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Concerns voiced over Whitefish Fire Service Area separation proposal

Whitefish Fire Split.jpg
Posted at 7:42 AM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 09:52:52-04

WHITEFISH — Whitefish residents voiced concerns about a possible split in fire service, which could lead to slower emergency response times on Tuesday night.

Whitefish Fire Service Area board members discussed a possible split from the City of Whitefish because of proposed rate increases.

The rural district proposed the option of establishing a volunteer fire department. They would need 10-to-15 volunteers and a full-time paid fire chief.

Whitefish residents voiced concerns about slower response times and homeowner insurance rate increases if the volunteer fire department is established.

The Whitefish Fire Department currently covers the rural district service area which amounts to 40% of their fire calls on a yearly basis.

Whitefish resident Susie Gordee spoke at the meeting, asking both sides to keep talking. “Me personally -- and I think I speak for a lot of people in there -- the emotion is not directed at them.”

Fire service area board members say a final decision will be made next month. A five-year agreement between Whitefish fire and the rural district expires in June of 2021.