Volunteer fire departments across south Texas are losing firefighters at an alarming rate to oil jobs.
These high-paying oil jobs require long hours leaving little, if any, time to be on stand-up for a volunteer fire department.
Pleasanton Fire Chief Chuck Garris said his department has become extremely vulnerable.
In the past year, he lost half of his volunteers to the oil fields. “It’s a major concern,” he said. “If we have a major fire during the daytime, Pleasanton may get five or six firemen to respond.” A year ago, Garris said a dozen volunteers would have been available to respond. The volunteer chief said his department has been left short-handed at the worst of times.
Pleasanton is experiencing record construction, a record number of vehicle wrecks, and is responding to more oil field related emergencies.
For the first time in the department’s near 80-year history, the city is looking at staffing paid positions.
The flight to oil jobs is also impacting the city’s other departments.
Pleasanton has lost nearly a third of all its city employees in the past year to oil companies.