Nolensville Volunteer Fire Department sees large increase in calls, commercial burning of building materials


Nolensville Volunteer Fire Department sees large increase in calls, commercial burning of building materials

Photo by Rachael Long

By RACHAEL LONG

Thanks to monthly reports by the Nolensville Volunteer Fire Chief Brian Moat, it’s no secret that the 100 percent volunteer fire department is quickly outdoing its 2018 call volume.

At the February Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Thursday, Moat said the fire department responded to 76 calls during the month of January. In 2018, that number was 50.

Of the 76 calls this year, Moat said 69 of those were in the town of Nolensville and 7 were in the county area the department covers.

One sharp increase in the year-over-year numbers can be seen in the emergency medical incidents. In January 2018, the department responded to 17 emergency medical incidences. In 2019, that number doubled.

“We’re having a lot of folks that are older moving here, so we have a lot of people that need assistance that call,” Moat said.

Another marked increase is the number of fire alarm calls the department gets, which Moat attributed in part to the town’s high commercial growth.

Out of the 16 calls for fire alarms last month, Moat said probably more than half of those were from commercial structures.

Moat said he has also had to deal with several commercial owners and developers burning construction materials, some of which he said have been treated with chemicals like formaldehyde glue.

“We’re not just talking a couple of boards to keep warm when it’s 20 degrees,” Moat said. “We’re talking about large piles of construction debris so that they don’t have to put it in a dumpster and pay for it to be hauled off.”

When these large piles are burned, Moat said unnecessary smoke fills the town’s neighborhoods and can be dangerous. He told the commission he has had “numerous talks” with developers who think they have a right to burn materials.

“I’ve made it very clear to them, as the fire chief, I will enforce the burning ordinance,” Moat said. “We just don’t need that smoke in the neighborhoods.”

The high number of calls as the population increases has posed a challenge to the volunteer firefighters, but Moat said the department is still “treading water.”

He mentioned that there are a few new members coming to the department, and his team is continuing to do the best they can to answer the calls.

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