Clare County Township Can’t Afford Contract for Fire Services

With no funding for a contract a Clare County township is now without fire protection services.

Arthur Township was forced to cancel their contract with the Harrison Community Fire Department at the beginning of the month.

It comes after voters failed to pass a millage in November that would’ve funded the agreement.

Beginning this year, the township had a $14,000 month-by-month contract.

They were able to secure donations to pay for January and February, but that money has since run out.

“We cover the city of Harrison and nine townships, 324 square miles. It’s a large area and it costs a lot of money to have a fire department,” Harrison Community Fire Department Chief Chris Damvelt.

Harrison firefighters are always ready for the call.

“We’re a paid on call department so we don’t have people here 24 hours a day, so when the pager comes off they come running,” Damvelt, said.

But they may no longer be headed to Arthur Township, one of the areas they normally cover.

Chief Chris Damvelt says the department is speaking with legal counsel to see what they can do without a contract.

“We are in a quandary here of what do we do, if we keep on going we are not getting paid for it so what happens to the rest of the townships we contract with,” Damvelt, explained.

Until that contract is set, they may only respond if it’s a life or death situation.

“We would still respond because you just have to do something like that, we’re going to respond until we hear something different,” Damvelt, added.

A home in Arthur went up in flames in January.

“We need it, we need it. We need our fire department,” Carrie Arver, said.

Carrie Arver lives near that home.

What’s left, reminds her of the importance of fire protection.

“What’s the problem? We can’t pay for it? Is that what they are saying? Don’t you think that’s a little crazy? This is something important,” Arver, said.

She wants the contract funded as soon as possible, even if her taxes get raised.

“I think we can do that, people are spending money [more foolish] than that. I’m 82 years old and I pay taxes but I’m willing to pay a little extra for it, we need it don’t we?,” Arver, questioned.