Abernant community losing Volunteer Fire Service - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Abernant community losing Volunteer Fire Service

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Abernant - AL -

  Dale Brogden has a cabin home in the center of Abernant in East Tuscaloosa.  News that the unincorporated town is losing its volunteer fire station troubles him. "Everything out here is mostly woods and like I said I was burning some stuff and accidentally caught the woods on fire, dialed 911 and the Abernant fire fighters were here in 6 or 7 minutes," he explained.

   However, that was a year ago.  Abernant's fire chief, Brian Scott says funds are drained and few homeowners are paying fire dues. "We've collected just a little over 30 percent, which is a little bit better than last year, but it just goes to show there's no support by the rest of the community."

   So, the Abernant fire board plans to fold June 30th.  Residents will have to rely on either Lakeview or perhaps Brookwood fire departments to respond from more than five miles away...

   "I trust them. But, its just going to be a lot longer for them to get here. So, what if somebody has a kid in the house and you can't go back in and what not," said Abernant resident Greg Walker.

    Chief Scott says  they had hoped people who hadn't paid dues would do so.  Their fire trucks are parked at members homes because they don't have a fire station building right now.

    Several years ago the fire board purchased property off Highway 216 to relocated and old building they were using.  They landscaped that property earlier this year before funds started running low.  But, even if they set up at the location Chief Scott says  "Then we can't put fuel in the trucks and can't buy any more medical supplies and we can't buy any more equipment or hoses or even pay for insurance to put fire a truck on the road."

    It's frustration for the  few who have paid for fire service. "You've got to have them. I don't know why people would not want a fire district out here. It's a necessity," added Brogden.

    Scott says even if they collected more dues they're also short of volunteer fire fighters.  He says of the seven people who signed up for an all-paid training class, five have already dropped out.

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