MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - In Medical Lake, if there was a fire, car crash, or any big emergency, one in four 911 calls, weren't being answered.
"We've struggled to meet the rising call demands out here," former Fire Chief, Jason Mayfield, said.
The Medical Lake Fire Department, until Wednesday, was made up completely of volunteers, something that Chief Mayfield says, has been hurting the community for years.
"It's not just something that's Medical Lake, it's industry wide. Volunteers are down across the country, it was just a matter of time before the wheels completely fell off," Chief Mayfield said.
If Medical Lake volunteers couldn't respond to a call, ambulances from Downtown Spokane, Spokane Valley, or the Northside, had to hustle to the small town, hoping to get there in time. Fire crews had to respond from Airway Heights or Cheney. These calls weren't free, and were costing taxpayers from other cities.
Medical Lake decided in August, they wanted a change. It was time to hire full-time firefighters and EMT's.
Wednesday, the fire department that's been serving Medical Lake since 1904, officially closed its doors. Now, Medical Lake calls will be fielded by Spokane County Fire District 3, with a new name soon to be painted on the wall: Station 311.
"There will be no unanswered calls, if they have to call 911, someone is coming," Chief Mayfield said.