wednesday editorial 2

Fighting fires

Richmond needed

and received special help

Lee County’s Board of Supervisors stepped in Monday to help one of the county’s rural, unincorporated communities get out of a tight, dangerous predicament.

Supervisors agreed to issue a letter of intent pledging $130,000 so that Richmond Volunteer Fire Department can buy a new fire truck.

The department’s tanker truck doesn’t work and the pumper truck leaks, and that means its ability to provide pressurized water to fight fires is compromised.

Lee County Firefighting Coordinator Ray Keith said the solution was simple: an expensive new truck. The department, like many peer volunteer units, has no cash reserves.

The county, however, has in its pipeline enough money for volunteer departments to back the $130,000 to $140,000 Richmond needs to immediately start the process of buying a truck. Other Lee County volunteer departments are expected to get about the same sum, but emergency letters of intent haven’t been requested.

Rural fire departments, once almost solely dependent on volunteer fundraising, finally have become part of the budgeting process. Thousands of residents statewide many in Lee County know how quick response to fires in rural homes and businesses cuts damage and reduces injury and loss of life.

Supervisors would be hard-pressed to find a better cause to give special consideration and action.