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The number of volunteer firefighters in Eagan has dipped to a low not seen since the 1980s.

So Fire Chief Mike Scott wants to create five permanent full-time positions — keeping the one captain and four firefighters hired full-time with federal grant money in 2014. The change would follow other metro departments, including Maplewood and Eden Prairie, shifting away from relying on non-career firefighters.

Eagan has around 83 volunteer firefighters, down from 150 in 2010. People who have resigned cite, among other things, the challenge of balancing fire department responsibilities with work and family.

"It's inevitable that most departments of our size will have to go to some sort of staff model," Scott said.