Daphne opens new fire station, but volunteer departments still struggling in Baldwin County

Baldwin County

DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) – The addition of a new fire station comes at a good time in Daphne while the area is growing. Nearby Belforest Volunteer Fire Department is still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This area is growing so quick. I’m sure there are more plans for growth out here, and the residential areas are growing a lot,” said Daphne Fire Chief LeAnn Tacon.

She’s only been with the Daphne Fire Department since January, but in a short time Chief Tacon is noticing the need for more coverage on the Eastern Shore.

“I’ve had support all throughout this city and I’m very proud to be a part of that,” said Tacon.

Tuesday morning Daphne’s newest fire station opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony, filling a void that’s been missing south of County Road 64 until now.

“We’re here for them now and we’re excited to be here for them,” she continued.

While the Daphne Fire Department continues to grow, Belforest Volunteer Fire Department is still working to rebuild it’s staff from the COVID-19 pandemic. The department, which responds to emergency calls near Daphne’s new station, is down about 10 firefighters over the last year. Just up the road, though, staffing isn’t a problem.

“It’s not going to be any different than it was during the pandemic. We’ve been full staffed throughout the whole time,” said Chief Tacon.

Most Baldwin County communities like Belforest rely on volunteer firefighters during an emergency. Many of the departments confirm to WKRG News 5 they are responding to more calls with fewer volunteers. 

“It is unique that we are the only full time fire department on the Eastern Shore. We’re surrounded by volunteer and Daphne has made this a priority,” said Daphne Mayor Robin LeJeune.

For Belforest, additional help is closer than ever before if neighboring resources are needed for a major call.

“We’re very proud that we’ve been able to maintain the staffing. All of our stations are open and we’re able to provide the citizens with what they need in case of an emergency,” said Tacon.

If you’d like to volunteer, or learn more about becoming a volunteer firefighter, you can contact Chief Teresa Mitchell with the Belforest Volunteer Fire Department by calling (251) 626-8020.

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