Why one volunteer fire department may have to charge more for service

CONWAY, Mo. -- People living in a small, local town - could soon be *charged if they call 9-1-1. The Conway Fire Department - is a volunteer agency unded by membership and donations. However, less than 25-percent of land owners are paying their annual dues - which is creating a financial strain on the department.

Responders say they will not deny life saving fire services. But, anyone who gets help without paying their 45-dollar annual dues - will be billed for the service. This is a fee which can cost upwards of thousands of dollars to nonmembers.

Calls to the fire station go well beyond fires. Chief Fred Savage said, "80 percent of our call volume is medical. (We) help in the ambulance and help other stuff out. The other 20 percent is fires. So, we spend a lot of time helping the community. Over about 560 calls last year."

The Conway Fire Department is always looking for volunteers to help cover their active work load.