Volunteer firefighters battle the cold and the flames to serve others

Volunteer firefighters

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - When a call comes in, they go out -- whether it's in the heat of the summer or the bitter cold of the winter, the region's volunteer firefighters help protect county residents and businesses.

"Firefighting and EMS is one of the things you either love or you hate when you get into it, and once you get it in your blood you just can't get it out," says Bristol, Tenn/ Assistant Fire Chief Mike Carrier.

It's been a busy and very cold week for crews; many were called out to Tuesday's fire at ColdStar International in the Piney Flats Industrial Park, an area served solely by volunteer firefighters.

"It's fun to do and when you learn the trade of being a fireman, it's kind of a way to keep up with that. You get to run calls and kind of keep up with your skills. Just helping out with people, it's just fun to do," says Piney Flats Volunteer Fire Chief Todd Justice.

Since they're not paid, the volunteer firefighters have other jobs, too. "We have a teacher, some cops, and just various trades," adds Justice.

Some are even full-time firefighters for cities like Bristol, Tennessee. "Out of the 57 employees we have here at Bristol, Tennessee Fire Department, 44 of them are either currently volunteers or have volunteered," adds Carrier.

On Tuesday, many actually went right to the Piney Flats fire scene after working a 24-hour shift for the city.

We're told it's a desire to serve, and they do it proudly.

It's something Lynn Moore and his daughter Vickie are very thankful for after a recent fire in their home. "They went above and beyond what most people would. It's really appreciated because we wouldn't have what we have now if it wasn't for them," Lynn said.

Those who volunteer their time and talent to help others say some may not realize the importance of having fire crews available until they need them in an emergency situation.

We're told volunteer firefighters in Tennessee are required to have 64 hours of training before becoming a firefighter.

It's suggested you call your local fire department to learn about upcoming training sessions.

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