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Special type of volunteer firefighters credited for containing ten grassfires

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A special type of volunteer fire department in Carl Junction is credited for helping to contain ten different grassfires in the area.  The grassfires happened yesterday evening and early this morning.  

Firefighters say any one of those fires could've ended up much worse than what happened/

There's been a spark inside 20-year-old Andrew Patterson.

"I've wanted to be a firefighter since I was a little kid," says Patterson.

He's a resident volunteer firefighter in Carl Junction.

"They live here rent free," says Joe Perkins, Chief of Operations for CJ's fire department.

Patterson's home is a dorm in the upstairs of fire station number one.

"They have to earn that by putting in 60 hours a week of service to the department," says Perkins.

Blow in some details of a busy day on Sunday.

"We had probably five calls there in an hour," says Patterson.

By early Monday morning, firefighters in Carl Junction had gotten calls for 10 different grassfires.  Most of them started out as controlled burns early in the afternoon, with calm weather conditions.  But fires never seemed to completely cool with gusty winds later in the evening.

"They need to consider 12 to 24 hours after the fire is extinguished," says Perkins.

Then there was a grassfire along Highway 171.  Firefighters say wind swayed two power lines together, sending down sparks and igniting a blaze that charred about 2 acres of land and threatened eight to 10 houses.

"We were very fortunate that we got out there as fast as we did," says Perkins.

"That's thanks in a big part to resident volunteer firefighters like Patterson, who were near all the right equipment to get the job done.  With all the fires, there were no injuries or substantial property damages.

"I really enjoy being here in this area," says Patterson.  "It's a nice place to kind of get your foot in the door and start everything."

It's the start of a career to end fires.

There's a total of nine paid staff members of the Carl Junction Fire Protection District, and six resident volunteer firefighters.  

Firefighters say it's important to call a fire station and ask if weather over the next several hours will allow outdoor burning.

 

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