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Alfalfa gets first fire chief as district works to get going

KTVZ

A fire in Alfalfa Tuesday destroyed a house and reminded the community of its lack of fire protection.

Voters approved a fire district in the fall of 2013, but it’s not yet fully up and running. Wednesday marked a big step toward getting that done.

A town hall meeting in Alfalfa introduced the community to their new fire chief, Ron Thompson.

After serving for 35 years in California’s Orange County, his new role in Central Oregon has pulled him out of retirement.

“I kind of found out that they didn’t have anything here — there was no fire protection whatsoever in the district,” Thompson said.

The destructive house fire Tuesday reminded the community of its vulnerability.

“That fire yesterday just down the street from us was kind of a reality check of what can really happen and how quickly it can happen,” said Alfalfa resident Cameron McKenna.

Even though it’s been almost three years since the unincorporated area east of Bend overwhelmingly approved a fire district, Alfalfa is still without some of the necessities to effectively fight fires.

Thompson said the thing they need most is volunteers.

“The district can’t afford to have full-time crews out here. So volunteers are it,” he said. ” Really, they’re going to provide the fire; they’re going to provide the EMS, first responder, and everything that we do out here. It’s going to be all volunteers.”

He also said they’ll eventually need more than the two fire engines they have, along with ways to transport water into the district. They are also in the planning process of building a fire station.

While some in the community expressed concern over the added money that will take, others will just be happy to finally have some security.

“I’d say we’re really excited to get the fire department. It’s pretty scary to know that you’re not protected by the city of Bend,” McKenna said.

For more information or to volunteer, visit http://www.alfalfafiredistrict.org/

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KTVZ News Team

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