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Wanted: Gales Creek firefighters

    One of the five buildings in downtown Gales Creek is a volunteer fire station, and it’s in need of few more firefighters.

Matt Johnston of Forest Grove Fire & Rescue said the station’s three combat firefighters and one non-combat firefighter respond to calls across a large area.

“When you say Gales Creek, people think of the little quarter-mile community out there, but that station responds to anything in our western district,” Johnston said.

The Forest Grove District covers 85 square miles and 28,000 residents. Johnston said the remote Gales Creek station covers about a third of the Forest Grove District.

Dave Nemeyer, public information officer for FGF&R, said there were nine active firefighters out there 15 years ago.

But volunteer firefighters are dwindling these days, he said. “It’s kind of a sign of the times.” In Gales Creek, family tragedies and aging bodies have caught up with some of the previously devoted volunteers.

Meanwhile, younger people are busy with families and full-time jobs.

Distance is the main issue behind the Gales Creek recruitment push. “We will send a fire engine from Forest Grove,” Nemeyer said, but “if we can get folks from the community to beat the Forest Grove folks,” chances of squelching a fire (or stabilizing a medical problem) are much better.

The Gales Creek firehouse has a brand new brush rig and a fairly new engine, Nemeyer said. “Everything’s ready to go. We just need the bodies.”

The training academy is a two-month program coordinated by Washington County fire departments that meets weekends and a few weeknights in locations across the county.

Applications are available online at forestgrove-or.gov/city-hall/fire-department-volunteer-program.html. For more information, call 503-992-3240.



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