Rosepine firefighters want updated equipment

Rosepine volunteer firefighters on strike

VERNON PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Rosepine's Volunteer Fire Department is closed.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, firefighters say they aren't coming back until the Vernon Parish Fire Board agrees to work with them to get updated equipment.

Sandy Hill's Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Hoy Duhon, said they got a call last week from Rosepine.

"One of their firefighters called me on the phone and said everyone's quitting and asked if we could go ahead and cover their area," said Duhon.

He agreed. And it's not the first time.

"Probably eight months, 10 months ago the same issue happened, it lasted about four weeks," said Duhon.

Rosepine Fire Department's Deputy Chief, Robert West, said they closed last time because the Vernon Parish Fire Board wouldn't work with them to get updated equipment.

"The last 15 years I've been doing this we've been using the same equipment. The equipment's out of date," said Deputy Chief West.

West said they only went back to work because the board agreed to help.  But to date, nothing's changed.

"It happens time and time again. Every chief we get has this battle," said West.

West said they're asking for equipment that's necessary to do their job, "A couple weeks ago we had to put out a trailer fire with a water hose. You can't serve the community like that."

Rosepine Firefighters say they're tired of the discrimination and tired of paying more for house insurance.

"Beauregard district is rated in-between a 4 and 5 each year and we're rated a 7 every year for the last 15 years. We never come down because we don't have the proper equipment to work with in Vernon Parish," explained West.

Although Sandy Hill is covering for Rosepine during the strike, they say it's a lot to handle.

"We get enough calls ourselves and then having to cover that area, it'll be the response time," said Duhon.

For now, Rosepine's VFD remains closed, and firefighters say it'll stay that way until things change.

"It's time people stood up and told this board just like us that it's time for a change," said West.

KPLC reached out to several board members for a comment but calls were not returned.

The Vernon Parish Fire Board has a meeting Monday at 6 p.m. at the Vernon Parish Police Jury administration building at 300 South Third Street in Leesville.

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