The Toney Volunteer Fire Department is marking half a century of service. Some of the original members are still serving, but as the population grows so does their need.
The President of the Toney Volunteer Fire Department said the department started out with just one station and six members but has since grown to three stations and around 30 members. He said two of the founding members are still with the department today.
"They have a lot of knowledge there especially going that far back to see where we started and where we are right now. And I know that they're very proud to see and very happy to see how the department's progressing," said Heath Jones.
A lot has changed over the last 50 years including a population growth. Jones said with the Facebook Data Center and Mazda-Toyota coming to town, new subdivisions are being built. This means more space for the volunteer department to cover, which Jones said will be difficult given their staffing levels.
"Having adequate manpower is not just our problem. It's a problem within Madison County as a whole. Every volunteer fire department has an issue with manpower."
The department shares a $3 million tax with 15 other volunteer departments. They use the money to purchase equipment. Jones said it can cost up to $10,000 for equipment and gear for just one firefighter.
"The turnout ensemble that each firefighter wears is approximately close to $3,000. Each radio that each one our members have is $3,000."
Jones said the department is in need of donations for equipment and gear. All donations are tax deductible and go directly to funding the department. The volunteer department is also recruiting more volunteers. Volunteers must be 18 years old and live in the Toney community.