February 28

Maine chiefs: Firefighting suffers from lack of volunteers

A case in point is the Hollis farmhouse that burned this week that might have been saved if more firefighters responded.

The Associated Press

HOLLIS – Maine fire chiefs who met this week to discuss staffing levels in York County didn’t have to look back far for an example of how a dearth of volunteers is affecting the region.

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Thursday’s aftermath of a house fire at 310 Cape Road in Hollis. The historic farmhouse was destroyed.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Flames are visible Wednesday as a farmhouse in Hollis burns. Three firefighters initially responded to the blaze.

Deborah Hardy/Press Herald Staff

Hollis Fire Chief Jason Johnson told WMTW-TV that a home destroyed Wednesday could have been saved if the department had a larger staff. Johnson was one of three firefighters who responded to the blaze; another was a firefighter who rotates among departments.

The chiefs said recruitment has been a challenge for decades and has gotten harder as both training requirements and the number of calls for help have increased.

Roger Hooper, vice president of the York County Firefighters Association, says it’s time more small towns started paying firefighters.

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