College students train as Chelan firefighters

With regulations making it harder to use volunteer firefighters, Chelan County Fire District 1 in Wenatchee has found a way to boost its workforce while helping students start their careers.

The district partners with Wenatchee Valley College and Spokane Community College in a two-year program that trains students while they work as volunteers.

The Wenatchee World reports the district currently has four first-year students and 12 second-year students helping the nine professional firefighters.

Chief Mike Burnett says a volunteer in the fire-science program cost the district about $10,000 a year compared to about $100,000 a year for a professional firefighter.