Onley volunteer fire department could close August 1st

Posted at 5:18 PM, Jul 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-14 17:18:42-04

ONLEY, Va. -  Onley Fire and Rescue, staffed entirely by volunteers on Virginia's Eastern Shore, could ease operations at the start of next month.

Chief Christopher Davis says staffing and revenues not matching expenses are the primary reasons for the possible closure.

Our difficulty is we have a revenue shortfall. The revenue shortfall is because we serve a largely uninsured population. We've cut every expense we can cut, we've sold and we are in the process of selling our assets now, equipment, there's a lot next door to the firehouse we are looking to sell," he told News 3's Todd Corillo.

Staffing is also a problem for the agency, as many of their volunteers work jobs during the week, making it difficult to maintain full coverage.

"We do it 24/7, 365 all volunteer but I can see we are now coming to a place where we are not able to staff especially in the daytime. If we can't make corrections, one to our financial picture, but two to our staffing, we don't know that we will be able to continue much beyond the first of August," Davis explained.

Town Councilman Matt Hart is in support of the town assisting the fire department, but right now there doesn't seem to be much additional support. Hart has seen firsthand the benefit of having the volunteer fire department in town.

"Last summer a property that I own here in town caught fire here, the garage, and their quick response is the reason why it's still there," Hart commented.

If the station does close, it would be up to other nearby departments to respond to any calls.