Volunteer firefighting crews feeling the pinch in N.J.

A lack of volunteers is having an effect on firefighting efforts and organizations around New Jersey.

One South Jersey fire station will have to shut down by the end of the year.

The Winslow fire house in Camden County will close because officials say there are not enough volunteers to maintain the equipment there.

Winslow Fire District acting Chief Terry Osborne says economic conditions are making it hard to attract volunteers in many communities.

“The availability for firefighters, male or female, to come out, join the fire company, maintain certifications, is becoming more and more difficult in an era where both husband and wife work and they may be working two or three jobs,” he said.

Obsorne said the five other fire stations in the district should provide adequate protection.

New Jersey State Firemen’s Association President George Hefflich said the future for volunteer fire squads looks bleak. He predicts more towns will have to pay for their firefighting service.

The necessary training and the economy are two factors Hefflich said that are discouraging volunteer firefighters.

“You get a young volunteer. He gets through fire school if he does put his 180 hours in,” Hefflich said. “If he’s married, he’s working two jobs, then you can’t afford to pay the rent in some of the towns you live in because the rent is too high, so they move. “

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