Three Fire Departments Continue to Cover Pleasant Run Township
HELTONVILLE - JUNE 23, 2022 - At this time three fire departments have been contracted to provide fire protection up to the end of July in Pleasant Run Township.
On May 1st the Pleasant Run Township Trustee Michael Nicholson asked Marshall Township and Shawswick to provide fire protection for Pleasant Run Township in the amount of $3,000 to supplement their fuel costs.
The developments into the fire protection for Pleasant Run Township continue due to the fact that on June 12, 2022, Lawrence County Sheriff Department was advised that there was no longer a contract for Pleasant Run firefighters to provide fire protection in that area. Based on the information given to the sheriff the fire department was removed from the Lawrence County 911 dispatch center.
It was since learned that the fire contract remains in effect until the end of 2022. Pleasant Run Township Trustee Michael Nicholson told Lawrence County Zephyr that a private meeting between the township officials and the fire department was to be conducted shortly.
The Pleasant Run Volunteer Fire Department has since been put back on 911 dispatch until there is better clarification on what is happening between the two parties.
Sheriff Mike Branham has sent a letter to all township trustees requesting an update of their contracts with the respective volunteer fire departments.
Lawrence County Zephyr has requested that when a public hearing is being held on fire protection we would like to be notified.
Nicholson told Lawrence County Zephyr that because the fire contract between the township and Pleasant Run Township Volunteer Fire Department was annulled that Indiana State Board of Account advised him that he did not have to notify the public of any changes to the township fire protection.
However, he agreed to notify the Lawrence County Zephyr of future public hearings on the matter.
Nicholson states the Pleasant Run Volunteer Fire Department has violated their contracts on two conditions which includes not providing a financial statement and an inventory list of the department's equipment.
Lawrence County Zephyr asked on whether the township plans on merging fire operations to the planned Shawswick/Guthrie Township Fire Territory to which he replied there is no plans on what fire protection service the township will use.
Volunteer fire departments in Lawrence County and across the nation continue to close their doors due to the lack of volunteers, increase time for training, work and family life demands.
Lawrence County Volunteer Fire Departments Already Shutter Operations
In Lawrence County two volunteer fire departments have disbanded which include Guthrie Township after former Guthrie Township Trustee Robert Awbrey did not renew the contract with that department.
The Williams Volunteer Fire Department discontinued operations after Michelle Cornette contracted with Indian Creek Township due to the Williams Volunteer Fire Department did not have enough personnel to cover emergency runs.
Both Pleasant Run and Williams Volunteer Fire Department was the earliest organizations to form due to a lack of fire protection back in the 60 and 70s.
Volunteer fire departments save taxpayers approximately $64 Million according to statistic quoted by Shawwsick Fire Chief Bobby Brown at a recent public meeting at the Lawrence County Council meeting.
During the COVID pandemic Marion Township Volunteer Fire Department requested $89,000 which was denied by county officials stating the funds will be used to cover county employee stipends.
The only two public safety agencies to receive COVID funds was the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department and Seals Ambulance Service.
Lawrence County Zephyr will continue to monitor developments on this story.