MURFREESBORO, Tenn.— Rutherford County has continued to see growth over the years and that population boom is reflected in the volume of emergency calls.
In Rutherford County calls to the fire department were up more than 50 percent in 2011. Fire Chief Larry Farley said 350 volunteers are helping to sustain the needs.
For Dustin Johnson, the Rutherford County fire station is his second home.
"I'm a father of three, and I want them to understand that it's important to give to the community you live in and the community you support," said Johnson.
As a volunteer firefighter, Johnson clocked in 300 plus hours this year alone, and it wasn't for the pay but his passion.
"Anybody that's doing something that they love, it's just a bonus to get a paycheck," said Johnson. "I'd love to have some decimal points in my paycheck and take a few zeros out, but I'm not doing this for the money, it's obvious."
What's also obvious is that Rutherford County is growing.
"When I first started here we didn't get near as many calls," said Rutherford County Dispatcher Heather Pedigo. "We probably get over 200 calls in here easy in five hours."
The Rutherford County Fire Department says it responded to 1,759 calls in 2011 that number jumped to 2,581 in 2012.
As the only paid fire official for the County, Chief Larry Farley knows he could use some help.
"If you had paid people, you'd ensure they'd be here for a longer period of time," said Farley.
Farley has applied for a grant that would add four additional paid staff to his team.