Tipton County officials looking to beef up county fire protection - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Justin Hanson

Tipton County officials looking to beef up county fire protection

Tipton County Fire officials are looking at ways to beef up fire protection in the county.

There has even been discussion of changing from a volunteer to a county-wide fire department. 

Pictures taken by The Leader show fire-fighters from across Tipton County fighting a house fire outside Munford.

But officials said it is not the size of the fire, but lack of manpower that caused such a problem in getting it under control.

"Both of our two people available in the city responded into the county which then left our city without fire protection at all, which is not acceptable," Munford Fire Chief Jay Bonson said.

Just last week, Covington firefighters called for help in fighting a deadly house fire. 

And county officials said requests for help are happening more and more.

"When the structure fire comes in, one of our full time fire departments responds to every one in the county," Tipton County Fire Coordinator Kinny Bridges said.

The county is looking at several options, including a county-wide fire fee to help solve the manpower issue.

"We have decent equipment but we can't get it from point A to point B," Bonson said.

About 78 percent of the firefighters in Tipton County are volunteer and most of them work in Shelby County. So if there is a major fire, there is not enough manpower to help fight it.

In Covington, fires outside city limits are not just a manpower issue.

Their department spends about $100,000 a year answering fire calls outside city limits. 

"Whatever the plan may be, it would have to be better than what it is now," Covington Fire Chief Jerry Craig said.

A plan firefighters hope is developed before someone loses their life. 


Click here to e-mail Justin Hanson.

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