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Fire chiefs react to hour delay in Dry Branch | News

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Fire chiefs react to hour delay in Dry Branch
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Fire Chief Glenn Lord says when it comes to relying on volunteers, turnout varies.

"Sometimes we'll have good turnout, have people coming in here, and then we'll have a drought period," Lord said.

He says having 8 paid firefighters helps keep his response times to around 9 minutes, especially during the day when volunteers are at work.

He's been a firefighter for 37 years, and says if it takes much longer than that to respond, it gets harder to save a home.

"I mean, you've got to hit it pretty quick," Lord said.

That's why he and other fire chiefs we talked to were surprised by the hour it took to respond in a Dry Branch house fire Monday, according to Twiggs EMA director Sammy Stokes.

"An hour is a long time for a response time. If you can't get to a call within less than 15 minutes, it's pretty much going to be gone," Lord said.

The Dry Branch Fire Department is made up of 25 volunteers. Beyond that, it relies on surrounding counties for support.

"Our response times have dropped from 11 minutes to just shy of 6 minutes. That's one half," Graham said.

Jones County Fire Chief Don Graham says he relied on about 150 volunteers and support from Bibb County until this year. Now he has three paid firefighters.

"Think about the times that our volunteers had to get up in the middle of the night, put on their clothes, get into their private vehicle, drive to the station. Time is of the essence," said Graham.

He says he was able to add those paid positions for only 19,000 a year each and that the cost of a lost home is much higher.

"Getting there in a timely manner is important, saving property life whatever," Graham said. "We owe it to our taxpayers that we're there within a timely manner."

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