A fire on Euclid Blvd. in Wesleyville Monday night saw six fire companies respond to put out the flames. “We need a lot more help. Everybody does,” said Fuller Hose and Crescent Hose Chief Dave Meehl.

Between the six organizations, about 30 firefighters were able to get the blaze under control.

“In the volunteer fire service, you may only have two or three people coming on a rig, and again, you're fortunate if that,” Chief Joe Crotty of Lawrence Park Fire Department told Erie News Now.

Response times for fire emergencies are longer because more and more fire departments have to chip in to help. In addition, dispatchers have to keep reaching out to departments further away from the emergency, itself. “As you go out away from your first alarm area, that's going to cause a little bit of a delay, but that's just the world we live in,” said Crotty.
“It's the same with any fire department in the county, even in the state of Pennsylvania. It's a shortage. Big time,” said Meehl.

In 1975, the Commonwealth had about 360 thousand volunteer firefighters. Today, that number sits around 30 thousand statewide.  

“You're not sure who you're going to get and not get, but you've got to keep calling to get enough manpower to do the job," said Meehl.

Remarkably, the home on Euclid Blvd. Fire companies we spoke with say it was because they were able to get enough manpower to save the structure. However, they're afraid that won't be the case in the coming years if more volunteers don't sign up to help.

“We worry about it,” said Meehl, “But, we preplan the best we can to make sure we have what we need to get the job done."

“At times, it's just sheer number of departments to make up for the lack of human resources,” said Crotty.

The departments we spoke with say they’re always accepting new volunteers, but it does take several weeks of training to learn how to do the job.

Wesleyville Fire Dept. is taking donations for the family.