NEAR GRANTS PASS, Ore. – – One of three private fire companies that protect homes in Josephine County is now going out of business. Inland Fire says it will cease operations in October. It means there’s one less company to compete with. For years, the three companies battled for subscriptions and homes, now one is calling it quits and some residents now say they want to see a change in their fire protection.
Much of rural Josephine County is protected by 3 private fire companies, one of them, Inland Fire, is now out of business and some residents say that’s a problem. Harry Mackin says that’s why he supports the creation of a public fire district, to make sure people stay safe if a private company wants to leave.
“They can’t go on strike, they can’t pick up and leave, they’re a stable part of the community and you can depend on them when an emergency occurs, said Mackin.
Inland Fire had been in operation for six years, but their fire chief says poor economic conditions in Josephine County is forcing them to close. They served more than 100 customers, who will all recieve refunds. The department had competed against Rural-Metro and Grants Pass Rural Fire Department.
The three companies worked on subscriptions, which means there was a high level of competition among the three. Sometimes on a fire, one company would show up first, only to see a second company arrive up the road a few minutes later, and the two would have to decide who would end up battling that fire. Rural Metro says losing a competitor won’t change they way they do business, but says if there’s support for a public fire district, that would change the system.
“We go to all the emergencies, we will continue to go to all the emergencies, regardless if they’re our customers or they’re our competitor’s customers,” said Rural-Metro Fire Department’s Jes Webb. “If they do get around to proposing that on the ballot, we would support their decision and we’d work with it.”
There will not be anything on the ballot in November about a fire district. Supporters say the county public safety financial troubles forced them to put off their plans until a future election.