The village of Bellaire now has their own volunteer fire department again, but not without some controversy.
The department started taking emergency calls as of midnight Wednesday night. The Neffs Fire Department had served as the primary fire agency for the residence in the village for the last 11 years, but as of Thursday, that is no longer the case.
For the last several months, residents have been voicing their concerns about the switch during village council meetings. Bellaire Fire Chief Bill Swoyer said they have a roster of eighteen volunteers who are always on standby - ready to spring into action when needed and residents should feel safe. "We are 100 percent for the community, everything will be developed for the community for the people of Bellaire, and I truly believe everything will be great. I think we'll have more people showing up at the door wanting to join, we will be starting an auxiliary soon for fund-raisers and items like that and getting more community involvement that way also," said Swoyer.
The department hadn't taken any calls early Thursday afternoon, but they have crews on station ready to handle emergencies.
During their down time, crews have been inspecting fire equipment and settling into the station.
They have found some minor issues with equipment, but that is all being taken care of and Swoyer told us any faulty equipment they had come across has been replaced. He also said the fire department has another five firefighters who will begin training on August 11.