Blennerhassett VFD preps move to new fire station
WASHINGTON, W.Va. — The Blennerhassett Volunteer Fire Department is getting ready to move into its new fire station.
”We will be moving into it within the next 2-3 weeks,” said Capt. Ryan Radcliff.
The new station at 5859 DuPont Road will have 9,100 square feet of space with enough room for department vehicles and a big meeting area.
”It is big enough to accommodate all five of our rescue apparatus along with our boat,” Radcliff said. ”We will have a bay for each of those pieces of equipment. It is big enough to have everything stored in its own bay and it gives us a lot more training room.”
Space will be available inside for cleaning gear and washing equipment, which will be handy during the winter, Radcliff said. A backup generator, funded through a grant, will be installed to keep the station operational in bad weather and power outages.
”We will be able to operate, no matter what,” he said.
The new station is about 100 yards from the old station at 5711 Dupont Road on the same side of the road. The department purchased the property, about half a mile from Blennerhassett School, about eight years ago.
”We have been fundraising since,” Radcliff said.
The passage of the Wood County Fire Fee a few years ago has allowed the department to finance what was needed to get the station built.
”It has been a long time coming,” Radcliff said. ”It is exciting to see if finally come around.”
Blennerhassett VFD Chief Chris Sams said the project has been in the works for 10 years.
The department had outgrew its previous station. The department had five vehicles and only had a two-stall garage.
”If we needed one vehicle, we would have to pull another out to get to the one we need,” he said. ”It was not feasible for us to be that way. This will give us a whole lot more room.”
The department has a boat which had been sitting outside in the weather and can now go into its own stall and be protected from the elements.
Sams said it will also increase their response time in not having to pull vehicles out to get to other vehicles.
The additional space will also open up more opportunities for fundraisers as the department was limited at its previous location and had to use the cafeteria at the Blennerhassett School to do fundraisers. They will have more space for parking, a larger kitchen and more at the new firehouse location.
”It will be a better opportunity for us and the community,” Sams said. ”The guys are really looking forward to getting up there.”
Officials hope the new station will aid in new recruitments. Local fire departments have reported the difficulty in recruiting new members as there are a lot of demands on people’s time.
Radcliff said the new kitchen will allow them to do more fundraising dinners.
”We will be able to better accommodate those and more people,” Radcliff said. ”We might be able to expand on our fundraisers and do more of those as we will have more indoor space. We are really trying to make it a family oriented place where families can come together. We are hoping that will draw in some new members.”
The department is planning an open house for the new station as soon as the pandemic subsides.
The department has over a dozen active members. Some people are on military service.
The department is selling off the old station, which is around 4,500 square feet and sits on § acre of land.
”It has been on the market for awhile,” Radcliff said adding they have shown it to interested people.
They have had interest from people looking to create a garage or workshop to others interested in using it for storage, officials said.
”People have ongoing businesses and are looking for additional space,” he said. ”We think people will get it for their business or to create a new business. It should help the area in getting a new business here.”
The department is looking at doing a bid process among the interested parties.
The property is being sold “as is.”
”We are basically going to take the highest offer,” Radcliff said.
People interested in looking at the property or want more information about the department can call 304-483-1035 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Brett Dunlap at email@example.com