Volunteer firefighters: 'It's a rush & it's fulfilling knowing that you're helping'
VENETA, Ore. -- A fire Monday at the Country Living Mobile Home Park in Veneta left a family without a home and their beloved dog.
24 firefighters from Lane Fire Authority helped put out those flames, and within that group are a special subset of people.
Lane Fire Authority Lieutenant Tressa Miller said an extraordinary staff from their station worked to stop the flames.
"We have more than 14 stations, and we have about a hundred volunteers,” said Lieutenant Miller.
Volunteers like Taylor Hensley, who was at the fire, has the gear and the experience.
"It's a rush and it's fulfilling knowing that you're helping,” said Taylor.
But you'd never guess with all her firefighting experience that she's one of six volunteers at the station who still needs a parent signature to work. that's because she's just 17 years old.
"It feels like I should be older,” said Taylor, who finished the fire academy just a year ago. "That was probably when it got real, about this time last year, bringing home that form. It's like, yeah, there's a good chance you could get hurt.”
There are restrictions on what volunteers under the age of 18 can do. For example, they cannot do anything that threatens their lives.
"We can't go inside on a structure fire, but really, we get to do a lot," Taylor explained.
"They can attack a fire from the exterior,” said Lieutenant Miller, who knows a thing or two about starting her career passion early in life. She began volunteering for medical and fire related jobs when she was just 16.
“They come with tons of energy, lots of enthusiasm, and it gives them the opportunity to decide if this is the career path they want,” Lieutenant Miller said.
Volunteer firefighters get 12 months of training. Miller said about 85 percent of the calls they respond to are medical calls. And no matter the call, "I hope that they continue with some great morals and values," she said. "I think that's one thing that America's looking for...kind of a resurgence of values, of helping one another."
Miller said they're always looking for more volunteers of any age.
For more information on how to sign up, visit the Lane Fire Authority website.