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Chief: Number of first-responders at fire ‘amazing’

A truck is parked among the burned contents of a pole building Monday.

A chief described the number of first-responders who assisted at a Seneca Township fire Sunday night as “amazing.”

Chief Rodney Clinger of Sycamore Volunteer Fire and Rescue said people’s perception of fire and EMS, what they expect of first-responders and what they assume is the situation are surprising.

“‘You don’t have people on station?’ No. … We’re all volunteer,” he said.

The fire at 1260 W. CR 6 was reported about 9:10 p.m., and personnel from Sycamore Volunteer Fire Department, NBS Joint Fire District, Bascom Joint Fire District, NBS EMS District, Seneca County Sheriff’s Office and Seneca County Community Emergency Response Team assisted.

Clinger expressed appreciation for the mutual aid departments and especially Chris Daniel, assistant chief of Bascom Joint Fire District.

Daniel operated an excavator owned by the property owner to move the roof and siding.

Clinger estimated 40-50 volunteers — from CERT to firefighters — showed up and described it as “amazing.”

He reflected on people leaving families on Sunday evening, knowing they had to go to work Monday.

A couple of crew members had to return to their full-time firefighting jobs at 7 a.m. Monday.

This happened after leaving the scene about 2:15 a.m. and still having work to do at the station.

Sycamore crew members didn’t leave the station until about 4:30 a.m., Clinger said.

Clinger said it is just what they do and is a testament to the community and quality of people who are on volunteer departments and are willing to do that.

Most people who volunteer in the fire service know that somebody else is having a bad day, and they’re here to try to smooth it out as best as they can for them and help them get through it, Clinger said.

Clinger reflected on assumptions that firefighters are getting paid to be there and that it’s their career. Sycamore firefighters are paid $50 a year, which is enough to qualify them for Bureau of Workers’ Compensation benefits.

“That’s nothing,” he said.

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