Lack of volunteers hurt Central City firefighters battling flames

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Central City Fire Chief Dale Russian said the rain on Tuesday came one day too late.

A fire destroyed a car repair shop Monday afternoon. Now, all that’s left is rubble.

“It was very disheartening, to say the least,” said Chief Russian.

He said the gasoline and chemicals inside the shop made the fire tough to put out. Plus, Chief Russian said they didn’t have the manpower, at first.

“At that particular moment in time, we had the four of us and that was it,” he said.

The lack of volunteers is a problem for volunteer fire departments everywhere, according to Russian. While he’d like to see more, he understands it’s a big time commitment.

“It takes time away from family. I can’t tell you how many Christmas dinners I’ve walked away from and how many kid’s birthday parties I’ve walked away from,” Russian said. “It’s a calling for me and I think it’s important.”

Russian said he’s disappointed he couldn’t save the business, but the owner doesn’t blame the department.

“I says, ‘I really feel bad we couldn’t have done more.’ He said, ‘No, I saw what was happening.’ He thanked us for coming,” Russian said.

Russian would like to have three or four new volunteers each year. 

“We’re no different than anybody else. We’re struggling to keep it afloat and do the best job we can and help the community,” he said.

Russian said the department always need more volunteer firefighters, but you can also help out by raising money or teaching fire safety.

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