Fire Department Hiring, Hoping to Make More Money

Kingsburg's fire chief says his department needs to spend some money, to make some money.

A look inside the ambulance parked outside the station Monday afternoon in downtown Kingsburg gives you a clear idea of the need that the department faces.

The ambulance is 14 years old. The driver's seat is torn up. The odometer is close to 300,000 miles. "You can see it's kind of worn," says Tim Ray, Kingsburg's Fire Chief since 2011. He's been with the department for 28 years.

He says budget cuts have made it tough to buy new equipment, like engines and ambulances. "We are desperately seeking funds to replace those ambulances so we can keep going, supporting ourselves," he says.

Ray tells KMPH Fox 26 News the ambulances help to generate about 70 to 75 percent of his department's budget.

But, here's the catch. Before he can buy a new one, he needs to hire Emergency Medical Technicians to staff it. His department also needs Paid-Call Firefighters.{}

Tuesday afternoon, one ambulance was on a call. The second was parked. And a third was inside Kingburg's Fire Station No. 2. It's used in case the two main ambulances face repair issues.

The second fire station sits empty. It was built in 2004, and was briefly used while the first fire station was remodeled. "At that time we were on the track of staffing five people full time,so there'd be three here and two over there. But by the time it was completed, was when the economy went down," Ray says.

If a lack of staffing isn't enough, the department could also use donations to replace some of its tattered furniture. Office chairs are ripped. The springs are showing on a recliner. Some were donated by local philanthropic groups like the Junior Women's Club, The Lions, and Kiwanis. The rest are, "hand-me-downs from other departments."

Chief Ray says things are looking up. His department has a strong explorers program to expose the youth to the profession. Plus, "the budget is starting to improve, a little bit. Cities seem to take a little bit longer," he says.

If you'd like to apply for a Paid-Call firefighter or EMT job, you can go to:

Currently, Kingsburg will only be hiring those who live in and around the city.{}

If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation to the Kingsburg Professional Firefighters Association, you can call 559-897-5457.