Rescue Squad shuts its doors

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

A longtime rescue squad is no more in Whitley County.

Officials say the Williamsburg Rescue Squad did not meet the minimum equipment requirements to serve the community.

The radios are silent, the engines shut down, and the lights are dim at the building.

"I think everyone's a little heart-broken. A lot of people took a lot of pride in this rescue squad, so it's sad even for me," said Whitley County Emergency Management Director Danny Moses.

The department received $5,000 a year from the state, and additional money from donations and fundraisers. Moses says this should have been enough to maintain the services.

"It appears it wasn't spent on what it needed to be on the basic equipment," said Moses.

Moses says he does not know what the money was being spent on. But says the department did not have enough rope, shovels, up-to-code life jackets or goggles.

Moses says chainsaws used to be a big help in clearing tree limbs during snow storms. But now, they do not even have chains.

"It's pretty disappointing, especially when you talk to the people with the history of this squad," said Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison.

Harrison says the city's fire and police departments will immediately fulfill the duties of the rescue squad.

"Especially in the city limits. We're going to be responsible for the boat rescue, and we're taking over all the land searches," said Williamsburg Fire Chief James Privett.

While Moses is disappointed the once-thriving department is closed, he says the people will continue to be protected.

Harrison says he hopes the city will be able to take over the building, which he says could turn into a second fire house for the city's department. Moses says the county will take possession of the remaining equipment.

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