Shed fire draws attention to need for rural firefighters

Lane Fire Authority covers 282 square miles west, northwest, and southwest of Eugene including rural areas sometimes miles away from the closest station.

Posted: Feb 23, 2020 5:11 PM
Updated: Feb 23, 2020 6:21 PM

VENETA, Ore. -- A fire on the edge of Veneta city limits has local authorities talking about the need for first responders in rural communities.

ALSO READ: FIRE ENGULFS VENETA SHED

The fire erupted in a shed on Territorial Highway, but took three hours to extinguish in part due to some unexpected challenges, according to lieutenant Lieutenant Tressa Miller with Lane Fire Authority

"It was kind of a quasi-rural setting where we're dealing with an outbuilding; It's a shop it's a barn it's got all kinds of things stacked in it," said Miller.

Miller says the time it took to extinguish the fire highlights the need they have for more firefighters, and the appreciation they have for their volunteer staff.

Lane Fire Authority covers 282 square miles west, northwest, and southwest of Eugene including rural areas sometimes miles away from the closest station.

Those stations sometimes staff only one full-time person and supplement the rest of the crew with volunteers.

"The more time the fire has to burn unobstructed the worse it's going to be. A fire doubles in size every thirty seconds," Miller said when asked about the importance of time for a crew.

RELATED: FAMILY LOSES EVERYTHING IN HOUSE FIRE

"We definitely need more people. We are still a majority volunteer department," said Miller. "Without people willing to step up there's not much that can be done with just one person."

Miller said they have a spring training camp coming up soon and she hopes more people join their ranks.

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