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Support volunteer fire departments

In the past couple months, two Lincoln County families have lost their homes to fire. Just this week, a home in Loyd Star burned to the ground.

Thankfully, no one was injured but the family lost everything that couldn’t be carried out before the fire got to it.

“They were able to save some of their keepsake pictures and that type stuff,” Lincoln County Fire Coordinator Clifford Galey said.

The house is just five miles from the nearest volunteer fire station but firefighters couldn’t get enough water on the blaze to keep it out.

A Gofundme account is hoping to raise $5,000 for the family. As of Friday morning, $1,735 had been donated. To donate, search for “Walker Family House Fire” on the site.

A Bogue Chitto family also lost their home to a fire in August.  The McCaffrey home was special not just to the family, but to several Bogue Chitto student-athletes. It was like a home away from home for many of them.  Thankfully, no one was injured.

Living in the rural parts of the county has a long list of benefits but its one drawback is a lack of fire hydrants. Without a fire hydrant close by, or a pond to pump from, firefighters can only do so much to save a burning house.

I’ve seen volunteer departments deploy portable water tanks that look like above-ground swimming pools in an effort to have enough water on hand to fight a fire. Trucks shuttle water to the tank from a pond or hydrant while another pumper truck sprays the flames.

It’s not a perfect system but it’s usually the best option.

Hydrants are the answer but they’re expensive. According to officials, water departments in the county charge volunteer departments $1,500 to install a single hydrant. Considering volunteer departments are already strapped for cash, installing hydrants throughout the county isn’t going to happen.

So the departments will continue to rely on tankers to bring water to a fire. They will also continue to rely on volunteers. If you live outside Brookhaven, you’re counting on volunteers to leave their jobs — or get out of bed in the middle of the night — to help put out a fire at your house.  We ask a lot of volunteer fire departments.

All eight departments in Lincoln County need more volunteers, especially during the day.

“We’ll welcome you with open arms,” Galey said. “We’ll be glad to take you in and get you trained. We all have programs for up-and-coming firefighters.” Experience is not necessary.

If you can’t volunteer, consider donating to your volunteer department. It’s sometimes the only thing standing between you and a wall of fire.

Email publisher Luke Horton at luke.horton@dailyleader.com