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Shirley Fire Department Chief Jim Wade

By Hannah Morris - Staff Writer | Jun 2, 2021

Chief Jim Wade

Having served 21 years at the Shirley Fire Department, Jim Wade has helped transform the department in his 14 years as Fire Chief. Chief Wade is the proud husband of Stacey Wade and father of two daughters, Brianna and Logan Wade. He has courageously been volunteering his time as a firefighter since the young age of 10, when he had joined a junior firefighting program. Growing up in Wetzel County, at 19 years old he had transferred to Pine Grove before volunteering at Shirley.

Chief Wade and his firefighters have brought the ISO Fire Rating of the area from 10 to 8, with lower numbers indicating a more protected community. They automatic aid with Alma, Middlebourne, and McClellan in Doddridge County, which means these communities have agreed to automatically dispatch the Shirley Fire Department for assistance. They have responded to a little over 100 calls over the course of this year. The department has been serving the community since 1982, with a current total of 15 firefighters, including two junior firefighters and a female firefighter. Seven of them currently hold EMT certifications, as they run medical assistance with EMS. Chief Wade stated that a Fire Chief is only as good as their firefighters.

The Tyler County Speedway is the biggest fundraiser for the department. As their other fundraising events have slowed down, their support has not; the six members of the Shirley Auxillary strive to help the department, even through the difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief Wade worries that volunteer firefighters are a dying breed. “We’re always in need of new members,” he mentioned, “you don’t have to run into burning buildings to be a firefighter.” Applications are available at the Department; training to become a firefighter include a mandatory class of Fire 1, as well as First Aid and CPR. Further training is required for higher ranks.

We want to thank Chief Jim Wade and his crew for their bravery and courage to keep the Shirley community and the surrounding area safe.