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House fire in Pointe Coupee Parish prompts fire districts to ask for more volunteers

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 6:56 PM CDT
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LIVONIA, La. (WAFB) - On Mother’s Day, the emergency call went out to Pointe Coupee’s District 4 Fire Station because a house fire needed to be put out and the clock was ticking.

Immediately, Even Doucet went into action. He was the first one out at the scene and the first one into the house with backup on the way.

“It’s difficult; I knew I had backup coming,” said Doucet, assistant chief for District 4 Fire Station. “You just have to be aware of anything, if the ceiling is about to collapse, or if anything you just have to back out and try a different strategy.”

Luckily, the family was not inside the home but only four firefighters responded to the fire, when in reality, 15 were needed to attack the flames.

It’s an ongoing issue for many fire departments, especially in rural areas where they often do not have enough volunteers needed for a full response.

“The parishes around Pointe Coupee, you know, like Baton Rouge, Ascension, all the time, volunteers are dying away,” said Chief Paul Pinsonant with District 4 Fire Station. “A lot of those departments are becoming paid departments and they are having trouble getting paid people transitioning from the volunteers, that lost volunteers at that.”

That’s the next step, possibly giving out more benefits and funding to volunteers or switch more firefighters to full-time but parishes like Pointe Coupee are looking into other ways to expand the budget that won’t cost taxpayers too much.

“If we can come up with new ways to recruit but at the end of the day, these districts as well as Louisiana, they have to start paying a stipend to volunteers making them part-time or giving them some more incentive to come on board,” said Parish President Major Thibaut.

Pointe Coupee’s fire districts added with more firefighters out on the scene, it not only protects them more but the public as well. That’s why they hope more will step up to help put out these fires.

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