Rising gas prices hit the wallets of local volunteer fire departments

Rising gas prices hit the wallets of local volunteer fire departments
Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 9:21 PM EDT
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RIEGELWOOD, N.C. (WECT) - If your wallet is hurting when you go to the pump, you’re not alone.

According to AAA, the recorded average gas price hit an all time record in North Carolina today at $4.65 for regular unleaded, and $5.76 for diesel. A group that is feeling those effects big time, local volunteer fire departments across southeastern North Carolina.

“We’re gonna be conscientious during these times,” said Acme-Delco-Riegelwood Fire Department Chief Steve Camlin.

The Acme-Delco-Riegelwood Fire Department is volunteer run. In recent months, they’ve taken a huge hit when it comes to filling up the tanks on their trucks.

“Our gas prices have gone up drastically, so it’s hitting our budgets,” Chief Camlin says. “A lot of the apparatus are diesels, there’s only a few that are gasoline. So we’re starting to see the crunch.”

The department has been forced to make changes due to the rising prices of gas, like cutting back on the number of responding vehicles and sending a limited number of trucks to active scenes.

“We’re trying to be proactive by sending out at least one person ahead of time to tell us whether we need to bring the full regime, or whether we just need to do a scaled down response,” he says.

Not only does it affect the station, it affects the volunteers. Since they’re not getting paid for their work, driving back and forth from the station has also taken a toll.

“It also affects their response to the station because now they’re having to pay double, they’re not getting any money,” Chief Camlin said.

He says if prices continue to rise, they’ll have to scale down on things like equipment, programs, and even the incentives that they offer their volunteers.

He says it won’t stop their service to the community.

“We’re still going to do our job,” he says. “We’re gonna be conscientious of taxpayers’ dollars, and making sure that we spend them properly to where we don’t have to come back to government or anybody else and ask for increases.”

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