HUGHESTOWN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — First responders put their lives on the line every day in an effort to keep our communities safe.

A Luzerne County fire department marked a milestone that will help with those efforts. The borough hired the first paid firefighter

The first-ever paid firefighter at Hughestown Hose Company No.1 began his shift Monday.

Son of Chief Jamie Merlino, Adelio Merlino started his emergency service career here as a volunteer when he was 14.

He got sent out on a call moments before our interview at station 143, so we spoke with him on the phone.

“For most of the fire departments in this area that operate solely on volunteers, the numbers are just going down and down and down, there’s something we have to do about it,” stated Merlino.

Merlino will rotate between Hughestown and Dupont on a weekly basis, covering both municipalities.

Dupont Volunteer Fire Department is staffing a paid firefighter as well as rotating coverage.

“Coming together with this partnership, and them covering us one week, and then us covering them one week, it kinda splits the cost, it helps keep the cost down for the taxpayers while still providing them with the necessary emergency services,” explained Joey Jones, part of the Dupont Borough Council.

While on duty, Merlino can respond and assist on emergency medical calls, too.

Hughestown and Dupont borough councils are credited for making this monumental move happen.

“We’re extremely thankful for the current volunteers that we have, and we’re looking to get as many more as we can, but this is kind of a way of making sure that there is always somebody to cover the emergency needs of both towns,” said Jones.

The fire department tells 28/22 news this monumental event reinforces their commitment to service to reside