Collins Chapel Fire sees positive change and growth after reopening in 2016

Published 12:18 pm Thursday, June 8, 2017

By EMILY REED / Special to the Advertiser

After reopening the fire department in 2016, Collins Chapel Fire and Rescue has seen positive changes to the department’s new beginning.

“Things have been going really well,” said Fire Chief Jay Littleton. “We are doing a lot of renovations to the building and the parking lot to prepare for a storm shelter that will be placed on the property later this year.”

There are also two training courses being planned for later this year for the department’s firefighters as well as firefighters from other departments throughout the county.

One course will be a “160-class,” which Littleton said is designed as an intro-level course for volunteer firefighters, and a basics class will also be offered.

“We do not have definite dates for the classes at this time, but we are hoping to host them in the next couple of months,” Littleton said. “We will likely host the basics class first and wait to have the 160-class in the cooler months, because that class requires you to wear gear that is really hot in the summer months.”

Collins Chapel has seen change and redirection since reopening after the department shut down on July 28, 2016 after the previous fire chief was charged with stealing funds from the department.

When the chief was arrested, the volunteer fire department began working toward reopening, and named Littleton as its new fire chief.

On Aug. 13, 2016, the fire department held a meeting to name a new board of directors, and held the first of multiple certification classes on Sept. 20, 2016.

The Jemison Fire Department covered the Collins Chapel area while the volunteer fire department worked to fully begin operations again.

The department began receiving calls on Oct. 29, 2016, and Littleton said the call volume currently averages about 300 to 350 each year, which is roughly one call each day.

Littleton said the department was also able to acquire their ALS licensing again (advanced life support), allowing them to be an ALS licensed rescue station.

The department currently has about 16 to 17 volunteers, and Littleton plans to host a membership drive to increase the number of volunteers later this year.

Littleton anticipates the department also hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser this summer to help cover the cost of the two courses being held at the department, and looks forward to the community coming together for the event.

Collins Chapel Fire Department is located at 13195 County Road 29 in Clanton.