JANE LEW, WEST VIRGINIA – Fire departments around the state, like the Jane Lew Volunteer Fire Department, have been struggling to find a way to keep themselves afloat, but for most of those departments, public funding isn’t nearly enough.
“Our budget that we do have from the state and everybody that does give us money, it’s not quite making the ends meet,” said Jane Lew Firefighter Zach Lamb.
Now departments in Lewis County will have to find another answer to their problems after a fire levy on the ballot this week failed to get enough support to pass. Fire Fee Clerk Crystal Bragg said the average fundraiser just doesn’t cut it.
“I know people get wore out with some things and them being out doing a boot drive or their annual drive going door to door asking for donations, and having a fundraiser selling hot dogs, sometimes that just doesn’t cut it,” Bragg said.
There’s no fire department in the county that’s in danger of closing in the near future, but without some kind of added funding to help offset the costs of maintaining equipment and more, some may not last much longer.
“There’s a couple of them that could be in some trouble quicker than what I want to say anticipated, and some of them could end up closing their doors within the next few years,” said Bragg.
For his part, Lamb wants people to consider how important the service they provide is and what kind of trouble they could be in without a local department.
“I think they really should have supported it more, because if they would need us, in a split second we would be there, and the time that it would take us to get from whenever we’re at to get to the fire department to get to them is a lot quicker than it would be if this fire department was closed, or another in the county,” said Lamb.