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Leadership, community support key in revival of Spring City Fire Department

 

The success of Spring City in building its fire department from the ground up is an example for other communities to emulate.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Messenger reported that the Spring City Fire Department was hurting severely for manpower and equipment. In fact, the department was practically on life support.

As is often the case, leadership became the linchpin, and it came from Spring City’s police chief, Clarke Christensen. The city asked him, in addition to his police duties, to take over as fire chief.

Although Christensen admits he was a little overwhelmed with the double duty, he brought three decades of experience as a firefighter, lawman and EMT in Orem to the task.

Christensen tackled the problems, one at a time. First, he and Spring City Councilman Cody Harmer, who was also a volunteer fire fighter started looking for people.

Asking “anyone and everyone they could,” they spread the word through local wards and social media that the city needed volunteer firefighters.

“Man or woman, we have a place for you,” they said.

Men and women will follow good leaders, and men, women, couples and whole families stepped up.

Sixteen volunteers enrolled for the first fire training certification course. The department now has 25 certified volunteer firefighters, seven of whom are women. In fact, some of the most dedicated volunteers are female.

Christensen and Harmer went a step further. They encouraged Don and Cassy Chambers to found Friends of Spring City Fire, now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The Friends donated time and raised money to ensure that the volunteers had gear such as fire boots. They also supplied meals for the firefighters during their time at the fire academy.

With a dedicated group of volunteers, the department has faithfully and effectively served their city and its residents, fighting fires at home and lending its strength in fires that raged across Central Utah during 2018 such as Coal Hollow, Pole Creek and Hilltop wildfires.

Sometimes working 14 hours per day in the field, volunteers who helped fight these fires not only represented their city, but also earned income, which will go towards more resources and equipment.

The department continues to evolve as it matures. As chairman of the North Sanpete Ambulance Association, as well as police and fire chief in Spring City, Christensen is calling for his crew to get their EMT certifications to help improve emergency medical response times in Spring City. An EMT training course is scheduled to begin in January.

While other departments in the county struggle with lack of volunteers, lack of equipment, lack of resources and little or no budget, the growth of Spring City Fire Department, and the community support it has garnered, is proof that well-meaning people can rise to the occasion to improve and protect the lives of their entire town.

We applaud Spring City Fire for rising like the phoenix from the ashes. And we offer Spring City as an example to other struggling fire departments in the county.