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Local volunteer and rescue squads impacted by increasing fuel prices

When it comes to filling up at the pump, some first responders in East Tennessee are feeling the impact when it comes to fueling their fire trucks.
When it comes to filling up at the pump, some first responders in East Tennessee are feeling the impact when it comes to fueling their fire trucks.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:37 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - When it comes to filling up at the pump, some first responders in East Tennessee are feeling the impact when it comes to fueling their fire trucks.

”We haven’t cut back on any services but just being very conscious,” shared Chief John Linsenbigler with the Seymour Volunteer Fire Department.

Linsenbigler said while serving as a non-profit they’ve already noticed an increase in the amount of money it is taking them to fuel up their fire engines and auxiliary vehicles. In total, the chief said they have 27 vehicles in their fleet and have already noticed a big difference in their fuel costs.

“Our current fuel bill for the first three months is $8,200. It was $4,700 dollars last year this time,” said Linsenbigler.

He said Seymour Volunteer Fire Department depends on help from the community to help them, help serve others.

“We’re an agent with Sevier County United Way, one of their designated agencies, and people who make direct payroll deposits and payroll deductions from their employer, they can designate us through any of their United Ways. You know Amazon Smiles, Kroger rewards I mean there are all those little things that all non-profits do to try to get some funding in. But when you have a very large operation that’s very needed and you only have about 10% of the population of residents that we serve to donate cause they think that it’s part of their property tax and it’s not,” explained Linsenbigler.

He said to help prevent the worst from happening and to cut costs, the department has canceled garbage services, and volunteer firefighters are taking the department’s trash to the dump themselves.

”Each firetruck takes about 50-60 gallons of fuel, and they get fuel every day,” Bagwell said. “So this truck probably holds 50 gallons. So 50 times $5 a gallon if it is completely empty, you’re looking at a couple of hundred dollars every day for just one truck. We actually have about 23, and 18 stations so it gets pretty costly in a hurry. We may not be able to buy as many new tools. We may have to make the older one last longer. Things like that may have to take place for us to keep the budget balanced throughout the course of the year.”

Chief Linsenbigler said unlike how other businesses have been able to increase the price of their services to better adjust, Seymour Volunteer Fire department can not increase the costs of their services to make up the difference. He said the best way to help out volunteer and rescue squads in the area is to donate.

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