Torrington's volunteer fire department closes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Torrington's volunteer fire department closes

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Burrville Fire Dept. will be closing (WFSB) Burrville Fire Dept. will be closing (WFSB)

Friday will mark the final day for a volunteer fire department that has been around for 76 years.

Torrington's Burrville Station will close its doors.

“It's unfortunate that were in the situation with the lack of staffing that Burrville had to close,” said Torrington Fire Chief Gary Brunoli.

He was a volunteer for nine years in another town before taking the paid job. He was also charged with consolidating the city's three departments into one. Two other volunteer departments will stay for now.

For Burrville, Brunoli says it’s about the available firefighters.

“Over the last 3 years in Burrville, it went from 10, to five, to four,” Brunoli said.

With a city fire budget that has been flat for eight years, Brunoli says there was little recourse.

Burrville's fire chief did not return requests for comment.

“It's just sad to see another volunteer fire department go out, you know,” said Robert Caton, of Torrington, who runs a business about a quarter mile from Burrville’s station.

He can understand why volunteers are harder to come by.

“I wish I had more time to do it myself,” Caton said.

With so many hours of training required to be a volunteer and costs for testing, it's a big sacrifice for many, and there are a lot of volunteers across Connecticut.

Burrville represents some of the more than 26,000 firefighters in Connecticut, more than 83 percent of them are volunteers.

The State's Fire Chief's Association has worked to curb the loss of volunteers, which it estimates at 11 percent over the past 37.

Over the past six years, it has received nearly $3 million in grants to help with recruiting and a 50 percent reimbursement for new recruit training.

Brunoli says Burrville's closure shouldn't affect response times since the volunteer supplement the city's paid firefighters.

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