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Critics say Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co. needs to improve

July 31, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

After the Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to suspend Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co.’s operations, they heard from several critics of the fire department.

One of the most poignant stories was told by Michael and Stacy Carder, whose house on Dustin Drive burned on April 20, 2011.

“We lost everything that day,” Michael Carder told the commissioners.

Stacy Carder said their house is less than five miles from Fairplay’s fire station, but other fire companies arrived before Fairplay did.

When Michael Carder got the call that his house was on fire, he was at Valley Mall in Halfway, and he also got to his house before Fairplay did, he said.

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Stacy Carder cried as she talked about the family’s losses that day, including five pets.

While the family was living in a camper as their home was being rebuilt, a power line fell on their property, Michael Carder said. That time, Fairplay never responded, he said.

Rocky Willis said she runs a day-care program near Fairplay’s fire hall, but can’t count on Fairplay to respond first to a call.

She said Sharpsburg arrived first when she was having what might have been a heart attack.

“Fairplay is 150 feet from my house,” she said. “Where were they?”

Doug Moyers said Fairplay used to have more volunteers than it needed when he ran on calls, but no more.

The Carders and others alleged that the fire company needs new leadership before it can rebound and replenish its pool of volunteers.

“This fish stinks from the head down,” Tim Almany said.

Jeb Eckstine congratulated the commissioners for taking action.

“Thank you for finally standing up and dealing with it,” he said.

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