Lack of firefighters closing Camden County volunteer fire company

A local community could soon be without some first responders, as a volunteer fire company is shutting down temporarily. The local fire chief says a firefighter shortage is to blame.

Inside the Cedar Brook Volunteer Fire station, in Camden County, New Jersey, the hooks for helmets and turnout gear are empty. The fire engines and hoses that used to fill the bays are also gone.

In the room just next door, Winslow Township Fire Department explaining to community members the tough decision to close the station that’s been serving the area since 1925.

"The community is growing. We’re not able to maintain the status or service delivery that we should be," Winslow Township Fire Department Chief Mark Rigberg stated.

The community won’t be left unprotected. Calls handled by the station are now going to be handled by the township’s five other fire stations. But, it may take longer to get to a fire.

One resident who had a fire next door two weeks ago wonders what will happen next time.

"I want you guys to know, it went fast. It went so fast," resident Leslie Ariello explained about the fire. "You can’t even imagine. So, we really do need this open."

The shortage of volunteer firefighters is a nationwide problem. Officials say the department needs more paid firefighters, or volunteers. But, they also know that’s a tough ask.

"The financial aspect of it. The time aspect of it. It’s a huge obligation," Winslow Township Fire Department Deputy Chief Steve Silcott explained.