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Firefighters Tackle Two Fires

By Staff | Jan 4, 2017

SISTERSVILLE – Fire destroyed a home in Sistersville and another in Paden City last week.

A couple of days after Christmas, Mitch and Sue Wilson, along with their son Skyler, lost their Chesnut Street home in McCoy Heights.

Firefighters toiled for more than four hours in the cold and dark on Dec. 27 a battle made worse by oxygen tank explosion within the Sistersville residence. To make matters more interesting, the closest water hydrant had insufficient water pressure, so hoses had to be run about uphill from the intersection of Washington Street, Sistersville Volunteer Fire Chief Jason Wayne said.

Wayne said the cause of the fire appears to be related to a wood stove.

No one was hurt and the home is a total loss.

Wayne said the American Red Cross has been contacted to assist the Wilson family.

An account to aid their recovery has been opened at the Sistersville branch of Peoples Bank at 726 Wells Street, though any branch office is able to accept donations. Make any deposit to the account of Sue Wilson and/or Mary Lou Huff.

SVFD was assisted by the Paden City Volunteer Fire Department.

Speaking of Paden City, firefighters battled a blaze that started around noon Dec. 29 at 412 North Second Ave. No one was hurt.

Damage to the home was extensive a total loss – and the cause of the fire is under investigation by the Paden City Volunteer Fire Department.

The Bresidine family lived in the two-story, according to the PCVFD.

PCVFD was assisted by New Martinville Fire Department with the SVFD on standby.

American Red Cross has been contacted to assist the Bresidine family.

The two fires underscore the demands placed on volunteer fire departments. In days of yore long before the 60s’ cultural revolution had a negative affect on community values, local fire departments were not hurting for members or funding. In many places, particularly in rural America, joining the fire department was the thing to do a civic virtue.

However, in recent decades, membership has suffered in many places. Sometimes, a person may volunteer, get voted into the department and then fade away maybe because they don’t get a “participation trophy” for doing this tough job.

“We used to have a lot more people, but I guess folks got a lot more things to do these days,” said PCVFD Fire Chief Jim Richmond, who has been a firefighter for 63 years. “Still, we have to protect people and homes from fires.”

Firefighter service has come down to a few active families who have served the front lines for generations and individuals who have answered the call to duty.

“We don’t have a manpower problem but we can always use more volunteers; volunteers that are dedicated to doing the job we do,” Wayne said. “We have 22 active members and I can count on all them if needed.”

Richmond agreed that it can be “challenging” to recruit new members.

No matter where you live, these fire departments need folks to step up.

“Join your local fire department, it may be the most rewarding thing you do,” Wayne said.