🚒 Shortage of volunteers causes closure of three fire houses in Winslow

🚒 At times, units are unable to respond to emergencies

🚒 Firefighter shortages reach dangerous levels in many towns


A Camden County town has been forced to close three fire stations and combine what little staff they do have into one location.

Winslow Township Fire Chief Marc Rigberg says they have been trying to work through a severe shortage of volunteers, but "the times and budget constraints have caught up with us."

Rigberg says at one time, the 60-square-mile township had nine fire stations and 140 volunteer firefighters to staff them.

Today, the department is down to just 35 volunteers and only 24 of them have received the required training to be considered "structural firefighters."

Facebook/Winslow Township Fire Department
Facebook/Winslow Township Fire Department
loading...

The severe manpower shortage, Rigberg says, has led to times when a call comes out for help and the department is unable to respond.

"This shortage has been communicated out to the community in a variety of ways many times over the last few years," Rigberg says, "but these efforts have fallen short of our needs."

By the end of 2024 the Tansboro, Albion and Elm fire stations will close and be consolidated at the fire headquarters along Cedar Brook Road.

The Tansboro Fire House is among the stations closing in Winslow Township due to a lack of volunteers. Google Maps
The Tansboro Fire House is among the stations closing in Winslow Township due to a lack of volunteers.
Google Maps
loading...

Shortage is not unique to Winslow Township

New Jersey 101.5 has been reporting on volunteer fire fighter shortages for years.

Nationally, the number of volunteers has dropped 24% since 1980.

That number is even higher in some areas of New Jersey and has forced many towns to hire paid firefighters to supplement a lack of volunteers.

Chief Rigberg says they've tried just about everything to attract new members, but the reality is people often "have many competing and often at times higher priorities, such as family commitments, employment, financial obligations, education and the like."

Members of the Winslow Township Fire Department participate in training. Facebook/Winslow Township Fire Department
Members of the Winslow Township Fire Department participate in training.
Facebook/Winslow Township Fire Department
loading...

At the same time, Rigberg says the requirements to be certified as a firefighter have increased on a state, local and federal level.

The chief was also quick to point out the need to consolidate fire houses "is not reflective on our amazing and dedicated group of volunteer firefighters presently serving."

"The simple fact is that we do not have enough to properly sustain our operations and responses safely from multiple stations."

Members of the Winslow Township Fire Department respond to a call in this undated photo. Facebook/Winslow Township Fire Department
Members of the Winslow Township Fire Department respond to a call in this undated photo.
Facebook/Winslow Township Fire Department
loading...

Winslow Township is actively looking for volunteer firefighters. If you are interested in volunteering, you can call 609-561-4225.

Memorial Day Parades in New Jersey 2024 (alphabetical)

New Jersey remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice on Memorial Day with parades, solemn services, reenactments and fairs. Most events take place Monday, May 27 unless otherwise noted and are subject to change without notice here.

Add your community's parade to our list with an email to dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

Gallery Credit: Dan Alexander

New Jersey towns that cut their property taxes last year

In 2023, the average property tax bill declined in 44 municipalities in New Jersey. The rankings, listed from the smallest percentage decrease to the largest decrease, is based on recent state Department of Community Affairs analyzed by New Jersey 101.5.

Gallery Credit: New Jersey 101.5

Average property taxes in New Jersey

These are the county and municipal average property taxes for 2023. The data comes from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

Gallery Credit: New Jersey 101.5

Report a correction 👈 | 👉 Contact our newsroom

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM