Recent recruit graduates help fill void in Roanoke County Fire and EMS

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Graduates are helping fill the void in Roanoke County Fire and EMS.

Twelve new graduates of the Roanoke Valley Regional Fire and EMS Academy help bring Roanoke County up to minimal staffing.

"This is what we've been waiting for - for these twelve new recruits to come down the field will be a big help," says Chief Steve Simon, Roanoke County Fire and EMS.

Staffing is an on-going issue, but recently illnesses, work related injuries, and retirees have made it a bigger problem.

The Cave Spring and Hollins stations had to take ladder trucks out of service because there weren't enough firefighters to run them.

Business is expected to go back to normal the first week of June once the recruits finish up two weeks of additional training.

However, Chief Simon says they're still in need of more firefighters.

"It takes care of a lot of our vacancies, but if we did have a number of people leave or early retire, or we have two people deployed in the military right now, it could put us in a similar situation," says Chief Simon.

Chief Simon says they're short nine positions but the money isn't in the budget.

"It's something we have to work in our internal government to see if we can rectify to make sure this doesn't happen again," says Simon.