Fire Dept. Looks for Young Recruits

BRUNSWICK CO.

-- Brunswick County firefighters used to spend much of their time quickly putting out mobile home fires, but as more costly homes go up and the population grows, the blazes are becoming larger and harder to knock down.

As the fires grow more complex, so has to be the response, and many volunteer fire departments in the county are having a hard time finding young recruits.

Busy departments like the one in Calabash fight fires with many volunteers who are often over the age of 60. Some are just able to drive the trucks and not extinguish the flames.

At the other end of Brunswick County, Leland's fire chief says they can get young recruits. They just need to find a way to hold on to them.

"We have to market ourselves to the younger kids, give something they want, room and board so they can take classes, go to school," says Leland Fire Chief John Grimes.

With the department planning to open another station near the Westport subdivision, Chief Grimes is hoping for another batch of recruits. Like his neighbors, Grimes hopes they're young, ready to learn, and willing to stay on the job.

Reported by Joe Keiley