Local volunteer fire department hopes millage will help with response time

Photo Credit: Sarah Jaeger

BAY COUNTY, Mich. -- When the call for a fire goes out in western Bay County, the Auburn Williams Fire Department is ready to respond.

"Right now we have 34 fire fighters who are 100% volunteer," says fire chief John Martinksi.

Last year, the department responded to over 600 calls including not only fires, but medical emergencies.

"Time is a virtue when it comes to running on a medical call," say Martinski.

Unfortunately, they missed roughly 50 calls, which had to be answered by neighboring departments.

"Auburn Williams has been volunteer for 68 years and we’re very proud of being volunteer," says Martinski. "It just got to the point that the community and the calls we can’t do it."

So a millage is being proposed on the August 7th primary to hire three part-time firefighters to man the station for 12 hours a day, five days a week.

Being volunteer, the crews have to come to the fire station and get gear before responding to a call giving them roughly an 11 minute response time. If someone was stationed at the building, the response time would be cut down to just four minutes.

The millage would also create paid on-call positions within the department.

"Williams Township is growing in population, Auburn is growing," says Martinski. "It’s a good place to live and what we’re doing as a fire department is to try and make it safer. I mean when you call 911 you would hope the fire department would have someone to come."

The cost of this millage for tax payers would be $100 if you live in the township and own a $100,000 home. However, if you live in the city limits, it would cost $200.



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