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Socorro Takes First Step Towards Paid Fire Department

Socorro Takes First Step Towards Paid Fire Department
Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 4:52pm

SOCORRO - The City of Socorro could soon be on it's way to starting a paid fire department. That could mean faster response times for neighbors, but would volunteer firefighters be out of a job?

Socorro Mayor Trini Lopez says it's time firefighters are paid in Socorro.

"The City of Socorro has been very well served by the volunteer fire department," lopez said. "Although, I think having a 24-hour paid fire department will be quicker to jump into the truck and get to the scene."

Mayor Lopez says he realized the city needed a paid fire department after a brushfire spread through Socorro nearly four years ago and destroyed some homes. A lot of people felt the homes could have been saved if firefighters were able to get to the scene quicker. Right now volunteer firefighters go to school or hold jobs to make a living. That means response times are delayed.

Volunteer firefighters wouldn't talk to us about the city's hope for a paid fire department. They said they didn't want to make the matter political, but their fate for a job they love doing is in the air. Mayor Lopez says taxes fund the volunteer fire department, and those funds could be used to start a paid department. First they would need to hire a paid fire chief, and city council is voting on a job description for the position Thursday night.

"We're going to get into the mechanics of forming the actual fire department with the help of a experienced person who knows the in and outs, a-to-z, of having a paid fire department," Lopez said.

The mayor says volunteer firefighters will likely still be needed, and he hopes they can work together for the citizens of Socorro.

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