LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - Volunteer fire stations in Albany County
complain that they have outdated equipment and hardly any funding.
Firefighters blame the Albany County Fire District.
"They're not providing any support whatsoever to any of the
rural fire departments. We could use, if nothing else, some
financial support," said Jeff Mitros, head of the Vedauwoo Fire
Department.
Vedauwoo is the district's newest station. The station has a
fire truck that dates to 1951.
"I've got guys in my department wearing fire protective suits
that are 15 or 20 years old," said Dan Williams, head of Big
Laramie Valley Fire Department.
The stations have acquired much of their equipment from other
departments.
Firefighters say the district would not have funding problems if
it applied for 3 mills in annual tax revenue, as it is legally
entitled, and not just 1 mill.
Tim Sullivan, the elected official to the fire board, said the
Big Laramie and Centennial Valley fire departments decided to form
their own fire zones, making them ineligible for governmental
immunity.
"They're not really part of the government," he said.
"They're just kind of a volunteer ... it's kind of like they could
be a Moose Club. That's about their legal status."
He said the fire board does not have a legal mechanism to
transfer funds to the rural departments.
"Until we get the bylaws advertised and approved, we're kind of
stuck," he said. "We provide money for training - We're more than
happy to do that. But as far as operating expenses and buying
equipment, legally we can't do it at this point."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)