PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) – People in a rural part of Pike County, Ky. could be waiting longer for help in an emergency after a fire department shut its doors Dec. 20.
“Just the timing of getting here is what would be a factor, them being further away,” Barry Scott, who lives on KY-468, said.
Scott’s house is in an area formerly covered by the Hatfield Volunteer Fire Department. After an audit from the fire commissioner, the department closed its doors.
“They found that they didn't have enough people to be a fire department,” Doug Tackett, the emergency management director for Pike County, said. “They have to have 12 firefighters and a chief, and they only had like three people.”
Tackett told WSAZ.com that Big Creek and Turkey Creek Fire Departments will handle calls that Hatfield would have taken and will be backed up Belfry Fire Department. All three are fully staffed, Tackett said.
Scott said he is concerned for himself and for his neighbors.
“In case we had a fire or something, it would probably put us in, with other fire departments coming maybe further away, not responding to here pretty quickly,” Scott said.
Tackett said Hatfield only makes about eight or ten fire runs each year, but also helps respond to car wrecks and search for missing people. However, according to Tackett, that department didn’t exist until about ten years ago.
“It's just going to be a longer response time right now from the other areas, but it's still doable because they used to do it in the past,” Tackett said.
“I hope they get the problems squared away, you know, for our community here,” Scott said. “It'd be better for us people here.”
There will be a community meeting on January 6 at the fire station at 6 p.m. Tackett said the goal is to recruit new firefighters and encourage community support to get the station back up and running.