Mixed feelings over potential closing, merging fire department with county

HAZEL, KY – The Calloway County Fire and Rescue notified the Hazel, Kentucky, City Council they would no longer provide mutual aid to the city, beginning next month. Now, the city is considering closing its fire department and trying to merge with the county fire and rescue.

City leaders and people who live there both tell me they have mixed feelings about it.

Hazel is known for antiquing. A lot of business owners say if they couldn’t rely on the fire department, their businesses could be in trouble.

Between all the knick-knacks and antiques, Jerry Parsons and his wife, Barbara, were glad they could give away a piano to a well-deserving church Wednesday.

In their antique shop, they value tradition. And they honor it. They’ll be married 55 years this June.

So, if the city were to close the firehouse across the street, not only would they be concerned about getting help in time, but to them it’d be like taking away a tradition.

“All we have is a water hose out back, and that’s not going to put out a fire,” Jerry says.

City Councilman Scooter Paschall says it’s coming down to money and recruitment, and they don’t have enough of either at the fire department. He says the city has a big decision, and will try to make the best decision for the city.

“It’s one of those things. It’s kind of nostalgia you don’t want to see go, but once again the bottom line is going to take care of what’s right here in your city,” Paschall says.

But, if you ask Jerry and Barbara, sometimes you keep working at it whether the money’s there or not.

“Some people say ‘You make a lot of money.’ We’re not making money. We’re doing this because we like to be together,” Jerry says.

I did speak with other people in town who said they’re in favor of a merger. They know the Calloway County Fire Rescue has more resources and more experience. The city will make a decision next month.

We reached out to Calloway County Fire and Rescue to see why the mutual aid agreement was ending in a month. So far, we haven’t heard back from them, but we will let you know what they say when we do.

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