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Local volunteer fire departments seek new recruits to protect communities

Jess Tolman, the chief of the Vale Fire & Ambulance is looking for more volunteers to help beef up the ranks of his agency. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – Jess Tolman, chief of Vale Fire & Ambulance, is looking for a few good volunteers.

So is Eric Mechanca, chief of the Nyssa Fire Department.

Menchaca and Tolman oversee largely volunteer fire departments and they face the same problem: Lack of personnel.

Tolman and Menchaca said recruiting volunteers is a constant challenge.

“We haven’t found very many willing to volunteer,” said Menchaca.

Tolman can now deploy about 16 volunteers to a blaze. Menchaca oversees 14 volunteer firefighters. Menchaca said he would a roster of 25. Tolman said he would like “about 20 or so volunteer firefighters that are available 24-7 . . .