Few apply yet to be volunteer firefighters

While a call for applications for new volunteer firefighters has garnered some interest, some existing members are still contemplating their futures with the brigade.
Earlier this month, the town began advertising to fill three new volunteer positions.
When reached Tuesday, Brian Hagarty, the town’s interim human resources manager, said some people already have turned in applications in hopes of nabbing one of the openings.
“We’ve received a few [applications]. Not an overabundance, but a few,” Hagarty confirmed.
The deadline for applications is Friday, July 29 at 4 p.m.
This news comes less than week after four current members of the volunteer brigade met with Fire Chief Steve Richardson and Community Services manager George Bell to air concerns some of the volunteers may not be able to meet increased time demands.
Bruce Roth, president of the Fort Frances Volunteer Fire Fighters and one of those on hand for last Thursday morning’s meeting, said Friday that he and some of his peers still are upset with the town’s decision to eliminate one full-time firefighting position, instead choosing to rely more heavily on the volunteer brigade.
Roth said the volunteers have been asked train more frequently and take on duties that previously were handled by members of the full-time complement, and are disappointed they were not consulted before that decision was made.
“There’s just been a growing amount of anger,” Roth told the Times on Friday. “They didn’t even have the courtesy to ask if we could take [the new responsibilities] on.
“It’s our lives on the line when we answer that page. Not administration’s, not council’s, our lives,” he stressed.
In recent weeks, some volunteer firefighters even have threatened to turn in their equipment if their concerns were not addressed, but, as of yesterday, no one had resigned their positions.
On Sunday, 11 members of the volunteer brigade met to discuss the situation. Then on Monday, the group submitted a request to municipal clerk Glenn Treftlin for an opportunity to address council at next Monday’s meeting (July 25).
When asked what the group’s message would be, Roth responded: “I guess we’ll have to wait until Monday.”
Yesterday, Mayor Dan Onichuk said concerns over an individual’s job description do not fall under the jurisdiction of council.
“If somebody has got a problem with their job assignment, that’s not for the mayor or council to comment on,” he said. “Those are private matters.”
Hagarty said it usually takes about a week to screen the applicants, set up interviews, and then hire the successful candidates.
Based on that timeline, the newest members of the volunteer complement could begin training early next month.