbers to staff the city's volunteer fire department. The nonprofit department relies mostly on volunteers and does not have a paid clerical worker; the firefighters pitch in and do paperwork and payroll. The five paid firefighters are also funded by a grant, officials said.
"We get newcomers interested in volunteering but not enough to keep pace with the city's growth," Assistant Fire Chief Byron Knott said. A new substation is planned but it will mostly be used as an equipment shed, Knott said. The city donated the land to the fire department for the facility.
"We won't staff it," he said. "There's so much to do every day - testing hoses, going to every business in town to do fire emergency pre-planning and everyday chores like keeping the firehouse clean."