Yreka Fire Department needs volunteers & proposes funding from city

MEDFORD, Ore. – The Yreka Fire Department is trying to come up with solutions with the city to address issues they say they’ve been facing for decades. YFD is a volunteer-based fire agency and while they intend to stay that way for the most part, they’re looking at other options to prevent volunteer ‘burn out’ and they’re also trying to address some of their other concerns with their fire hall.

Yreka City Manager Jason Ledbetter said the city’s volunteer-based fire department is integral to the spirit and history of the city.

“If you did not volunteer at this station, this station that we are in, that was active 100 years ago, you were either married to a firefighter, you lived next to a firefighter.”

But with a shortage of volunteers and growing medical calls, the burden on the station has led to what is described as ‘volunteer burnout.’ Ledbetter said,

“It’s a little bit harder to expect somebody to consistently get out of bed at 3 a.m. in the morning that has to go to a regular job, that’s just a volunteer to continuously respond to medical but they’re important calls to go to because obviously, members of the community rely on that response.” 

While YFD still wants to depend on volunteers to address fires, Ledbetter is proposing a 1% sales tax increase to support a handful of paid firefighters, who would mainly respond to medical calls and that would also help them address another issue: the building itself, which is split into three different parts. The main portion called the Ley Station, the added space next to it for more vehicles and gear and the museum.

YFD Fire Chief Jerry Lemos said,

“We’ve had issues with… where we need more space, the apparatuses have gotten larger, longer, wider, taller and we’ve had issues with fitting them in the department, especially the ladder.”

Lemos said the building has also had problems with the roof, floors and even with asbestos.

“We need to upgrade and it’s an essential service building, so we need to have it operational in times of natural disasters, etcetera. From that we need to upgrade and get a new station going, so that’s a focus of the city right now.”

YFD is still looking for volunteers, you can call the number (530) 841-2383. There will also be a city council meeting this Tuesday, discussing the 1% sales tax increase in hope of raising $2.5 million to support YFD.

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Maximus Osburn is a reporter for NBC5 News. He studied at California State University-Northridge, graduating with a degree in Broadcasting. Maximus is an avid martial arts enthusiast and combat sports fan. He even traveled to Thailand to train with martial arts experts. Maximus loves movies, nature, and doing things outside his comfort zone, like swimming in sub-freezing lakes in the winter.
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