MENTONE, Ala. - Being a firefighter isn't an easy job. They risk their lives to protect us.
First wildfires, then a prominent business burned last week. It's been a rough stretch for firefighters in the North Lookout Mountain Volunteer Protection District.
WHNT News 19 drove over there with what we hoped would be a reassuring gesture.
"I've been with the department for going on 17 years and I've never seen nothing like this with the dry weather and amount of fires we have," says Chief Joseph Lee.
For Chief Lee and his crew, it's been a draining last few weeks - both physically and financially.
"Just to give you an example, we went from a couple of months ago spending $300 all month in fuel for all of our trucks in all stations to the week before last the fuel bill was $800 for one week," describes Lee.
The equipment is being tested too.
"When these trucks sit out all night in the smoke and weather conditions, you really don't know what kind of damage that's causing," explains Lee. "You know, like a pump going down or an engine going down or we may have to have a set of tires for a truck. A set of tires for a fire truck is $2,000."
While it all adds up quickly, so does the support like WHNT News 19's $319 Pay it Forward cash contribution, food, water or something else. Big or small, Chief Lee says they're grateful.
"It's the same feeling if somebody comes up and gives us a pair of gloves they bought at the dollar store as somebody that calls and sends us a check for $500."
The work on the wildfires continues and therefore, so does the needs of the fire district. If you want to help, you can make a donation online, drop it off at Fire Station #1 located at 5907 Al Highway 117, Mentone, AL, or call (256) 634-0084.
We want to point out that there are many wonderful fire departments in North Alabama. We just stepped in here to help since the need was so immediate and great.