Pope: We need 120 volunteer firefighters

WINNSBORO – There was good news and bad news about the 20 grass fires that burned 100 acres along Highway 315 S. in Jenkinsville last week.

Pope pointed out the need for more firefighters at County Council meeting on Monday.

The good news: “Thanks to the quick actions of our volunteer firefighters, there were no injuries and no structures damaged. Our emergency units did amazing work,” Fairfield County Fire Director Jason Pope reported to County Council on Monday evening. He also reported that the fires, first thought to have been arson, were determined by the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department to most likely have been set accidentally, possibly by sparks from a chain being dragged behind a vehicle.

The bad news: “If the fire had happened during the week, instead of 2:15 on Saturday afternoon, we might have had a different outcome,” Pope said.

“We have 120 volunteer firefighters in Fairfield County,” Pope said, “but we need twice that many.”

Pope recently drew attention to the need for more volunteer firefighters in the County. He agreed to donate a check for $300 (contributed by the County’s fire chiefs) to the County’s recreation department if the department’s new director, Russell Price, would agree to be lifted in a ladder truck bucket to the top of the clock tower. Price agreed, and Greenbrier Fire Chief Sammy Castles, standing on a ledge above the clock’s face, greeted Price with the check, a handshake and a firefighter’s helmet that Price wore on the ride down.

“I’m trying whatever I can to get the word out that we desperately need volunteer firefighters,” Pope said.

According to the County’s incentive pay rates, volunteer firefighters receive $25 per call. Non-firefighters receive $10 per call. Other incentives include $5 for attending approved firefighter meetings, $15 for attending approved training classes and $15 for responding to wrecks with injuries. Maximum compensation for the month is $250 .

For information about becoming a volunteer firefighter, call 803-712-1070.