BANNER ELK, N.C. — Sgt. Will Treen has been a Banner Elk volunteer firefighter for a decade.
Things You Need to Know
- Banner Elk fire department is in need of volunteer firefighters
- Recently the number of people moving to the area has gone up, but the number of firefighters has decreased.
- The chief says they are working hard and doing the best they can, but they are hoping people volunteer soon.
- Firefighters in this area are trained in all aspects, even rope rescue.
"My grandfather before he died was an assistant fire chief in South Carolina," Treen said.
It's in his blood. On his 20th birthday he joined the department and never looked back. He's trained on every piece of equipment at the fire department and is ready to go on any call.
"Home is where you hang your hat right, so being able to serve the community you love and live in, it's a charge to answer the call, but it's also a privilege and a blessing," Treen said.
The number of people living in Banner Elk over the last three years has gone up drastically. More people living here means more calls. Now, the town has only one-third of the number of firefighters to answer them.
"We have gone from having a meeting room full of members to where now there are plenty of seats, and we are looking for them to be filled," Treen said.
Fire Chief Tyler Burr says COVID-19 moved some of his volunteers away, and recruiting during a pandemic is even harder.
"A lot of folks that are visiting the area are accustomed to calling 911 and getting a fire truck immediately. They live in an area where there is a full-time firehouse ready to respond to anything you need here is a little different," Burr said.
Burr said the department is looking for volunteers.