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Upcoming Retirements Could Put Stewartville Fire Department in a Bind

June 22, 2018 07:37 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- The Stewartville Fire Department has more than 30 volunteers, but only a quarter can respond to calls during the day. Pretty soon that number will be cut in half.

Mark Podein founded Podein’s Power Equipment with his brother in 1984.  Two years later, he joined the Stewartville Fire Department.

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 "We're about one block from the fire department, so we're usually one of the first ones to get there," said Mark Podein.

Mark is one of four members who own local businesses in Stewartville, which means they are around Monday through Friday to respond to emergencies. And they are the first to admit they are getting older.

"The four of us are not quite ready to retire yet. But anytime we could retire, we've all got our years in, but there is no one stepping up behind us to help during the day," Mark Podein said.

Fire Chief Vance Swisher said part of the problem is there are a lot less local businesses in Stewartville, meaning there aren’t as many business owners who can run in and out of the office during the day.  

"We're finding that it's more difficult to find volunteers Monday through Friday, 8-5, who are able to respond to calls for service. Both medical and fire-related," Swisher said.

Mark has loved his time in the department.

"We spend a lot of time down there. We're there Monday nights for our practices. We just get very, very close family down there," Podein said.

He wants to know someone will be there to take his place when he steps aside.

Anyone interested in joining the Stewartville Fire Department is encouraged to contact city hall for an application.

Credits

Talia Milavetz

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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