A huge fire broke out early Thursday morning at a house outside Heath Springs. Firefighters took video because there were enough of them there to fight to fire. But that's too often not the case when a fire happens during the work day.
"Volunteerism is becoming a dying breed," said Lancaster County Fire Marshal Stephen Blackwelder.
The numbers are shocking.
In 1995, Lancaster County had about 55,000 people and 550 volunteer firefighters.
In 2013, the population is near 80,000, yet there are only 300 volunteer firefighters.
That's why this week, county leaders accepted a grant for a million dollars to hire 10 paid firefighters to work daytime hours.
With the disappearance of textile mills, most people now work 8-to-5 jobs, so they're not around during the day. As the county has rapidly grown, the volunteer shortage has reached a critical level.
"State law requires that six firefighters are on the scene of a house fire if they are going to go inside the house to fight the fire. Here in Lancaster County, during the day, they almost never have that many," Blackwelder said. "That's even though we call out three fire departments. Sometimes nobody is available for one fire department or the other."
Anthony Kazmierczak's house caught fire three years ago. He's concerned about the need for more volunteers.
"I don't know how much the volunteer fire departments are doing to go out and recruit new members, but it's got to be tough," he said.
The department is waiting to hear about another grant that would give them a recruiting officer.
Volunteer firefighters are also getting older, and fewer young people are showing. The fire marshal hopes if they get the grant to hire a recruiter, that will change.