Austin L. “Dusty” Ruscoe, Currituck County’s first countywide fire chief, is putting out a call for volunteers.
“That’s what this system is going to thrive on,” Ruscoe said last week from his new office in a modular structure next to the historic Currituck County courthouse.
Ruscoe began the new job Dec. 13.
While emergency medical services in Currituck were converted to a paid force three years ago supplemented by volunteers, the county still operates with a volunteer fire-fighting force in six main stations and three substations.
Two more substations are planned, one in Corolla and another in Waterlily.
The paid staff of the new Currituck County Fire Department amounts to two, Ruscoe and Fire Marshal James Mims. For the individual stations, more volunteers are always needed, Ruscoe said.
Ruscoe sees his job as one of support and education rather than oversight. The chiefs will continue to be in charge of their respective stations, he said.
Ruscoe started his career at 18, just out of high school, when he became a firefighter. At 22, he began work as a law officer in upstate New York before retiring on a medical disability as a policeman in Norfolk, he said.
He moved to Currituck County in 1993 and shortly after joined the Moyock Volunteer Fire Department. Ruscoe became chief of the Moyock department in 1996 and remained in that position until taking his latest job.