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New bill aims to increase numbers of volunteer firefighters

A state lawmaker says it's time to take action to address a crisis that could affect you or your neighbors, a shortage of volunteer firefighters across the state. (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- A state lawmaker says it's time to take action to address a crisis that could affect you or your neighbors, a shortage of volunteer firefighters across the state.

It's an issue the I-Team first investigated more than a year ago.

We found Maine has lost half of its firefighters over the last two decades.

Fire chiefs told us the worse the problem gets, the more it puts property and lives at risk.

Now House Majority Leader Rrin Herbig is introducing a bill to spark recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters.

“Volunteer firefighters are such an integral part of our community, they provide safety training, first responders, important in rural communities particularly in rural areas they're the heart and soul of so many of the towns so many of us grew up in,” Herbig said.

The bill would provide more funding for fire training, and a new training facility.

The bill had widespread support during a public hearing this week.

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