RENSSELAER, N.Y. -- Gene Hilstro has been fighting fires in Rensselaer for more than 30 years.
But recently, he says it's become much harder to be a volunteer firefighter in the city. According to Hilstro and other volunteers, the city hasn't provided them with proper training and equipment.
"These guys go through over 100 hours of training," Hilstro said. "That's before they even jump on a truck and that's in their own time."
He was one of the volunteer firefighters expressing those concerns to the Common Council during Wednesday night's meeting.
They also want to see more support and better communication from the city, and be treated equally as the paid firefighters.
"There's no communication between the department and the volunteers," said Michael Stummel, another volunteer firefighter. "It's hit or miss. You either have to be there when something comes up or else you know nothing about."
Earlier that day, firefighters were told their chief, Bill Hummel, was resigning from his position.
Last week, Hummel informed his volunteer firefighters they would not be able to fully perform interior firefighting duties. That's because an investigation found qualifications for city volunteer firefighters were not up to par.
"We respect the volunteers," said Rich Mooney, Rensselaer Common Council president. "It's unfortunate that this happened, this came to light."
He says they want to work with the volunteer firefighters to iron out these issues. He suggested monthly meetings to improve communication and support.
Mooney say volunteer and paid firefighters are both a necessity for the city and will have to work together.
"Unfortunately we can't change what did happen in the past or not happen," Mooney said. "But going forward we are going [to] have a policy in place, a plan in place, so the volunteers do get their training."
He says the refresher course for volunteer firefighters will take place this Saturday at the firehouse. Additional courses will also be available next week.